Is Arteta in control at Arsenal, or does he need more power?



An article in the Telegraph continues the growing theme in the media that if there isn’t something wrong at Arsenal at the moment there most certainly will be soon, and it absolutely won’t be the fault of the media.

The Telegraph piece states that, “Successful managers, or head coaches, find it hard to resist seizing control when success gives them the opportunity. Mikel Arteta works under a sporting director structure at Arsenal but he may feel that two successive second-place finishes gives him the scope for greater direct control.”

So let’s consider who is in control, and who, if the Telegraph article is true, Mikel Arteta might want to be pushing aside so he can have the “greater direct control” that he wants.

Stan Kroenke obviously is the top man, but he is primarily in the USA, and as far as I can see his main work vis a vis Arsenal of late has been the overseeing of selling off properties Arsenal obtained, when also buying the land for the stadium.  There is no sign of him actually being active in Arsenal’s affairs.

Josh Kroenke is in fact the voice of KSE and KSE UK on the board and in the sub-committees.

Now I know that Josh has been seen by some as being little more than his dad’s nominee.  I’ve met him once in a small meeting and he didn’t come across that way to me at all – but I admit it was only once.  But much more to the point Josh has other jobs.  He is the President of Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League and President of the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association. He is also a Governor of the Los Angeles Rams NFL football team and the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer team.

Which raises the question, does he really have much influence over the day to day running of Arsenal – influence which Mikel Arteta might want to grab?   It seems unlikely if we look at some of the other board members.

Tim Lewis has been with KSE since 2007 and became Executive Vice-Chair in March 2023.  Lord Harris of Peckham is also still on the board as he has been since 2005.

Now the key point here is that these don’t have the look of men who have come along of late as stooges of the owner, and who are sitting on meetings with the sole purpose of stopping the manager getting carried away with his demands.

They might have taken that view when Mikel Arteta joined the club as manager, but let us remember that these people were those who appointed Arteta; they have been at the club before December 2019.

We also have to remember that Mikel Arteta played for Arsenal for five years, and was the captain in the FA Cup wins of 2014 and 2015. So he knows Arsenal from the playing side as well as from the managerial side.

In short, the board knows Arteta and Arteta knows the board, so the notion that at this moment, Arteta is going to make some sort of power grab in order to… (well what?) is just bonkers.

Arteta came to power in December 2019 so let’s see if his spending on players has been restricted.  The figures are only for players.


Date Expenditure Income Difference
2019/20 €160.80m* €53.65m €107.15
2020/21 €86.00m €19.15m €66.85
2021/22 €167.40m €31.40m €136.00m
2022/23 €186.40m €23.80m €162.6m
2023/4 €234.94m €69.20m €165.74m

*Includes transfers arranged by Unai Emery.

What we also have to remember is that in his early days at Arsenal as manager, Arteta “lost” a number of players who had cost a lot of money, on free or low cost transfers, in order to get them out of the club.   Ozil was one, Aubameyang another.  Later he also moved on Pepe, as Bellerin and Lacazette also left the club.

Arteta’s total transfer dealings since he became manager has shown a loss of €638.34.  It could be argued that he should not have sold players such as Ozil, and Aubameyang, but these transfers out of the club did not affect these figures except in a positive way by bringing in more money. 

In short, he has spent around £650m more on players than the player sales have brought in.  It is an astonishing amount of money.

So when the Telegraph says that “he may feel that two successive second-place finishes gives him the scope for greater direct control,” this is almost certainly a bunch of mindless gibberish.  What more power could he want?

He had the power to kick out Aubameyang and Ozil and spend £650m more on players coming in, than he has got back from sales and the Telegraph says “he may feel that two successive second-place finishes gives him the scope for greater direct control..”

So it is worse than gibberish – it is a wild idea written without any research or even thinking.

Arteta has the power.  He chooses the players and has the power to spend the money, and give away players he doesn’t like in order to get rid of them.  How could he have more power than that?

Most of all, this Telegraph article shows us what is utterly wrong with football journalism.  Constantly the media pick an idea, and draw a conclusion, or at least a “possibility” without any reference to facts which (inconveniently) point to the reality being utterly different.

And it is not just with transfers that this is the case (for we know that 97% of transfer rumours each summer never result in a transfer) but it is also about the very structure and foundation of the club.

This sort of scaremongering really is atrocious and both the writer and the publisher of the piece should be ashamed.  Indeed they would be if they didn’t do this all the time, as for example by ignoring all issues relating to refereeing as a matter of absolute policy.

6 Replies to “Is Arteta in control at Arsenal, or does he need more power?”

  1. Apart from everything you say, I would like to know under what circumstances, and in what business, does the shop floor manager have ‘complete control’ or even massive control over the business?

    It doesn’t matter how good they are, they have a budget. They have financial limitations depending on the business’s turnover.

    For anyone to even suggest the kind of powers the Telegraph is suggesting is fanciful at beast, but in reality is utterly ridiculous.

  2. Wenger won three league titles under the direction of David Dean and his player purchases. After David Dean left Arsenal in 2007, Wenger was given more control of Arsenal’s player purchases and decision making. Wenger made a few mistakes after Dean had gone and was never the same power house as for when Dean was at the club.
    Dean did hand over the purchasing power to Wenger in 2004 after he won his last title.
    Things went down from there as Wenger missed out on players like Ronaldo, Messi, Ibrahimovic, Mbappe, kante, pogba, Luis Suarez etc etc
    He did make one good purchase in the form of Henry, but he was never the same without Director David Dean.
    So it may not be a good thing for Arteta to have full power as he may follow Wenger’s failing last year’s of sole power rather than his glory years of partnership, Wenger with David Dean years.

  3. Yeah daveg,

    you are so right, and were there to witness it all and remember the stupid mistakes.

    Great contribution. Just the kind we like on Untold, as, basically, you tell an untold story.
    All these players did not care about earning more money, they just waited desperately for the final contract to play at the Emrates at a cut-price salary but it never came because Mr Wenger was way too busy as he was in charge of everything.

    And apart from Henry, Mr Wenger did not bring any good players to Arsenal. Vierra was an amateur, Fabregas a misfit from Barcelona, van Persie a refugee from Holland and Pires, he just dropped in to visit his aunt and played at Colney by chance and just barely was average. As for Touré, who can remember him anyway.

    I mean if he had let Levy build the Emirates and had concentrated on coaching the team, we would have won 10 CLs and have a stadium better then the toilet bowl.

  4. How and when did Lord Harris of Peckham become a director of Arsenal?

  5. Thank you for the above info. Sometime ago I ead on the internet that he recieves 25 000 pounds a year from Arsenal. Is this true?

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