Dybala to Arsenal transfer BACK ON through Usmanov

Just a few days after the Arsenal press conference when Arsene Wenger was asked about and denied his attempts to complete the summer transfer of Paulo Dybala from the Serie A club Palermo, there is a new development in the long running saga.

Metro are reporting that the deal could be on after all, with the Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov apparently taking it on himself to thrash out the details of a possible move with Palermo´s eccentric and outspoken chairman.

Arsenal fans have long been calling for the Arsenal board to allow the billionaire Russian to have more say in the running of the club or at least a place on the board as he is the second biggest shareholder after Stan Kroenke and seems willing and actually keen to put some of his own money in to strengthen the squad.

But will his influence have any effect and help Arsenal to get this very promising and highly thought of young striker?

Silent Stan speaks out on Arsenal and Wenger

Stan Kroenke is often labelled as silent Stan because of his seemingly ‘little’ involvement with Arsenal, despite being the club’s majority shareholder. Rarely attending games as well as the usual frequent meetings, if you have a question for Mr Kroenke then its perhaps more difficult than you may have first thought to get hold of him. However he was in attendance for this year’s annual general meeting (AGM) and was able to shed some light on what was going on at the club.

Arsenal fans have been left more than happy so far this season, with the signing of Mesut Ozil as well as the high performing Gunners team that have taken the club to the crown of the league. It’s a different story as to whether or not we will be there in May 2014, however ultimately for now the times are certainly positive for Arsenal and the team can continue the standard it’s been playing at, then I don’t think we will have any problem with at least posing a serious challenge for a trophy this season.

Stan Kroenke seems to agree and the American businessman was on hand to say:
“We are pleased with the progress of the club, most importantly progress on the pitch. None of us up here [on the board], fans, players, or Arsene [Wenger] are happy until we have won trophies, we have said that over again and are committed to that. It is also important for the club to be successful commercially, and we are pleased with that. We have come a long way, with the debt being paid down, commercial revenues are increasing. We have more [deals] coming and are confident. However, nothing works unless we have success on the pitch.”

Unfortunately his remark about the deals probably doesn’t mean incoming transfers for January however what it will mean is further sponsorship, which if secured could be very beneficial in investing in some more fantastic football players for this club to show off.

The statement on Wenger suggests that as many seem to think, Le Prof won’t retire from his position until he reclaims glory with the Gunners, whilst the players are getting some praise. It’s rare that an Arsenal fan is happy to hear from Stan Kroenke however for once I think we can all remain positive about the way Arsenal football club is moving forward.

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Arsenal Football Club has today confirmed that it has once again made a profit the season of 2012 / 2013, in some news that will surely be received with mixed responses. Firstly without getting into all the financial details, basically at the end of day, the main figure we need to focus on as fans is the ‘Group profit before tax’ which was £6.7 million. This isn’t the most spectacular figure in the club’s history, with the amount actually being £36.6 million in the 2011 / 2012 accounting.

The sheer drop in amount is largely down to the fact that we had so many ‘deadwood’ players on our wage bill, which with some simple calculation came to the excess of around an extra £400k per week because of these players. It’s a staggering amount and it is in fact very strange to hear from a club of Arsenal’s calibre who are normally so financially tight, however it should no longer be such an issue because as I’m sure you are all aware, Arsenal managed to ship out the majority of deadwood one way or another this summer.

For full details on the finances of Arsenal Football Club for the 2013 accounting, they can be found at Arsenal.com.
One man that was particularly happy, aside from Wenger and Gazidis of course was new chairman Sir Chips Keswick, who was extremely proud of the club’s stability.

Sir Chips stated: “It is my job to ensure we steer further along the course we have set. We must continue to grow commercially to provide the Club with the best opportunity to achieve success and we must do this in a way which remains true to our values and which ensures and protects the long-term sustainability of the Club. We face a competitive landscape across the top of the Premier League and across Europe’s elite clubs which is tougher than ever. Despite fair play initiatives the financial competition for top players remains intense and transfer prices and player wages continue to move ever higher. It is therefore positive that the strong financial platform we have created in recent years allows us to continue to be competitive at the highest level.”

It’s good to see someone on the Arsenal management being so open with the club’s progression, and although I suspect it’s all just talk, I have confidence that this club will now continue in this direction now that most of the expenses have been paid off. Of course we still have Silent Stan Kroenke and other such management still crucial to our success but hopefully this news will be the first of many less profitable seasons and more efficiently spent summers.

Have Arsenal turned the corner? Will we keep making big signings like Ozil? Who do you think they should be?

Hill-Wood may be happy with Chips but Arsenal need Champagne and Caviar

When Peter Hill Wood stepped down in the summer it was certainly a shame as it brought an end to a long serving history in the chairmanship of Arsenal Football Club. The Hill-Wood’s had been a key part of Arsenal’s boardroom for several generations and to finally bring it to a close seemed strange. But it was also a much wanted change with many believing that a change in the boardroom might mean a change in attitude.

Hill-Wood was happy to hand the role over to Sir Chips Keswick and we immediately knew that there would be no change. We knew Chips was as stingy as Hill Wood and so ultimately we weren’t expecting anything to be run differently aside from being under a new name. And well over 2 months in and that fact is certainly beginning to gather some evidence.

“We couldn’t have a better man at the helm than Chips, he’s absolutely first-class,” Hill-Wood said in an interview with the club’s official website. “There are huge sums of money involved in football now and Chips certainly understands the world of finances better than most – he was a director of the Bank of England and has worked in finance all his life. He has a very good grasp.”

I think the problem is our boardroom is filled with an old generation. A generation where money in football was nothing. They have experienced a time when professional football was a job on the side, and that from football you were never likely to even reach the heights of what players now earn in a day, for what they would earn over the course of their career. Therefore the change in attitude towards money in football has meant they are protective over it. Stan Kroenke doesn’t exactly help the situation but I think that if you want to see a change in how the club is actually run behind the scenes, i.e. not like a business, then you need to switch up the boardroom and bringing in some younger but still highly experienced people with a genuine passion for the game, rather than the money.

Lastly employing a former banker wasn’t the best choice was it? Bankers are all about saving money rather than investing in potentials, maybe he should let Wenger take out a bigger loan!

Adams as Arsenal chairman? Maybe not but Chips IS too old

Tony Adams. What can you say? A true Arsenal legend, captain, leader and role model on the pitch, but off it, well he’s not the greatest. Failed managerial attempts have seen his profile drop and in my opinion he certainly hasn’t helped himself with his latest comments.

Upon the announcement that Peter Hill-Wood would be stepping down and his replacement would be Sir Chips Keswick, Adams came out in response today, stating that he too applied for the chairmanship.

In what turned into a rather long rant, Adams said; “I don`t need the money, I would put the good of the club first in every case and I could mediate well within the club. Then I read an interview with Peter saying they wanted younger blood on the board but it was not easy finding people willing to take on second jobs who were not money-orientated. I thought I ticked boxes, so I wrote to Peter and said ‘I`ve got a statue outside and I know a bit about the club`s principles and values`. I didn`t hear anything back, which was unusual for Peter, but I know he has been ill.

“But if they just wanted a figurehead, they should have gone for me. I think it would have been a better visionary decision than Chips, even though I love him to bits. But maybe the owner thinks that Chips is better politically than me. He was probably the only one who spoke to the 30 per cent owner of the club Alisher Usmanov and was good at reaching out. But if Chips wants to pick up the phone, I will be happy to have lunch with him.”

First and foremost, I’m not slating Adams in any way. I think he was an excellent role model and still is in some ways and the fact he has a statue outside the Emirates, tells you all you need to know of how highly rated he is at the club. However clearly not high enough to gather a place on the board.

I am actually torn between Adam’s comments. I think the club made the right decision not to take his application into serious consideration because ultimately he isn’t the right person for the role. However I also believe it should be someone younger than Keswick. Keswick’s appointment was purposely chosen by Silent Stan because it will mean there is little change to the way the club is run.

Adam’s was basically stating he believes Arsenal need a new driving force to take them back up to the next level and Sir Chips certainly isn’t the answer. At 73 he will have the same business mentality as Peter Hill Wood and so don’t expect any real change at Arsenal under this new chairmanship.

Arsenal lucky to have Kroenke says Gazidis

All of you Arsenal fans out there who have been wanting the club to spend money over the last few years, and not sell off the crown jewels like Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Ashley Cole and Samir Nasri while we were at it, have got it all wrong, according to the Arsenal chief executive.

Ivan Gazidis met with hundreds of Arsenal supporters at the Emirates last night to answer questions about the way the club is run and the plans for the future. Not surprisingly, quite a few of the questions centred on transfer money and trophies. Strangely enough, that seems to be quite important to the fans, so Gazidis assured us that there is plenty of money to spend this summer, although he did qualify that with familiar strains of there being a lack of `top, top` players available.

Also, the fans who would like an owner who puts money into the club to ensure success and seems genuinely interested in winning things have got it wrong. What you really need is a bloke you never see who has nothing to do with the club.

“We are fortunate that he doesn’t treat the club as his own personal fiefdom,” said Gazidis. “as a reflection of his ego and as a personal playground.

“We haven’t seen a lot of the negatives that come with much of the ownership around the world. We feel our ownership situation is healthy and sustainable.”

Gazidis also insisted that Kroenke does not take any money out of the club, fow which I suppose we should be thankful. He has seen the value of his stake almost double by building the Emirates stadium and with the huge increase in TV and sponsorship deals for the Premier League’s big clubs though, so he is not exactly running a charity. If his policy does start to bring success, great. If not, there will be a lot more fans complaining, and doing it a lot more vocally.

Is Arsenal board really ready to back Wenger to glory?

The chief executive of Arsenal Football Club has made a statement about the finance and future goals of the Gunners and it sounds great. A lot of Gooners will be less than over the moon about his words, though, because we have had our hopes dashed before.

“It is important to reiterate that for everyone at the club, qualification for the Champions League is not our ultimate ambition,” Ivan Gazidis told Arsenal.com.

“Our majority owner Mr. Kroenke has made it clear that, while it’s an achievement to make the Champions League, our ultimate objective is to win the major trophies.

“We all share that clear ambition and will be driving the club forward to achieve it.

“Arsene and I have already been planning what we need to do to strengthen so we are better placed next season.

“One thing is certain; the club is in a very strong position to move forward, and our form of losing just one of our last 16 Premier League matches shows that we have a solid foundation on which to build for success.”

I think that this time may be different, what with the debt from the Emirates stadium no longer holding us back, great new sponsorship deals being announced and the bumper new TV package coming to the Premier League. Like most Arsenal fans, however, I will believe it when I see it. We are told about a theoretical pot of £70 million, but not officially. We do not know whether that is for transfer fees alone or if future wages will be factored in.

Neither do we know if the club are going to stick with the wage structure and this has caused problems for us before. Wenger has spoken of `top, top` players, but Arsenal do not pay top wages. We also seem to pay the squad players more than other teams, so the best performers are not rewarded accordingly.

What would be fantastic is if the club, for once, extended itself a little. A bit of extra money made available to Wenger this summer, maybe boosting the kitty to £100 million would surely be paid back with a trophy or a longer run in the Champions League. It would be great for Kroenke to reward Wenger for his eight years of miracle work on a shoestring by giving him a really good chance of winning the title. But what are the chances of that?

Wenger preparing Arsenal fans for more transfer disappointment?

Today is a great day for Arsenal fans. We can finally relax after another tense season ended in the Gunners finishing in the Champions League (again) and above Tottenham (again). So we can happily taunt the spuds while looking forward to bigger and better things at the Emirates, can’t we?

The crippling debt is out of the way, so we are told, and Wenger will have a big transfer war chest to spend, so it is rumoured. So why have a got a small kernel of concern inside me? Arsene Wenger didn’t help in his post-match interview. He was asked about whether the club would now kick on and spend the money on the quality players needed to challenge for the title again and the Frenchman was a little less enthusiastic than he should have been.

“We need stability and to strengthen. Is it spending a lot on one player or buying many players?” said Wenger.

“We want additions but we want to keep the structure and spirit and quality of the team.

“Let’s not forget there are many clubs with big money and not enough talent to strengthen all the teams. But we will go out in a proactive way.”

That, to me, does not sound like a man who expects to be making some `top, top` signings this summer. However, Wenger is known for playing his cards extremely close to his chest, especially in transfer dealings. Hopefully he is just being cautious before announcing his acquisitions. But Kroenke and the board are tighter than a door seal on a submarine.

Maybe it is just me, maybe I am so used to disappointment in transfer windows that I am struggling to be optimistic. It is true that there will be lots of teams in the process of changing and rebuilding this summer and Wenger and his staff are going to have to work hard to achieve their targets. Will Arsenal really get the big players we need?

Usmanov attacks Arsenal owner Kroenke

Despite owning nearly 30 percent of Arsenal Football Club, the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov cannot get a seat on the board and so cannot influence the running of the club nearly as much as he would like. Stan Kroenke, the American businessman who has more say than anyone because of his controlling stake, has come under attack again from Usmanov, who is convinced that silent Stan is not doing the right thing.

Usmanov suggested, as have many Arsenal fans, that Kroenke has little or no ambition to win things with Arsenal. He feels that the American is happy to leave things as they are with the team just getting into the Champions League every season. He seems as frustrated as most of us about the policy that has seen Arsenal selling the best players year after year.

“The team has no superstars now,” declared the Russian tycoon.

Although many would like Usmanov to takeover, he cannot do so unless Kroenke is willing to sell his shares. There were rumours of a possible takeover bid earlier this year, but it appears that Kroenke would dig his heels in and reject a good offer. This must be frustrating for Usmanov, but he has declared his intention to stick with Arsenal anyway.

“In our understanding,” he continued, “Kroenke has no plans to sell his stake, but we also won’t sell out, because we are the team’s fans.”

It seems incredible that Usmanov has money he is desperate to invest in the Gunners in order to make us successful, but he cannot. The Glazer family may have saddled Man United with debt, but at least they make sure Ferguson has the money to strengthen the squad every year. I’m not sure that Kroenke realises that the whole point in football is to win if you can.