*By Omar Al Raisi at @Dantani
Arsenal once used to be called the ‘Invincibles’ when they won the English Premier League undefeated in 03-04 season. Now it has become a more or less feeder club to the high spending or ‘more ambitious’ clubs, namely Manchester City and Barcelona.
Their strategy of buying young players on the cheap and developing them for the first team to save the millions on the transfer fees of players’ is back firing on them. Yet, their board still insists that they will not change their strategy and this is how they envision moving the club forward.
Arsenal’s best players Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, who they bought as young players left Arsenal last year in search of trophies to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively, Fabregas won the Copa Del Rey, European Super cup and the Spanish super cup with FC Barcelona, while Samir Nasri won the English Premier League title.
And now, Arsenal is about to lose its best player and captain Robin Van Persie for the same reasons. He is turning 29 in August and feels this is his last chance to win some silverware in his career.
“I have thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract” said Van Persie.
“Unfortunately, it has become very clear to me that in many aspects we disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward,” he said.
The rumors suggest that Manchester City have already struck a pre deal to sign Robin Van Persie from Arsenal for about £22m. If it is true, he will be the 5th player to sign from Arsenal to Manchester City in 3 years.
Arsenal is owned by two Multi-Billionaire owners: Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov who own 66.82% and 29.35% of the shares respectively. However, their board and the CEO wants Arsenal to work on a self sufficient business model even if that means their best players seek to move away from the club in search of trophies (or money).
Arsenal’s current strategy has been very successful financially generating over £60m in profits each year since 2009. However, they have not won any trophy since 2004 and pay wages about half of what the top clubs like Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester United pay to their top players.
From irate fans to players to football experts and media, all have criticized the way Arsenal has been run. But the club ramins reluctant to spend money on players insisting to develop youth players instead and as a result they have not won any trophies since 2004. Arsenal just can’t compete with the spending power of Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United.
Great players play football not because of money, but for the love of football and to win trophies. This has been a major reason why great players are leaving Arsenal year after year.
Since 2005 players like Ashley Cole, Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy have left Arsenal in search of trophies or to get a high pay package to other clubs. The millions made by selling these players were never invested on strengthening the squad either. And now they are about to lose their captain and best player Robin Van Persie who won the best player in the English Premier League last season and scored 37 goals.
Arsenal is a club with great history and they should be at the top competing for trophies. Their board should bend their rules a little and use the wealth of their owners to build a squad capable of challenging for trophies at the same time developing youth players who can break into the squad as the next generation of players.
Atleast this is what Alisher Usmanov believes, as he slammed the Arsenal board in an open letter of ignoring winning trophies with their “tight” regime.
“This policy is leading to the loss of our best players, often to our main competitors, and even causes the players themselves to question their future at the club and the club’s ambitions”. Alisher Usmanov said
“The situation with our captain and outstanding performer from last season Robin van Persie sums this up,” he said.
The fans are the most important thing in a club and all their fans want to be up against the best and fighting for trophies. Whether Arsenal’s board will take that route, it doesn’t seem like and that’s what most of the Arsenal fans believe, which is very disappointing for them.