Arsenal: 5 Changes New Ownership Could Make at the Club
Nevertheless, most would agree that the current majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, is not the best man to lead Arsenal forward into a prosperous and trophy-filled future. At times, the only thing that seems to be less active than the American's mouth is his checkbook.
As Kroenke watches the Gunners finish their eighth consecutive season without a major trophy, and possibly the first outside the top four during Arsene Wenger's reign, let's look at five changes a new owner could make at the club if he or she swooped in now.
Invest in New Players
It is no secret that Arsenal have not poured nearly as much money into the transfer market as fans would have liked in recent seasons. This past January exemplified supporters' discontent, as a relatively toothless attack was neglected and Nacho Monreal was only signed at the last minute.
A new owner would not need millions of pounds in his personal account to finance purchases; he or she would only have to be more willing to use the money that Arsenal already has in the bank.
With the profits that the club has accumulated through player sales and sky high ticket prices, there is ample fuel in the tank.
Even if Arsenal finish in the top four this season, they really need a signing who, like Dennis Bergkamp in 1995, can revitalize the club and give it credibility as a championship contender once again.
Invest in Current Players
During the 2010-11 season, Arsenal were legitimate contenders for the Premier League title until a shaky defense betrayed them at the end of the season.
Now all the best members of that team, except Jack Wilshere, are playing for other upper-echelon clubs.
Samir Nasri left for more money at Manchester City, Cesc Fabregas returned home to Barcelona and Robin van Persie...well, we don't really need to revisit that one again.
The point is that Arsenal continue to lose their best players every summer. As their contracts wind down, they begin to hit their primes and thus angle for more money.
While it is very encouraging that Theo Walcott has signed on, Bacary Sagna only has one year remaining on his contract, and his consistency and defensive stability at right-back are crucial to the team. Considering that he is only 30 years old, it would be insane to only offer him a one-year extension.
It is impossible to maintain a veneer of ambition when you are letting your best and most experienced players leave season after season.
Lower Ticket Prices
According to The BBC, Arsenal charge the most for both a ticket to a single game (£126) and a season ticket (£1,955).
Considering the difficult times in which we live, those are difficult figures to justify. But every club levies extortionate fees on its fans. The Arsenal faithful would be able to stomach the prices they have to pay if the product on the field was better than its mediocre status quo.
Again, we return to the issue of investing in the team.
Supporters have been voicing their opinions this season with their feet; many games have seen visible holes in usually packed stands.
For a club like Arsenal, which spent so much money to build a 60,000-seat stadium, that is unacceptable.
Push Out Some Members of the Board
Because I am to privy to information about how Arsenal is run, it is difficult to comment on how much of Arsenal's present dysfunction is down to the manager, the owner or the Board of Directors.
But if you have a look at Arsenal's Board, it is clear that some fresh faces could be of use.
Still not convinced? Just look at the team's results. Ultimately, the Board controls the club's finances and sanctions any large transaction—like, say, a transfer.
It is pretty clear that the squad has been performing below the previously expected standard of contending for a championship for several seasons running. Who else should take most of the blame for refusing to dip into the transfer market to bring new faces onto a mediocre team?
The Board. And there should be some new faces there, too.
Find a New Manager
Let me reiterate: I do not think that Arsene Wenger should be sacked or forced to step down from his post as Arsenal's manager after this season.
But the sage Frenchman's contract expires at the end of next season, and it should be his last with the club.
I have the utmost respect for Wenger, his vast body of football knowledge and the historic things he has achieved with Arsenal throughout the years. It is also important to not change one's opinion of the manager after every positive or negative result, as too many do.
But he must bear a significant part of the blame for Arsenal's decline in recent years.
We will never know how much of the club's barren run is due to the board's malaise, the emergence of Stan Kroenke or the absence of David Dein. However, Wenger's time would have long been up at any other club, and it is time for him to depart with the appropriate grace and respect.
And when he is gone, the owner must think long and hard about who will replace the great Arsene.