Ivan Gazidis’ 10 point analysis of football was far more interesting than the criticism it generated

By Tony Attwood

The headlines over Ivan Gazidis’ interview were exactly those we have seen so many times before.  “Arsenal fans will be worried…” and “Wenger urges Arsenal fans not to panic after Gazidis transfer comments” and  particularly simplistically “Ivan Gazidis spits the usual transparent fan placation rhetoric”.

It is sometimes difficult to work out whether these correspondents have either decided what to write before hearing the interview or reading the transcript, or haven’t bothered to read the transcript, or find it hard to accept that the issues of the modern world are complex and require complex solutions.  But for anyone who seriously looked at the interview there was more to it than these simplistic headlines suggest.

I have had the opportunity to have a couple of meetings with Mr Gazidis and exchange some thoughts with him in those meetings and by email, and have found him not just courteous in the face of such endless hostility but also extremely insightful and hugely more knowledgeable than those who would attack him.  Of course I haven’t wasted such meetings having a chat to discuss what the aaa were up to (I was there to propose the building of the statues around the ground and other matters relating to Arsenal’s history).  But we discussed other matters too and I got a bigger picture of who the man is, and how he works.

In his recent interview Ivan Gazidis put forward were ten inter-related points about how football has changed, and how these changes affect Arsenal – which made it particularly tough for the people who love there to be one simple answer (normally buy this player, sell that player).  I’ll run through them quickly. 

1: The differential has changed

“The big clubs can’t financially bully the smaller clubs in the way they used to, so I think a lot of the differentiators between clubs become more subtle now.”   A simple but important opener – because it certainly used to be the case that if one of the top clubs saw a player they fancied at a smaller club they could, through a mix of money and the promise of glamour, be sure to get the player.

But players have seen clubs supposedly guaranteed to be in the top four not make it to the Champions League.  And they have seen managers sacked, sacked and sacked again, (with the average managerial tenure coming down year by year) which can mean that a new man can arrive who doesn’t rate last week’s star, and thus leaves him on the sidelines.  So players working for a manager who likes the player are less likely to jump up and leave when a big club clicks its fingers.  Why take the risk?  Many still do of course, but increasing numbers are less inclined to.

2: It isn’t just one simple issue

“It’s how well you can identify talent. It’s how well you can develop talent. It’s how strong your club philosophy is. It’s how together you are as a football club, what your support services are like in the medical field, fitness, analytics, psychology. All of these things become differentiators.”

That of course is the story that the bloggettas with their eye catching headlines and 150 word one-topic articles can’t handle.  For them everything is simple: buy a new player.  It is noticeable that Untold’s series of articles showing the multiplicity of reasons why big transfers mostly don’t work, are just ignored by those who insist it is all about buying, buying, buying.  Just as the way that the issue of the number of coaches per 1000 people is rarely taken up as one of the real causes of a nation’s success or failure in football.  It’s just that bit too complex.

3: We can always learn from everyone

“Leicester identified players from the French second division, so maybe there’s talent that we’ve been overlooking,.  They did their talent identification, they had great unity within the group, as well as quality.  It wasn’t built on money. It was built on the great fitness work they did. It was built on all of these other elements. I think that’s going to be a continuing trend within the Premier League.”

That has been taken to mean, this is the model Arsenal will take – and that is the game the aaa and their fellow travellers always follow.  But it is just one point from ten – although a valid one.  The model Leicester used is the one Arsenal invented at the end of the last century – and it worked.  It is not bad to be reminded of that.   Where do Arsenal fans think Koscielny came from?   The point means, “we used to find more Koscielny’s; let’s redouble our efforts”.

4: Arsenal’s particular strategy

As we know Arsenal combine the purchase of big name stars (Ozil and Alexis) with players suddenly available at bargain prices (Santi Cazorla and Monreal), obscure bench warmers (Laurent Koscielny), and young players (Bellerin, Coquelin, Iwobi).  That is the Arsenal player policy.  As Mr Gazidis said, “It’s about having a strong core philosophy and values within the club that players buy into and our fans can be proud of.”

5: The squad is getting better year on year

“We’ve got a squad now that we believe is capable of competing to win the premier league. We came in second last year, which was disappointing. But we’re on the right track.”

Clearly it is the right track because in the last three years we’ve won the FA Cup twice and come second in the League.  That’s not the League title that is now demanded (just as previously it was x years since any trophy and later will be demands for the Double and Treble), but it is progress.  The same can hardly be said of Chelsea, Man C and Man U in the last couple of years for their’s is the route of decline rather than progress.

6: We don’t have as much money as them either from rich owner or revenue stream so we work in different ways

I don’t know why this annoys some bloggettas so much, for it is obvious and true.  Man City had its stadium gifted by one state, and has another state now paying its bills.  Chelsea has a multi-billionaire.  Man U has its worldwide marketing that it started to develop in the 1960s – and full credit to them for that foresight, it is not something that is easy to catch up with.  West Ham has a stadium granted by the state (again).   There has never been any point in chasing such adventurers so other approaches are needed.

It is all a case of philosophy.  Those who do not find the use of the revenues from a state that appears to continue slavery, has no women’s rights and promotes Sharia Law, or who approve of the way the state in the UK hands over stadia built with tax payers money as it does, will of course ask for Arsenal to go down the route of clubs like Man C and WHU.  It is just a matter of different ideologies.

7: Arsenal have the highest aspirations

Building the stadium was part of this, as well as doubling the marketing revenue.  If you don’t believe it, you don’t.  I see evidence of this all around – if you don’t, then there isn’t too much I can do about it.

8: We are entering a new highly competitive market

“Every single club in the league, all the way through, all 20 have top-class players that if you’re not at 100 percent of your game will hurt you and make you pay,” Mr Gazidis said. “The level has gone up, there are no easy games. There are very few games where you have a runaway, comfortable win.”

Indeed this was self-evident last season with Chelsea and Man U failing to reach the Champions League.  A few years ago they could both have had off seasons and still been guaranteed to come in third and fourth.  No longer.

9: Leicester was not a one off

“I think Leicester are the vanguard of a changing dynamic within the Premier League. I don’t think general perception has yet woken up to that.”

This isn’t to say that Leicester will win the title again, nor that one of the promoted clubs of last two seasons will challenge, but we can expect teams from outside the group of top clubs of recent years to push top clubs down.

10: In this new world there is no one simple solution, like financial muscle.  It is much more complex than that. 

“I think it’s good news for fans of Arsenal because I think the keys to success will be how well you do things, and not just about financial firepower.”

If it were about money only then the league table would have been Man City, Chelsea, Man U as a standard 1-2-3 for years and years.  But it doesn’t go like that, any more than the money spent on transfers tells us how well a team will do (as we have shown in our alternative league tables all through this summer.)

Reading these ten points above I really can’t see that there is anything that warrants argument, except from people stuck in a notion that the only way to success in football is spending on players.  And people with single answers will never be convinced otherwise because in reaching the notion of the single solution, they have already ignored the multiplicity of alternative evidence.

It the real world there are no single, simple solutions.  The imagined world of “if only we could do this everything would be fine” (or “if only I could have this everything would be fine) is not the real world, but huge numbers of people live in it.  It is a curious world because it seems to reinforce itself, even though everyday experience shows that it is palpably unlikely to fulfil its promise.

Simple answers to complex questions never work, but plenty of people still want to believe in them.  So when someone like Mr Gazidis proposes a range of approaches to a complex issue, such people can find it impossible to take.  Believing in the simplistic world of one-action solutions, as bloggetta writers and many journalists do, as Donald Trump and some other politicians do,  makes for simple articles, but doesn’t get close to analysing reality.

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52 Replies to “Ivan Gazidis’ 10 point analysis of football was far more interesting than the criticism it generated”

  1. Fantastic piece again Tony, my close season is better for reading your pieces over the turgid drivel of countless others. Of course your right the blogettas and the pundits journalists like to pick out a phrase or comment and use it to beat Wenger or gazidis with. When in truth listening to full interview or reading a full transcript of interview will make more sense. For one I have been impressed with the start to our transfer window xhaka signed three youngsters and an attempt at vardy. Not bad start. Yes been quiet since and that can be hard as a fan to take. But as we can’t compete with city Chelsea psg Utd and Madrid barca we keep our cards close to our chest and only really show our hand once the deals done to prevent bidding wars which we can never win. I do hope that we do take a leaf out of Leicester’s book and seriously look at how we can lessen our injury record in season ahead. I would like for us to do research into what impact equipment(boots) have on injuries sustained in particular bone brakes and ligament damage. I feel having players that have less injuries and less time out because of injury will benefit us.

  2. I’d echo Richard’s comments about injuries. If we just take a look at what we have to add to the squad internally (Ox, Santi, Wellbeck, Wilshere) from players injured mostly of last season, plus the new talent that has or may emerge (Willock, Iwobi, Zelalem) then the addition of Xhaka and Holloway look like sensible buys that continue to build the team. Hopefully the medical team is learning how to support our players – we did some improvement after the new American arrived – and this season is better on that front.

  3. May I join others in thanking Tony. I wonder if my memory isn’t playing games; it seems to my mind Mr. Gazidis has said very similar things around the close of last season. Anyone??? Very sound points!

  4. I don’t know if Swiss Ramble is to be believed (and by default Ivan disbelieved), but they estimate that we have £250 million available for transfers & wages without falling foul of FFP.
    It doesn’t mean that we are obligated to spend any or all of it, but it does bring into question Ivan’s assertion that we cannot compete in the transfer market at the highest level as we are one of the richest clubs in the world.
    When he says “we don’t have as much money as them either from rich owner”, then he’s correct, but rich owners are discouraged from over investment in the squads by threat of sanctions, so we’re not being disadvantaged in that respect.

  5. On the opening page there is reference to Flamini and it is noted that he was never transferred for a transfer fee, always on a free.

    I thought this was good and was curious about where he is now and what he is doing.

    As you do I checked Wiki and found this:

    “On 23 July 2004, Flamini signed a professional contract for English club Arsenal, rejecting Marseille’s long-term senior contract offer to which he had already verbally agreed. Soon after the incident, then-Marseille manager José Anigo stated, “This is a beautiful treason. He used me.”[3] Arsenal were eventually ordered by The Dispute Resolution Chamber of FIFA to pay Marseille a compensation fee of €480 000 for Flamini.[4]”

    In a sense there was a transfer fee.

  6. We have heard a lot of what Gazidis has said before. Develop youngsters and players that come in at low transfer spend then add star quality. A great model of working. However we’re a bit light on the star quality and we have enough money to increase it

    In some case buying WC talent may not always work. Generally though better players increase the strength of the team.

    While we can’t spend the ridiculous money the Manchester clubs are spending we do have enough to strengthen our squad in the areas that need strengthening

    I am very frustrated but not as angry or ott frustrated as other fans. Xhaka will be a great signing. We still need to improve our forward line to score more goals and finish the chances we create. Wenger himself has said this.

    His talk of we will spend big if we find the right player is what frustrates people. We should know who we want and be pro active to sign them. What Wenger is saying implies that if a great player happens to drop in our lap we will sign him.

    Our transfer policy seems to be behind other clubs. For a big club we don’t always throw our weight around enough. Vardy rejected us, I think we were shocked, weshould then move onto the next player on the list and so on. It ddoesn’t seem as if we have a plan

    We desperately need a striker to support Giroud. If we don’t get one then the atmosphere will be more toxic than last season and the players will have to play in an awful atmosphere. We need to show we are a big club.

    Another thing, the likes of Ozil, Alexis and the other players will get a lift if a couple of top players come in. They want to see ambition.

  7. 1. “The big clubs can’t financially bully the smaller clubs in the way they used to” / New differentials.

    You’re failing to spell out that this only applies to the PL. Just because the ENGLISH league has become more financially competitive it doesn’t mean PL clubs cannot raid smaller foreign clubs, spending massively here!

    Also, what just happened with Kante to Chelsea?

    2. “It’s how well you can identify talent. It’s how well you can develop talent. It’s how strong your club philosophy is.” / “For them [ critics of AFC] everything is simple: buy a new player.”

    No, you make it too easy on yourselves. I think many critics of the way AFC is run today don’t single out buying as the one and only condition of success. We readily admit factors relating to identifying and developing talent, too, for instance. But we’re saying, including all these other factors, Arsenal cannot be deemed a success in that the club has not won the league in 12 years.

    3. “let’s redouble our efforts” to mine lower divisions for talent.

    Arsenal is a major professional corporation with immense revenues and a considerable staff. Our
    scouting capacity for the French leagues (Wenger’s home market) should be held to higher standards.
    For every Koscielny we’ve purchased, we’ve missed out on a greater amount of top class players: Aubemeyang, Kante,
    Mahrez, Martial, and now Ousmane Dembele; players we have sorely needed.

    4. “Arsenal’s particular strategy” of buying world class players + bargains + developing youth.

    Clearly this is a common strategy for all major clubs. It’s not just Arsenal’s “philosophy”.

    5. “The squad is getting better every year”.

    Mildly improving but still not winning the league and far from challenging in the Champions League. And this with the same manager in charge, who should have been able to fine-tune and mould his team into a winning one given so much time.

    Also: “The same can hardly be said of Chelsea, Man C and Man U in the last couple of years for their’s is the route of decline rather than progress.”

    = ?????

    In “the last couple of years”, Winners of the PL:

    2015, Chelsea
    2014, Man C
    2013, Man U
    2012, Man C [ Chelsea won the CL this year too ]
    2011, Man U
    2010, Chelsea
    2009, Man U
    2008, Man U
    2007, Man U
    2006, Man U
    2005, Chelsea

    If this is “decline rather than progress” then Arsenal should evidently be described as something much worse.

    Chelsea and Man U had one bad year (last year), but come on, Tony, these are much more successful teams
    than Arsenal.

    7. “Arsenal have the highest aspirations”

    That may be the case, but over the past 12 years we’ve largely seen these aspirations materialize in financial terms only.

    8. “We are entering a new highly competitive market” / “Every single club in the league, all the way through, all 20 have top-class players”

    Still, the case remains that certain teams have been winning the league while others don’t. The market surely is competitive, but Man U, Man C and Chelsea have undeniably been able to tackle that competition.

    9. “Leicester was not a one off”

    An audacious speculative claim. We’ll just have to see. (My own bet is for Man U to win this year’s league – fantastic reinforcements so far (players + coach).)

    10. “In this new world there is no one simple solution, like financial muscle. It is much more complex than that. ”

    Again, I don’t think critics of Arsenal ONLY point to financial muscle. They do highlight it, because it IS a crucial (though obviously not SOLELY determining) factor.

    (What do Man U, Man C, Chelsea, Barca, Real Madrid and Bayern have in common? Among other things, they spend a lot of money.)

    “I think it’s good news for fans of Arsenal because I think the keys to success will be how well you do things, and not just about financial firepower.”

    It’s always been about “how well you do things”! And again, some teams “have been doing things much better” than Arsenal over the past 12 years.

    “If it were about money only then the league table would have been Man City, Chelsea, Man U as a standard 1-2-3 for years and years.”
    = Again, nobody’s saying it’s ONLY about money. But, hey, “for years and years” the PL winners HAVE been precisely, as a general rule, these very teams with financial firepower.


    Also, as Leon points out – Arsenal do have lots of money in the bank. The reason it isn’t spent is
    because of a factor you don’t mention: Kroenke’s ownership.

    In corporate terms, Kroenke amasses solvent, cash-flush businesses (like Arsenal) in order to be able to get bank loans at favorable interest rates. As Arsenal hoards cash, it permits KSE to borrow and purchase cash-generating assets. By growing the cash pile in the club Kroenke grows the value of KSE. By growing KSE’s equity he can increase the amount of money he can borrow. This is then spent on revenue-generating assets like the £500m farm. Kroenke buying that farm *is* linked to Arsenal not spending any money.

  8. Lets assume we have 250 million in the bank. Does that mean we should rush out and spend it on Pogba and Morata? That will get rid of 175 million. But what will we have actually bought? Yes, Pogba is a much MUCH better player now than he was previously at United. Morata? – he doesn’t do it for me. Pogba has great periods in games, but he also goes missing a lot.

    For the cost of Morata, we could probably get Mahrez and Sissoko – both players who excite me, and who would fit into our squad very nicely.

    Why we have been put off going for those types of players is beyond me.

  9. tunnygriffboy
    You raise a number of points regarding Arsenal’s transfer policy/activity/strategy and most of them are based entirely on guesswork and your own assumptions and probably well wide of the mark. You really do not have a clue as to whether your criticisms are valid or not. To suggest that the club do not know who they want to sign and are not pro-active is ridiculous. Your admitted frustration is getting the better of you I am afraid.

  10. Elsa, I won’t respond to all your points as we have dealt with them before. But I would point out that “couple” usually means two. And for your argument to have credibility you need provide evidence for comments like “Arsenal do have lots of money in the bank. The reason it isn’t spent is because of a factor you don’t mention: Kroenke’s ownership.” I can tell you, that there is still some debt left in the stadium, and there is an agreement with the banks that loaned the money that a specific level of cash must be kept in the bank until the final debt is paid off.

  11. Let all the Arsenal fans who are worrying that the Boss has finished with his summer transfers be of good hearts. For the Boss comments at Lens yesternight should alleys their fears as he has affirmed he’s not yet done at transfer market.

    The possibility of the Boss signing a 4th player in this current window is lurking around the corners than we might have originally thought after seen him signed the 3 players he said he’ll sign this summer.

    A B/R media report has indicated that Arsenal are in for Mahrez. But I think the Boss at this time will not confirm nor debunk this claim even if it be true of false as he won’t hold another press conference until after the next Arsenal friendly match is played where he can be asked if he’s in or not for Mahrez. But the developing news event on this rumour could superseded the media asking him if he’s interested at bringing Mahrez to the Emirates.

  12. Let all the Arsenal fans who are worrying that the Boss has finished with his summer transfers be of good hearts. For the Boss comments at Lens yesternight should alleys their fears as he has affirmed he’s not yet done at the transfer market.

    The possibility of the Boss signing a 4th player in this current window is lurking around the corners than we might have originally thought after seen him signed the 3 players he said he’ll sign this summer.

    A B/R media report has indicated that Arsenal are in for Mahrez. But I think the Boss at this time will not confirm nor debunk this claim even if it be true of false as he won’t hold another press conference until after the next Arsenal friendly match is played where he can be asked if he’s in or not for Mahrez. But the developing news event on this rumour could supersede the media asking him if he’s interested at bringing Mahrez to the Emirates.

  13. Whilst we may have £250m in the bank we also have almost the same amount in mortgage debt. Thus we have zero net debt – but only if that money stays exactly where it is and isn’t speculated on transfers. Speculating in this way (proved by Tony as often being unproductive in the extreme) would also be wrong given that much of that money has been generated from the original loans themselves i.e. property sales and other ‘non-football’ related revenue.
    The football side of Arsenals business has to be self sustaining (as do other parts) to contribute towards the whole business being self sustaining. By doing it that way Arsenal set a high bar for others to follow (eg Spurs) and make their own future as secure as is possible. It’s called custodianship and it’s the principle by which all clubs should be run.

  14. Mick

    It’s not just this window thow. Last summer was a disaster and for years we have not filled glaring holes in our squad

    Giroud has been the number one striker for four years. Whilst I admire him for making the most of his ability he is not a top top striker. Not only has he been leading our attack for four years he’s had little competition for his place

    We have finally addressed the need of a play making deep midfielder. This is a position we have lacked quality in for years. Arteta did an ok job qnd Coquelin plugged the gap in terms of the defensive side of the game. A quality player should have bee bought seasons ago

    We are soon to hit problems at CB as well wih both Per and Kos aging.

    Other clubs persue players aggressively and pay clubs what they want for players. We have money and a lot of players become available if you offer the right money. We are one of the richest clubs in the world even if Kronke doesn’t put his hand in his pocket but the way we carry on doesn’t seem to be the case.

    We can afford to buy a lot of players that would improve our side but we seem reluctant to do so.

  15. The Swiss Ramble is not to be believed as anyone who’s read his work knows all too well.

    He has no more insight into AFC’s accounts the you or I.

    But he most certainly has a, personal, unsubstantiated opinion. Which is why NotOverTheHill ripped him to pieces. The moral of the story: when it comes to accounts of a tax paying institution you’re better off listening to accountants and not financiers hiding in tax havens. Thank you, you’re welcome.

  16. Didn’t we move to the Emirates to compete at the top in Europe. That certainly hasn’t been the case

  17. Tony
    £35m – the amount agreed by the club and the banks to be kept until the loan is fully repaid..

    Elsa’s post makes for a better reading than the Gazidis’ interview which I had read in its entirety.

    Also, it might be impossible to prove without looking at Kroenke’s tax returns,but in regards to Elsa’s last paragraph, that’s pretty much how one goes about building wealth through commercial property acquisition.

    Solvent or cash assets are crucial in securing favorable commercial loans.

  18. Tuny
    I was surprised by your comment
    ^*last year the transfer window was disaster ^*
    and still we finished 2nd.
    And if you believe in the refreeing conspiracy theory against Arsenal which i believe in personally we would have won the title.


    Your point re Manu chelsea and City progressing when they all finished below Arsenal last year.Infact United are in a mess since 3 years and i still think appointment of Mourinhio is a step back and does not coincides with the clubs philosophy.
    Chelsea won the title a year back but finished a lowly 10th.Out of the CLs and a dismal season.How wud Arsenal supporters react if they finished 10th evrn after winning a PL title?.
    Ask youself.
    I would prefer a top 4 place than finish 10th any season.
    Arsensl are improving since 2012 as they finished 4th 3rd 2nd with 2 back to back FA cups and still the some fans are not happy.

    People asking Arsenal to spend spend spend are unaware of the market as it seems so easy to type a few lines sitting at the keyboard.

    For instance Mourinhio spending 100 million on Pogba is a disgrace and absolute madness.

    Would you like your club to spend such ridiculous money on an average player like Pogba?

    Maybe you rate Mourinhio highly but i would never like him to come near our club.

    Re Pep lets see how he does at City as he has only worked with Barca and Bayern where any manager can be successful given the quality of players they always have at there disposal.

  19. Elsa and Mr Attwood, please if Mr Kroenke has been using Arsenal FC as collaterals for obtaining bank loans to aquire some other businesses as Elsa has pointed out, that’s unfortunate and should be illegal. Who authorized it? Mr Kroenke being the majority shareholder of Arsenal Holdings shouldn’t make him the Alfa and the Omega of Arsenal FC, as there are other shareholders of AFC too who are joint shareholders along side Mr Kroenke. And they too should have a say in the running affairs of the club I should think.

  20. Elsa,
    Just a few points,

    Although many of your comments clearly have some truth in them, they seem a bit blinkered.

    Big clubs in Europe also have money (like every PL team), but they also predominately have a much lower cost of living and in many cases are really nice places to live (especially if family are involved).
    But yes, PL teams can financially bully some of the continental teams.

    Kante left. He wasn’t sold because the club needed to, but because he wanted to move (maybe the ambition Vardy seems to lack).

    I’d also point out that many of the names you mention we missed out on would have been difficult for us to take a chance on. For example Mahrez has turned out to be a great buy for Leicester but his first few games were really poor. The less supportive section of the Emirates crowd would have been straight on his case with ‘Gervinho-2’ comments whist conveniently forgetting that Gervinho started extremely well until those whingers got on his back.
    Similarly if we’d paid 36m for Martial there’d be plenty of moaning about him not living up to his price-tag.
    The manager mentioned that he rated Payet but the player was too inconsistent for a big team to risk buying, even though State Aid United clearly won that gamble.

    Yes we’ve obviously missed out on some real talent but in many cases they probably wouldn’t have worked out for us whilst you only mentioned the ones that had success rather than the hundreds that end up leaving or being un-notable squad players.

    Your point 4 seems to completely miss how few ‘bargains + developing youth’ are actually in the PL Big teams.
    It’s very well saying $iteh or Chavski (or even United, Liverpoo, PSG, etc tc) have youth in their squad but they’ve very few 1st teamers.

  21. Rosicky@Arsenal, we all know by now that Arsenal fans Worldwide are the most difficult set of fans to be pleased when it comes down to not winning the title for sometimes. They’ll lose their patience.

    And I must say I am surprised to learnt Paul Pogba will be costing such an outrageous sum of money at the market despite he’s not being a prolific seasons goals scorer for that matter. If it were to be Ronaldo, Messi, Suarez and Neymah or even Bale that will individually cost such a very his price to buy, one can understand. Because those guys are consistent seasonal high goals poachers. I think Pogba must be a lucky guy.

  22. A couple of interesting bits on BBC

    Firstly in an interview MaureenO replied: “We set four targets for us, we got three of them and we are going to get the fourth” SO the other 75 names being linked with them will be as disappointed as the 80’odd being linked with us.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if they actually decided spending 30-40m on any one of a hundred other good MFs is a more sensible idea than 100m on Pogba, and the chaos the rumour is causing in the media makes the real deal easier… but MaureenO does seem to like making ‘statements’ even when the we can see the real statement is that he’s a loud mouth ego on legs.

    The other bit is that Argentina will talk to Pog about possibly becoming their national manager. Would that mean an end to the recent improvement in the Tiny Totts results?

  23. PS. now I’ve typed that, expect an announcement from DisUtd that they’ve signed Pogba in the next few hours 😀

  24. The elephant in the room…kroenke!!!….really???? Let’s see.

    1. He dint let ARSENAL spend 40 odd on Ozil.
    2. He just said no to Alexis.
    3. Definitely said no to Xhaka.

    Wonder why they blame Mr Wenger for not spending!!

  25. An oversimplification of point 2, is that loyalty has worth.

    Being a Canadian, ice hockey is the game by default. Living in Edmonton most of my life, that was the Edmonton Oilers. I was in university when Gretsky, Messier, et al were rewriting record books. I didn’t party much, but I heard stories about some of the Oilers ending up at frat parties and what not then.

    And then Pocklington sold Gretsky. And loyalty went out the window. It may be that hockey teams realize the worth of loyalty, but it lost them one fan (me). I don’t care how the league does, how the Canadian teams do, or any particular team.

    I hope football keeps an eye on the value of loyalty, it is not zero.

  26. Copy from Wikipedia:
    ‘Keeping up with the Joneses is an idiom in many parts of the English-speaking world referring to the comparison to one’s neighbor as a benchmark for social class or the accumulation of material goods. To fail to “keep up with the Joneses” is perceived as demonstrating socio-economic or cultural inferiority.’

    Does this sound familiar?

  27. Thanks, Finsbury!

    Here we go again.

    On Monday, February 2016, the Swiss Ramble wrote – Arsenal – Brass in Pocket.

    “Everything else being equal, Arsenal’s cash balance will again be significantly higher when the next set of annual accounts is released. Depending on when transfer fee stage payments come due, it should be around the £225-250 million level.”

    This is speculation, and the “idiots” are quoting the £250 millions, the highest cash reserves in the world, for a football club.

    Birds of a feather, flock together, and TSR, is a member of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust.

    No further comment is needed!

    Thanks to Tony, a more balanced response to the CEO’s interview.

  28. “This is speculation, and the “idiots” are quoting the £250 millions, the highest cash reserves in the world, for a football club”

    On 27th Feb 2016 Sir Chips Keswick quoted as saying our cash reserves were £135 millions.So add on £100 million for TV rights etc. and £250 million looks quite realistic.
    Just saying!

  29. …..and yes we are among the richest clubs in the world in both assets & resale value

  30. Thanks Tony. I think Ivan is a good guy for the club, and talks sense.
    We may have a lot of money put aside, but it is clear the infrastructure is being upgraded , not all of it is for transfers.
    We have spent over thirty mil on a player traditionally described as a holding MF, tho I suspect he may be more than that..
    The sports science facilities are being revamped. The Ems pitch has been re-laid. Things are going on to improve the performance of the youngsters.
    i just don’t get what there is to worry about from Ivan’s full words.
    Ok, Wenger did seem to rephrase things a bit, suggesting things were happening.
    But in general, think Ivan’s words were considered, chosen and made sense. We will not be spending a hundred mil on a player, or paying a veteran three hundred grand a week, because, as Leicester, Arsenal and others have shown, there can be other ways.
    Just sounds like a CEO of a healthy club , with a top class manager that is improving all the time…..after a difficult time, but will do so without compromising whatever business model they have in place.
    As for the critics of the owner a self confessed Kroenke sceptic, I don’t agree with some things he has done….fan share….but cannot really find evidence he is hampering the manager or team through any complete personal greed….ok a three mil dividend of whatever….but if anyone can, or he changes tact for the worse, I am more than willing to eat words.
    But like everything, guess results will reveal all.

  31. There are those of us who save money month on month to buy something that interests us and know can improve the experience. This lot will appreciate what Gazidis and the AFC management are trying to do. Then you have the impulse buyers with their plastic cards or EMI options, who don’t stop to think of whether it can add value. They buy it and then weigh the pros and cons. It may or may not improve their personal experience. When they find out the experience to be bitter or not upto their mark, they sell the the purchase for whatever price they can get and they move on to the next. They forget how much debt they accrue through this thoughtless buying process, however will not care till it’s too late. This lot will not appreciate the careful nature of AFC’s spending and are most likely to be impatient fans who feel year on year we should be champions. Arsenal have waited for longer periods before we got glory ao I for one will wait for that sweet moment called success the right way, the arsenal way. I also feel when you show who won the title over the last decade, you should also quote the transfer amount spend for those years and see if it was realistic for AFC to spend that along with burden of repaying loans.

  32. Our cash balance does not equate to all of that money being for transfers. So if we have £250m cash available then not all of that is necessarily available for transfers. The only people that will know the amount are the club!

  33. 1.Southampton would disagree with this one (Mane went for Liverpool despite The Saints finishing above Liverpool last season; Lovren, Lallana, Chambers, Shaw, Wanyama…have all left the club in the last two years) and, to the certain extent, Liverpool as well (Sterling to City, Suarez to United).

    Then, it’s true that English clubs have a lot money now but the situation is not the same abroad. Manchester clubs exploited the fact both Gundogan and Mkhitaryan had entered their last year of the contract with Borussia Dortmund. Chelsea signed Kante.

    It’s true that so-called small English clubs (can we really call Everton smaller than Chelsea before making a point at Stones’ case?) are in a better position for negotiations for their talented players.

    2.Agreed. Then again, sometimes it’s a risk to turn your head away from suggested solutions just because they sound too simplistic. Arsenal didn’t sign a new midfielder last summer even if the most friendly bloggers had warned that relying on Arteta and Flamini as Coquelin’s cover would be a disaster and Cazorla’s cover with Wilshere’s and Rosicky’s long-term injuries was non-existing. Elneny is a great signing, no question about it but he missed a critical part of the season when our title bid went south. Now, the most friendly bloggers warn that our attack is too short both quantity and quality wise and I can only hope those warnings will be a sign of pessimism. So far we have been handed a firm evidence Arsenal can’t win the league with Giroud as a main striker – four seasons, zero league titles, zero seasons with 20+ league goals – so the issue is obvious.

    3.I actually wrote the same thing a few months ago and it wasn’t received with applauds. It was about how we used to find players like Aubameyang before anyone else. Vieira was picked from the reserves of AC Milan – that’s where Aubameyang had been before he returned to France.

    4.Nothing wrong here, except I’d add one of the best goalkeepers of all times Petr Cech who earned The Golden Glove and the place in the record books as an Arsenal goalkeeper.

    5.I agree that squad is getting stronger and stronger but it also says the second place was disappointing result (while a few years later we celebrated the fourth place which is a sign of improved ambitions and quality).

    6.Agreed, to the certain extent.

    7.Agreed, connected to the point five.

    8.Now it’s a story about what was first: a chicken or an egg? English clubs have been second best to Spanish ones and Bayern. Quality dispersed from Top 4 to Top 20. It makes the league more interesting, more unpredictable but as long all those issues Untold Arsenal has been talking about for years (PGMO, treatment of grass-root football, coaching) exist, I can’t make myself calling Premier League better than it was in, say, 2007-08.

    9.We will see.

    10.Except, until Leicester title, those three clubs had been winning the league for eleven years in a row. If we don’t improve our attack, PGMO keep doing their stuff at our games and injuries knock our best players again, one of those three clubs will win the league, in my opinion.

  34. Gooner S

    I was being a bit creative when I suggested much earlier in the thread that we had £250 million available for transfers. £100 million is more likely our budget. Still considerable though and lots left to spend.

  35. @Leon

    That’s probably a good guess. But with WBA turning down £20m for Saido Berahino I wonder just how far it will go in the current market?

  36. @Gooner S

    I think the main reason Berahino’s price is above 20 millions is his football nationality/HG-status that might turn out to be a major factor in the following years due to Brexit and probable restrictions that would be imposed on the foreign players.

  37. It doesn’t look as though we’ll be spending any of our money on Mahrez, as Adidas are issuing Chelsea shirts with his name & number 7 on them.

  38. But since, as Gazidis maintains, the key to success is not just about “financial firepower” but about “doing things well”, then he is (unwittingly) saying that Arsenal aren’t doing things well enough, since we are not winning the league!!

  39. Minstrel, or he is saying we are doing things better than every club except one last season in terms of winning the league, which is patently obvious, or better than everyone else in terms of building and paying for our own stadium.

  40. Tony I feel I have to pick you up on a couple of points
    1. Kroenke is a billionaire
    2. The money is there for us to buy a top striker. higuain was available so why didn’t we go for it?

    However I am most concerned that you are making excuses for the club. Why? If you are a fan you should be wanting to see investment in the team and not profits being made in the boardroom.

  41. @TopGuns

    The club has bought 3 players to date. One of which was for £30m +. That’s investment. I’m sure we haven’t finished and that more are to come.

    What has Kronke being a billionaire got to do with anything?

  42. Gooner S – Tony made the point that we can’t compete with other clubs who have billionaires. Sorry but that is a misleading argument.

  43. Tony – so, the Premier League is about “building and paying for your own stadium”? This is a criterion fully comparable with what goes on in the field, with winning the league? Really?

    This really said so much about Untold!

    I do not think you’ll find many Arsenal fans who would agree with that priority.

    Why not support an architecture firm then?

    Moreover, if this kind of stance were advertised as Arsenal’s official policy, I don’t expect there would
    be many season ticket holders.


    What I find distressing about Gazidis’ words is that he just doesn’t come clean and admit – “We think we’ve
    not done a sufficiently good job in not winning the league for so long. But we believe we can correct this by doing
    a), b), c)…”

    You never hear the AFC top brass being apologetic about this fundamental issue (or at least I haven’t). And this despite us having to pay the most expensive match tickets in the UK – and (since I checked last) in Europe!

  44. Top Gun – agree in terms of “making excuses for the club”. What I’d rather like to see is solid critical
    examination of the club’s dealings–but the good things and the not-so-good ones. This to me is supporting
    the club.

    With people making so much money as Wenger, Gazidis et al, we surely don’t need biased apologetics?

  45. Hi Tony
    just had a chance to read and its interesting as always if not overly glowing of the Arsenal board, managament, ownership, and finances. You did not manage to be critical of Gazidis in anyway and took rose-tinted glasses to his every comment. Their could be some bias there from your personal relationship with the man.

    Between Josif and Elsa most of what I feel has been said. And I absolutely stand by what I stated previously that it is poor form to state the financial strength in one moment when presenting the proud outlook of a strong club with excellent finances able to compete with the best in the world, only to cry poor and say we now cannot compete with the biggest clubs when its transfer season and we may not like the way the market is going and the price of the pieces we want. That is hypocrisy. Again there are a lot of very rich white men in the Arsenal board and ownership getting very much richer…

    I definitely agree that going after young talent to develop is absolutely key. Absolutely. But we have to enter the market when we are short in an area and we do not have the requisite ready youngsters to fill the void. Its painfully obvious where this area is right now…all we are asking is that it be addressed.

    Its all well and good that there is just over a month to go until the window closes, but there is just over two weeks until the season and Giroud will NOT be ready, Alexis will likely not be ready so we have walcott, the ox, iwobi, campbell, and Akpom available in attack for the first few games. That is not enough for an “ambitious” club. That is not enough to start the season. That is what makes this a big concern to many fans and after failing to fill a glaring need last year (midfield, and as many would say in attack too) that inevitably cost us in the long run due to having to play flamini and arteta, it doesn’t fill one with much confidence that much is going this transfer window, let alone before the season. We just don’t seem to be learning from our mistakes because no one will admit specifically what the mistakes are all we get are the general comments: “like all big clubs we make mistakes from time to time”

    Our own club needs critiquing too, just like the rest of the corrupt world of football and pro sports

  46. David M – we obviously disagree on the basis of evidence. To take one example you say

    We just don’t seem to be learning from our mistakes because no one will admit specifically what the mistakes are all we get are the general comments: “like all big clubs we make mistakes from time to time”

    I would say that we have learned from evidence of others. Only 25% of big money players make a difference in the first season, and the majority of clubs that win the league don’t have the top goal scorer – they score from multiple positions and that is what helps them win.

    We both look at the same situation, but I present some statistical evidence, but you make general observation and draw conclusions (as in “Alexis will likely not be ready so we have walcott, the ox, iwobi, campbell, and Akpom available in attack for the first few games. That is not enough for an “ambitious” club. That is not enough to start the season. ” It is a different style and a different approach, and we can each draw our own.

  47. Minstrel – if you really think that I actually said, or believe that “the Premier League is about “building and paying for your own stadium”?” I am completely unsure how to answer you.

  48. Hi Tony Appreciate the feedback, but I do not agree with what you have said.

    You claim I do not use evidence: Arsenal have said (between Wenger, Gazidis and others) multiple times that when we complete the stadium we can compete with the biggest teams in the world. Do you need quotes or do you recognise that this sentiment has been stated many times during the stadium rebuild and then after when we “now do not have the restraints”, then the evidence is plain again (burning hot in the press about 5-6days old) contrary to this from Gazidis that we now (during transfer season), despite all the previous claims, despite multiple reports of huge cash reserves, despite the massive injection of EPL TV money, we are now not that rich and can’t compete.

    Also you yourself haven’t always used evidence and have just reverted to opinion: point 6 – Billionaire owners. Last time I checked we had two
    Point 7 – Arsenal have the highest ambitions – stadium. Sure it shows we want to increase the revenue potential, but now that has been invested and largely paid off, time to show a little more ambition than we are now
    Point 9 – Leicester wasn’t a one off – based on nothing but opinion. Evidence suggests (as I stated last week) this was entirely one off. It is the only example since Blackburn Rovers 21 years ago in a different era of EPL (when it was a pretty poor league).

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree. No doubt I spout some emotional things sometimes based on opinion, but I am a scientist and consider that I base most things on logic and evidence. Yours is a website that is quality because it generally follows these guidelines and critique rather than lets others opinions determine your own mindset (the biggest problem the world has historically faced and is facing today). But I feel there is a need for this website to also be critical of the mistake Arsenal as a club make, the board make, the owners make and the manager make. Especially when it is pretty clear that there is A LOT of money being taken out of the club and not being reinvested, especially recently when our biggest restraint is now almost clear. Unfortunately I don’t really ever see that. Its like a US Clinton democrat voter raving on about trump this trump that, while clearly Hilary is a completely dirty politician. (Don’t get me wrong I’m not endorsing Trump – he’ll probably cause WWIII), but if we just think too positively about the things we are closest too then we begin to miss the very things we want improved in our biggest “enemies” (for lack of a better word)

  49. I’m not surprised Gazidis has no appetite for Arsenal competing with City in the transfer market – after all, he’s supported City pretty much since he moved over to Manchester from Johannesburg at the age of 4 😉

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