Pre-tax Profit: £56m
Wage Spend: £110.7m
Net Transfer Spend: -£15.8m (Transfers below)
Current UEFA Financial Fair Status: Pass
Patience is wearing thin amongst the majority of the Gunners faithful with many fans now openly questioning Arsène Wenger’s decisions and some even calling for his head. Whilst one can understand these supporters’ frustrations, this outlook is a little extreme from my perspective. Yes, the club has not won a trophy in six seasons but nobody could argue that that the they were not competing during this period. Yes, Wenger has been stubborn in his transfer policy but his side are one of the only a handful of sides in the league that play football as it should be played (a dying practice based on the recent Copa America).
At the time of writing it seems likely that Arsenal are about to lose Cesc Fàbregas, Samir Nasri, Nicklas Bendtner and Emmanuel Eboué for combined fees of £75m. The loss of star performers and top class players akin to Fàbregas and Nasri will rile Wenger but it was the right thing to do under the circumstances. He can take heart in the fact that no player he has ever sold during his Arsenal tenure has excelled in leaving Highbury or the Emirates. Wenger gets the best out of players and he now has the challenge of doing the same with their replacements.
There has been talk from many quarters that Arsenal “need” a goalkeeper. In the past this was certainly right as Almunia flapped from one blunder to the next. This is no longer the case as Wojciech Szczęsny came of age at the end of last season. The young Polish number 1 showed his undoubted talent, commanding presence and winning attitude in a series of imposing displays. Having seen both he and David De Gea live last season, it was definitely Szczęsny that looked the more impressive. Gooners will be hopeful that the club sign at least one commanding centre back to deal with the side’s aerial fragility. Arsenal conceded less goals in open play than any other Premier League side last season but really struggled when it came to set pieces. A top class penetrative central midfielder such as Juan Mata or Mario Götze is required to fill the void left by the impending departures along with a robust ball winning player with some bite to cover for Alex Song.
The reality is that if Arsène Wenger’s late flurry in the transfer market is successful that the club will still be able to compete in every competition this season. People forget the talent that Wenger already has at his disposal. Tomas Rosicky and Scott Gibbs have looked extremely promising in pre-season. Having world class players such as Thomas Vermaelen and Robin Van Persie back fit again is sure to give the club a major boost. Don’t write the Arsenal off just yet.
Best bet: Robin Van Persie to be top scorer in Premier League, 10-1 with William Hill. Van Persie bagged 19 goals in the final 18 games of last season. He has looked extremely sharp in pre-season and is a certain starter up front (and is the penalty taker) in the side that creates more chances than any other in the division. The only concern is Van Persie’s fitness as he yet to complete a full campaign due to injury in recent seasons.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton £12.1m
Gervinho from Lille £10.6m
Carl Jenkinson from Charlton £1m
Gaël Clichy to Man City £6.8m
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas to Ipswich £1.1m
Mark Randall to Chesterfield Free
Pedro Botelho to Rayo Vallecano Loan
Denílson to São Paulo Loan
Jens Lehmann Retired