It’s not something you hear often, or ever… in fact Stan Kroenke has been condemned by the majority of Arsenal’s fan base as the root of Arsenal problems, with his lack of investment in Arsenal’s operations and insistence on a “self-sustaining” business model having hindered Arsenal in the transfer market several times in the past.
But the Kroenke family seems to be stepping up now, with The Daily Mail reporting that the club is set to receive a “cash injection” that will be worth millions. The question is, does Kroenke’s support mean we can be hopeful in the transfer market?
The summer of 2019 was not a bad one at all for Arsenal – not by any means. Not only did the Gunners smash their transfer record to bring in Nicolas Pepe for well over £72 million, but they also made smart deals for William Saliba, David Luiz, and Kieran Tierney. The club had to work with a limited budget, having splashed the cash on Aubameyang, Torreira, Leno, and others in 2018.
However, paying for those deals in installments has left Arsenal even further hindered in 2020. Furthermore, the wage bill looks to be larger than it has ever been, which makes selling some players inevitable (we can only hope our exits will mostly consist of deadwood). The imminent player wage cuts will definitely help to lessen the financial burden on Arsenal in the midst of this global pandemic, that has thrown the world of football into uncertainty.
Stan Kroenke’s son Josh has been getting increasingly involved in club matters, and made a statement of ambition last summer when he told Arsenal fans they had reason to be excited about future transfers. However, even then, long before the global pandemic, he warned that a lack of Champions League football is setting the club back:
“It’s no secret that we have a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget right now. That’s a fact. And one that we’re figuring out how to face internally at the moment. That doesn’t mean that my father or I have ever said anything about any restrictions on spending. We know where we need to be and we know the areas we need to address on the pitch. It’s not who you buy, it’s how you buy. There’s multiple statements to say how to skin that cat.”Josh Kroenke, 2019
The reality is that while all clubs are taking a hit financially due to COVID-19, Arsenal were in a rough situation to begin with, and the purpose of the Kroenke money is first and foremost to help the club ‘stay afloat’. Whether the sum invested will be large enough to also facilitate big signings remains to be seen, but if we want to be realistic, we should assume that incomings will still depend on who we sell.
In conclusion, the transfer news will keep on coming, and positive news like this should allow us to be cautiously optimistic while simultaneously understanding that the club is trying to overcome major financial setbacks.
Header photo: Ronnie Macdonald, 2012