Friday Ramble: New Deal For Arsene, Big Deal For Arsenal
It’s been six months since Arsenal Depot joined the Gooner blogosphere and now seems like a good time to host a guest writer on the site, something I’ve considered in the past but never followed through with. Not only will it give me a day to catch up with life outside of WordPress but more importantly, it will break the monotony for you, my precious reader.
So starting today, the Friday Ramble will feature articles by a fellow Indian Gooner, Vivek Arulnathan. Vivek is a 20-year-old Engineering student who’s blogged with other sites in the past. He shares my belief that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal’s footballing philosophy will eventually lead to success on and off the pitch.
Without further ado then, here’s Vivek’s debut piece for Arsenal Depot. Enjoy.
– Maverick Gooner
Ivan Gazidis is in the headlines presently, after his interview in the Mirror suggested Arsenal are considering offering a contract extension to Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman’s deal expires in two years time and the Arsenal board appear keen to tie down the manager to a long-term deal.
This is what Gazidis had to say.
It’s not a sense of sentimentalism, not a reward for our services, it’s a belief that we have an incredible manager who loves this club and is the best man to lead us forward.
We’re really confident about the direction that the club is heading. We’re coming through strongly and we believe we’re really well placed. We hope and believe that Arsene will be a part of that as we move forward.
I think he could stay on longer, absolutely he could. We haven’t discussed it yet but I believe he could. He’s fit, 62 years old, he’s in fantastic shape and he’s as driven as he’s ever been, as enthusiastic and excited as ever and I feel he can keep going for a long time.
Personally, this is a no-brainer. Just a glance around the world and you’ll find no one capable enough, Guardiola included, to replace Le Boss. Given the club’s transformation in the past eight years, it is crucial that Wenger remains at the helm. With the squad looking stronger than ever, it’s the first time in five years that Arsenal look capable of challenging for trophies so the last thing we’d want to see is for Arsene Wenger to pack his bags.
While there are those who will question the club for trying to retain a manager who has failed to deliver trophies, it is important to note that Wenger has worked under huge financial constraints. The profits made every year might raise eyebrows but those profits have been essential to the club in successfully undergoing a transformation not managed by other clubs. Moreover this has been done without compromising on the football, our repeated qualification to the Champions League stands testimony to this claim.
Also, after the troubles of last season the team appears once more to be heading along the right path. Wenger has accepted the need for seasoned personnel and recent transfers have added the experience, composure and leadership that the squad was in dire need of. Steve Bould’s appointment is also an indication that Wenger has finally seen the need for specialized defensive training. The calmness and organization we’ve seen from the team in keeping three clean sheets so far shows that the ‘Steve Bould effect’ is indeed working.
Crucially though, Wenger is an Arsenal man through and through. Regardless of his salary, Arsene is driven by the desire to see his project succeed and to see Arsenal back on the winner’s podium. A new contract will only ensure Arsene continues to give his 100% to the club. It’s hard to categorise Wenger as being unambitious because while his stubbornness, displays of anger and claims of injustice might paint him as a sore loser, they are all proof of Wenger’s love for Arsenal and the desire to win trophies.
And aiding Arsene Wenger in his quest for success will be the new sponsorship deals due in 2014. Gazidis reckons it will make Arsenal one among the ‘top 5’ clubs in the world.
In terms of the financial impact on the club, although it isn’t represented in concrete, it will be as significant a step forward for the football club from a financial viewpoint as the stadium was in 2005.
Of every major club, we have the most potential for growth in that area. That’s a fairly extraordinary thing.
There is no hiding from the fact that in terms of sponsorship, Arsenal aren’t even earning 50% of what we are capable of. That is a direct result of negotiating the finances for building the new stadium and while we now have a world-class facility, not many are sure about the impact it has made. And Gazidis went to pains to explain the financial advantages it has given to the club.
We will be separated away as one of the top five clubs in the world in revenue, versus had we stayed at Highbury and we stayed with six or seven other clubs in the same ballpark position, we would be in amongst them scrambling somewhere between mid to upper table in financial terms.
That would be the financial constraints he (Wenger) would be operating under. Even he might struggle in that situation.
Ever since the move to the Emirates, 2014 has been the year that’s been projected as the start of a new era. A record-breaking sponsorship deal is not unrealistic for Arsenal. There are huge markets in America, Asia and Africa for Arsenal to plunge into. Given that Liverpool can command such high premiums despite their evident decline, Arsenal seem well positioned to negotiate lucrative deals. While I am no business expert, our fan base, business model, assurance of stability and élite status should definitely project us in good light with potential sponsors.
Alongside the additional revenue from these new deals, UEFA’s FFP regulations will also be in place by then which will further assist Arsenal’s cause. Chelsea and Manchester City won’t be able to spend as freely as they’ve done until now. In fact, City have already started to rein in their finances, targeting younger players with lower wage demands this summer.
When that time comes, Arsene Wenger’s persistence and stubbornness in the face of extreme pressure and criticism will stand vindicated. The new deal will ensure Arsenal’s greatest post-war manager will be around to lead the club into the glory days.
What are your thoughts on Arsene’s contract extension and Vivek’s writing?