Arsenal FC: Can Stan Kroenke Takeover Translate into Trophies?
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After enduring five (most likely six in the not so distant future) trophy-less seasons, Arsenal FC's board has finally succumbed to the inevitable by allowing an American businessman to take control of the club.
However, unlike the hit-and-miss American owners of clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool, Arsenal's new owner, Stan Kroenke, has a great pedigree of sports club ownership in the USA.
Another thing that Kroenke has been smart about is that he has bided his time, while gaining the confidence of not only the Arsenal board, but also its fans, and most importantly, of it's most famous personality, i.e. manager Arsene Wenger.
People who are well aware of Arsene Wenger's stubborn streak know that gaining his trust for such a move is an achievement in itself.
Kroenke's takeover may just end up being the sort of panacea that a club like Arsenal needs.
Many a time during the last six seasons, Arsenal FC has been on the fringe of winning its first trophy a number of times since shifting to the Emirates Stadium, but crossing that final hurdle has been a step too far for Arsene Wenger's young brigade. So when disappointment after disappointment accumulates over the years, it would seem that change (of any kind, for that matter) is good.
While the club's fan base remains divided on Arsene Wenger's future, despite the standard rallying cry of "In Arsene We Trust", it is possibly this change at the very top that could end up bringing the best out of Wenger in terms of transfer market dealings.
Ever since David Dein's departure, Arsene Wenger has been on his own in terms of transfer dealings and has maybe missed out on some key opportunities to seal the cracks in the club's squad.
David Dein and Arsene Wenger made a great tag team when it came to bringing exceptional talent to Arsenal FC, with Wenger identifying the player he coveted and Dein delivering in terms of the most economically possible pricing.
Maybe after all these years, it should not seem coincidental that Dein's departure and Arsenal's trophy drought have a strong correlation.
As mentioned earlier, Stan Kroenke is an American businessman with a sports pedigree, which makes him much more knowledgeable than some of the other foreign owners who have tried their luck in the Barclays Premier League.
He owns sports teams in almost all of the USA's major sports leagues with personal or family stakes in the Colorado Avalanche (NHL), Denver Nuggets (NBA), St. Louis Rams (NFL) and Colorado Rapids (MLS).
Can Stan Kroenke's takeover be the key to unlocking the trophy cabinet?
It may not be relevant to a club of Arsenal's stature, but Stan Kroenke has already experienced a trophy-winning season in football (soccer) with the Colorado Rapids.
Apart from this, the Colorado Avalanche and the St. Louis Rams have experienced championship glory, with the Denver Nuggets coming close two years ago. This shows that Kroenke is not only likely to run Arsenal FC like a for-profit business venture, but he also knows the value of championship winning teams.
With Kroenke and his representatives now likely to be in majority on Arsenal FC's board, it would perhaps be easier for Arsene Wenger to concentrate more on the footballing side of things, while leaving the economics to them.
It is no secret that Arsenal are lacking in depth in central defence, while also requiring a world-class goalkeeper. Secondary needs may include a suitable replacement for Cesc Fabregas when he ultimately leaves for Barcelona, a potent striker who doesn't get injured as often as Robin Van Persie, and adequate cover for Alex Song in defensive midfield.
One would imagine that this change of ownership could ultimately take pressure off Wenger, in terms of worrying about balancing the books. It is also likely that he could show the world that a trophy can be won his way, with a few tweaks here and there, before his contract runs out in 2014.
Wenger's first job in the summer is likely to be to ensure that Cesc Fabregas avoids Barcelona's advances once again, and sticks it out with him for at least another year.
But for that to happen, Wenger will have to swallow some of his pride and make those final moves for two strong central defenders and a world-class goalkeeper.
This would not only help in putting the fans' unrest to rest, but will also show Fabregas that the new ownership has revitalized Wenger's hunger for crafting a championship caliber team.
Even if Cesc Fabregas insists on leaving, despite Barcelona apparently not needing him at the moment, the transfer fees could be used for recruiting a more than suitable replacement. It could possibly be someone like Wesley Sneijder, Bastian Schweinsteiger or even someone like Mesut Ozil, with Samir Nasri then being moved to the middle.
The key to unlocking Wenger's stubbornness in spending a few million pounds over and above his own personal valuation of a player could well lie in the hands of Stan Kroenke.
Kroenke's experience has partnered him with several types of coaches and managers, and he will have to bring all that experience to the table if he is to develop a David Dein type of persona of himself in Wenger's mind.
It seems unlikely that this change in ownership could have come without any strings attached, and there will be targets for both owner and manager to meet.
However, that extra push that Wenger might need in order to meet those trophy targets could come from the boardroom, as it is only a matter of getting the right players, and dare I say, the right medical staff as well, as Arsenal's players are extraordinarily more prone to injury.
This, combined with Wenger's over-reliance on a set playing 11, leads to disastrous consequences when the likes of Squillaci in central defense, and a 41-year-old Jens Lehman in goal, don the first-team shirt in key games down the home stretch.
With new resolve likely coming in the boardroom, it is expected that new steely resolve would also be brought on to the football pitch for Arsenal FC in the form of an improved defensive core, in order to enable the budding football artistes down the pitch to perform their offensive duties without the worries of a wobble at the back.
Thus, it seems that Arsenal fans should gear up for an exciting next two to three years where all those missing qualities are likely to be addressed in order to gain that first major trophy since the club's move to its symbol of success, i.e. the Emirates Stadium.
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