The summer close-season is always frustrating and exciting in equal measure.
Exciting as you look forward to a new year with fresh hopes and expectations as well as the hope of new signings.
But as each Premier League transfer rumour is produced and discarded it becomes frustrating as you try and decipher what is true and what is tabloid clap-trap.
Arsenal have had their fair share of rumours this year, but alongside that has been the political manoeuvring of Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov, which has created more headlines than anything this summer.
Only last week Usmanov revealed plans for a new share offer which would have provided fresh funds for Wenger and wiped out some of the club’s debts. The plan, however, was rejected by chief executive Ivan Gazidis as the club stubbornly seek to remain ‘self sufficient’.
But such is the tit for tat nature of the pair that Kronke, perhaps in response to Usmanov’s proposal, has further increased his stake in the club to 28.58% – perilously close to the 30% needed to launch a full takeover.
I get the impression things are coming to a head now regarding the ownership of the club and at some point a decision will be made as to what path the club chooses to go down. The board take great pride in the fact it is so well run, with much credit going the way of Wenger who runs a tight ship regarding wages and transfer fees.
But we can only pat ourselves on the back for so long as it appears our solid business model will not win us anything for a while. We can sit back and claim the moral high ground over clubs like City, who are playing fantasy football, spending obscene amounts of money. But if we keep doing so we will soon be scoffing as we watch City and the like pick up silverware while our trophy cabinet remains, frustratingly, slammed shut.
We can keep waiting for the ‘bubble to burst’ and the big spending clubs to pay for their irresponsible spending but how long will it be before that happens? And where will we lie when it does?
I would personally love to see Arsenal upset the current football odds and win things without the need for a sugar daddy, but the sad fact is money dominates all now and without it we will struggle. Is it time to bite the bullet and fall into foreign ownership? Or should we carry on as we are, financially stable but with little transfer funds, hoping that Wenger can once again pluck youngsters from obscurity and build a title winning team rather than just buy it? If we are taken over which way should we go – Kroenke or Usmanov?
Arsenal’s future is now on the table – stick or twist?
By Tom Mallows for Goonersworld