Are Arsenal Finally Ready To Compete With The Big Boys?

By James Hilton
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According to multiple reports surfacing this morning in the press and associated media, Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has given his personal assurances to fans of the club that they are ready to take things to the next level regarding player transfers and compete on the same financial plateau as other super clubs.

That’s excellent news if you’re an Arsenal fan who’s had to endure eight barren, trophy-less years and after these latest comments, there’s surely a cause for celebration among the North London faithful?

Well not necessarily, should we happen to delve a little deeper into Gazidis’s statement.

Gazidis insists there’s money for Arsenal to spend in the summer transfer window, yet that fact has never been in dispute. Arsenal’s finances, ever since the construction of the Emirates Stadium, have been exceptionally healthy with cash reserves of £70 million to draw on if necessary. The fact that Arsenal have the money to spend isn’t anything new, and hearing Gazidis champion that they have loads of it to spend is commonplace as he does it every year.

What should worry the Arsenal fans, yet again, is whether Arsene Wenger will actually dip into the aforementioned cash reserves and actually buy someone of a high enough caliber to enable the team to actually compete in the Champions League instead of just qualify for it.

Arsenal have a capable squad with one or two outstanding players, but their over-reliance on Robin Van Persie left them ever so slightly short of a potent goal-scoring presence up front when the Dutchman left, especially in away games. Had Arsenal reinvested the Van Persie millions straight away in another striker other than Olivier Giroud, they may have found themselves among the top two instead of the top four.

Another glaring point made by Gazidis in his statement is that Wenger isn’t under any pressure to spend the money, it’s only there should he need it.

What Gazidis says should set alarm bells ringing immediately. He sounds like he is saying Arsenal have the money to buy players, but they may actually not buy anyone of relevance. After all the players Wenger has been linked with, including Stefan Jovetic and Wayne Rooney among others, it may be that the Frenchman decides against paying over the odds for players and continues in his frugal ways.

I urge caution from the Arsenal fans expecting mega signings this summer. Wenger hasn’t ever spent £20 million on a player. Never. The most he’s ever spent was £17 million on Jose Antonio Reyes way back in 2004.

For anyone associated with Arsenal expecting £25-30 million signings to arrive in the summer — I wouldn’t hold my breath.


James Hilton is a soccer writer for Follow him on Twitter , “like” his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google+

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