Does it shock you to think that Arsenal have never spent more than £15 million in transfer fees for a single player in the entire history of the football club? Of course, big money has only been a recent factor to football. In the last 10-15 years or so, the prices have rocketed through the roof, but to think that Wenger has never spent more than £15 million on a single player is just ridiculous.
There are a few conflicting reports about the price of Reyes’ transfer to Arsenal, with some suggesting the fee was £15m whilst other say £17m but the fact that it was announced that Andrei Arshavin was our club record signing on £15m, I’m going to stick with the Russian and say that Arshavin is currently the most expensive player in Arsenal’s history. Do I think it’s wrong that we have never spent more than that, whilst other clubs continue to wave the cash? I can see both sides of the argument.
I like the fact that it means we have been able to control and sustain our finances, and remain in complete control over where the money is going. It has allowed us to be one of the few clubs without serious debt and we also managed to build a fantastic, state of the art stadium. So in that side of the argument, I respect Wenger’s decision and how he has managed to keep us going in both the Premier league and champions league for so long on such a low spending budget. What he has done on a tight budget in the last few years is absolutely magnificent and surely one of the best managerial performances of all time – as also stated by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville.
But then I also see the down side. It has not allowed us to progress and go further when we possibly could have kept our dominant control in England. We were the leading English force 10 years ago and only United stood any real chance of challenging us, but one thing that was eluding us was European dominance. Although we were always very powerful in Europe, we always failed to achieve the ultimate award, the champions league trophy.
If we had taken our spending further then it’s possible we could have maintained these heights of being a dominant force but as always, it’s nothing more than a ‘what if’ and a question that will play on the minds of passionate Arsenal fans for a long time. Spending money would have also allowed us to retake our league position amongst the highest clubs, however consecutive seasons in decline without any real spending meant that we never improved and overall it’s left us in the position we are today.
So do I think it’s wrong that we haven’t spent massively in the last few years? Yes because it’s arguably the main reason behind our decline. Although I respect the decision to not pay massive fees or wages, because I think the amount players earn is wrong, however football is a competitive game and we need to move with the times like everyone else. I fear that now we have missed our chance and have begun the long decline process that Liverpool also experienced a few years back.