For over a decade Arsenal were able to boast the most significant earnings advantage in London thanks to the Emirates Stadium. The new home that Arsene Wenger led the Gunners into was a behemoth for match-day earnings. But times have changed, Arsene Wenger has gone , Unai Emery did not work out and Mikel Arteta has joined club with experience of shadowing the best manager in the world at Manchester City but none at the competitive level.
The biggest problem though for Arsenal is not on the pitch but in accountants books – their financial status. Arsenal now find themselves behind both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the latest results from the Deloitte Football Money League, bringing in £392.7million last season. At a time when the age profile of Arsenal’s squad suggests a rebuild is required (Mesut Ozil is 31, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 30 and Alexandre Lacazette turns 29 at the end of the season) , finances seem to be tightening for Arsenal.
It will require exceptional quality in on field / footballing areas for the Gunners – coaching, scouting, analysis and facilities – if they are to overcome the impact that financial shortfall could have on recruitment. Over the summer director Josh Kroenke said in an interview with football.london that the Gunners have “a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget right now”.
The fear among supporters is that if the major investment of that period does not pay off there will inevitably have to a period of financial retrenchment, that top players could be sold off to balance the books. If Arteta can somehow squeeze Arsenal back into the Champions League then there is hope. The relative decline of Arsenal is a direct result of not participating in the competition for a second consecutive season. That means the gap can be bridged through on-field success and in Arteta the Gunners look to have a coach who could bring improvements in this department in the long-term.
However, the question is how many more years of short-term pain away from the Champions League can Arsenal manage in the meantime.