Following the Misery in Milan and the Shocker in Sunderland there have been calls either for the managers head, the boards collective head or for the team to be ruthlessly pruned and expensively strengthened. It has to be said that these last two events are perhaps only the latest in a succession of poor results that have seen the club knocked out of the Carling Cup, the FA Cup and almost certainly the Champions League, although we have got into fourth position in the Premiership, a position we hold over Chelsea who are on the same number of games, points and goal difference.
The club’s financial position has been well documented and picked over ad nauseum of late. Restrictions imposed by the pay structure and limited transfer budget have apparently prevented the manager from making the significant signings most of us are calling for. One other limiting factor is the number of players on the books who seem to be surplus to requirements but are not attracting any interest from other clubs. Without the income from sales and the concomitant reduction in the wage bill the kitty is further reduced.
There have been a few hints, of late, that Wenger is ready for a wholesale clearout and that the club may be willing to break it’s self imposed wage ceiling in order to both keep it’s most valuable players and attract some high class talent.
Stan net worth $3.2 billion
The one thing that does seem clear is that the owner, Silent Stan Kroenke, is either unwilling or unable to inject funds into the club, one reason for this could be that he had to spend more than expected to purchase his majority shareholding. If this is the case it is odd that he would allow the value of his holding to fall alongside the clubs status.
It is intriguing to note that Alisher Usmanov has been active in the share market, during the past week, having bought two small parcels of Arsenal stock, one of ten shares at £15,000 each and one of seven shares at £15,750 each. It is understood that he is still in the market but reluctant to pay more than £14,000 per share.
Alisher net worth $17.7 billion
Usmanov’s current holding is now getting close to the thirty percent that would entitle him to see important financial data which would prove vital if he were to consider making a takeover bid for the club. Could it be that the Uzbek billionaire is making ready to challenge Kroenke over the club’s ownership? He certainly has the financial clout to do so and clear the outstanding debts as well as pump in some much needed cash.
It is intriguing to note that the manager of Stevenage, Gary Smith, was previously a scout at Arsenal before moving to Silent Stan’s Major League Soccer side, Colorado Rapids as head coach, in his two seasons there he won the MLS title the club’s only trophy in it’s history so far.
Despite his success, Smith says that he only met the owner once or twice and never had any meaningful contact with him. He also said that Kroenke is the same with all his sports franchises, he appoints a Chief Executive Officer and the CEO runs all aspects of the club. It was due to a falling out with the CEO that Smith left the club and took over at Stevenage. So from that it seems Ivan Gazidis is the man to blame for the financial restrictions, on Wenger, and maybe should at least take a share of the blame for the teams current tribulations.
Stan Kroenke will make his regular monthly visit to London this week in order to attend the regular monthly board meeting. Despite popular belief Kroenke has yet to miss a single board meeting since he became the majority share holder last April.
Kroenke is expected to reaffirm support for his somewhat beleaguered manager and will be announcing profits in the region of £55 million for the past year, all of which will be available for Wenger to overhaul or augment the squad over the summer.
The Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) is to hold a meeting tonight at which as many as a hundred small share holders will discuss the teams uneven form and to make pans for an end of season survey on Wenger’s performance.
So, do you think Kroenke, $3.2 Billion, should sell out to Usmanov, £17.7 billion? Or should Usmanov give up his fight for ownership? Should Gazidis be forced to undo the purse strings? Or should Wenger accept responsibility and suffer the consequences? Is the wage ceiling reasonable or should players get what they and their agents can screw out of the club?
John in Norfolk