A great man once said “do you like Arsenal? Or just Arsenal with trophies”.
I was reminded by what Dennis Bergkamp said as I scrolled through social media on Monday following Sunday’s disappointing draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
It was like suddenly we were transported back 12 months ago, with the fan complaining, moaning and criticism that defined the end of the end of the Arsene Wenger era.
One comment I saw that really resonated with was that this Arsenal was the Arsenal they fell in love with. That their Arsenal “were a winning Arsenal not just making up the numbers”. This was amongst many tweets that I read they made me realise that some of our fans will never be happy unless we are winning trophies.
But it is not just trophies that they want. It is these trophies. The Premier League, the Champions League.
These same people complained that winning the FA Cup was not good enough. So it is not that they only love Arsenal with trophies; they love Arsenal with league titles.
We all spent 6 months or more (I saw one idiot saying he has been Wenger Out since 2001!). That change has come.
Arsene Wenger. GONE. Ivan Gazidis GONE. Majority of the coaching staff. GONE. And in his come Unai Emery, with his own staff, alongside Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat. Change has happened, and Arsenal have moved forward.
But some of these fans have seemingly not moved forward. They demanded “Time to Change” but they have not changed themselves.
They are on to the next one. Criticising the players, already on the managers back. Moaning that the club did not spend enough money, and demanding Stan Kroenke to put in his billions or leave.
And it is billions that Kroenke would have to put in.
We have all read the stories about Manchester City and the £2.7bn investment that Sheikh Mansoor has put into the club. It is with that huge investment that has enabled Manchester City to have one of the strongest 25 man squads seen in the game.
Yesterday Arsenal looked short on the bench. On game changers. Manchester City’s starting XI was without Kevin de Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus & Ilkay Gundogan. These 5 players would start for every Premier League side. And City brushed aside Manchester United 3-1 without them starting.
These fans who are moaning will not be happy until we win the title. City is what we need to match, need to beat, to win the title. I think anyone who would expect an owner to put in £2.7bn, to write it off, are completely unreasonable. There are two sides in world football doing this at the moment. City and PSG.
The fact that fans also think Kroenke has the spending power to compete shows how naive they are when it comes to business, and net worth.
Forbes estimate Kroenke to be worth $8.5bn (£6.5m). But this is net worth, this is not how much spare cash he has under his sofa.
This worth is tied up in hundreds of investments. From personal homes and ranches, to various sports clubs around the world. The recent buy out of Arsenal shares valued the club at £1.8bn. That is 27% of Kroenke’s net worth.
For Kroenke to be able to put up the kind of money Manchester City have spent, he would have to take huge loans against his businesses. Against Arsenal.
Would you be happy Kroenke mortgaging Arsenal further to the hilt to win a league title? I certainly wouldn’t.
Imagine the outcry if it was announced Kroenke was taking a £1bn loan out against Arsenal to spend on transfers, salaries and more. It is that kind of action that could make Arsenal the next Leeds or Portsmouth. Where you are in debt up to your eyeballs.
Matching Manchester City’s spending power is just not realistic.
“but Liverpool are challenging”.
You are right, Liverpool are unbeaten and just 2 points behind Manchester City after 12 games. But last season they finished 25 points behind them in 4th place.
They were also in 4th place the year before, 17 points behind champions Chelsea (and just 1 point ahead of Arsenal). So how about we judge if Liverpool have put up a title challenge once we are in the business end of the season.
Also, by putting Liverpool as the example of a side competing makes it even more silly that fans are already getting on the back of Emery.
Jurgen Klopp is in his 4th season at Liverpool. He has had 6 transfer windows. Spent over £380m. It we are going to compare Emery to Klopp, should we not give the Spaniard the same time the German has had before becoming critical?
In his 3 completed seasons at Liverpool, Klopp has led them to 8th, 4th & 4th with no trophies won. It is odd that the fans who are moaning that we currently sit 5th. That Arsenal without trophies is not the Arsenal they love; yet they praise a Liverpool side that has not won anything in a decade.
Most sensible fans would have known that it would take Emery more than 6 months and one transfer window to fix Arsenal.
We are still a left back, a centre back and 2 wingers short of being a side that would compete for second (and another £2.5bn off a team that could be champions).
Klopp has had the time to build Liverpool in his vision. He has spent big on the likes of Allison, Virgil van Dijk & Mo Salah. Arsenal will make these signings as time goes on. But we can not expect us to go out and spend £250m in one transfer window to immediately close the gap.
A final thought is right now fans will say but what about Leicester.
It is about time the fans realised that Leicester was a one off. And one of the main reasons they won the league was because of Manchester City’s failure.
Leicester won the league with 81 points. City got just 66 points that season.
To put that into perspective, Arsenal got just 3 points less (63) last season than City did in Leicester’s title winning season.
I am of the feeling that for teams to finish above City, you firstly need them to have a poor season. You could have a brilliant season, get 85+ points, and City will be near or above the 90 point mark.
Emery needs time. The new Arsenal regime need time.
If you are not willing to give the new management team time; or demand that we replicate Manchester City style spending, then you clearly do not love Arsenal. You only love Arsenal with trophies.