Thursday, 23 February 2012

Kroenke's PR spin on £100m transfer war chest -AOC banned from photoshoot

Morning Gooners.

If there are weeks when we as Arsenal fans need something to feel positive about, it is generally after a defeat. We've needed a pick-me-up following back to back defeats which has seen us eliminated from one competition and all but shoved through the exit door in another.

And in a week when your fiercest rival has been revealed as the new owner of the historic shares held in Arsenal by Glasgow Rangers FC, Stan Kroenke needs something to show supporters he cares about the one "franchise" which isn't doing too well at the moment.

Since the AGM when the majority shareholder stated that we'd be seeing a lot more of him in London, he's yet to watch an Arsenal game at the home of football. How committed does that make him to the cause?

And as he prepares for today's club board meeting, news trickles out through the Daily Telegraph that more than £100m of club funds are going to be made available to Arsene Wenger to rebuild the squad in the summer - double what is already available to the manager in the transfer proceeds account (TPA).

No where does it mention where this extra £50m is coming from. Is it coming from Kroenke as a loan? Is he pumping his own personal fortune into the club? Are season tickets set to rise again to pay to double the transfer kitty?

To me it reeks of PR spin on Kroenke's part. We still don't know what vision he has for the club. We still don't know what he wants us to achieve on the pitch each season. What we do know is that he is a great fan of the self sustaining financial model the club has been using which has meant he's not had to plough a penny of his own money into Arsenal since he brought into the club.

Will Arsene Wenger spend £100m on players either through the transfer market or by improving the contracts of those players who actually deserved to be paid a lot better than they are at the moment? I doubt the manager will do the first and is unlikely to do the second, considering he's always been keen on ensuring that there is no huge gaps in the squad between the highest earners and normal squad players.

And personally I don't believe the squad needs a huge overhaul. What it does need is more quality. We've seen that since Cesc Fabregas departed last summer, the team has lacked something. Now we're not going to be able to go and buy ourselves another Fabregas, because he is a one off. But had Jack Wilshere been fit this season, would we have noticed so much the departure of the said Spaniard?

The first choice 11 on its day can beat anyone. But it's when one or two of those players aren't available and we have to use on the the back ups. They just aren't as good. Even when you look at the bench this season, you can see that there are hardly any players who you think can come on and change a game for us. That is where we're lacking.

But at the moment we are where we are. It's clear our transfer strategy (if we even had one) last summer was flawed. That cannot be allowed to happen again this summer. We have no time to wait until the final days of the window. Our business must be done in a timely manner, especially with the European Championship and Olympics taking place in June and July.

In other news, the Daily Mirror report Arsene Wenger has prevented Alex Oxlade Chamberlain taking part in a photoshot for Disney because the event comes too close to Sunday's north London derby. And in other Ox related news, it's a case of which of the Richard Desmond titles you believe as to whether young Alex will be picked for the senior England side today. The Daily Star say he'll get his first senior call up, while the Daily Express say he'll stay with the under-21s.

Zenit St Petersburg want to sign Andrey Arshavin on loan until the end of the season and have made Arsenal an offer according to their general director Maxim Mitrofanov. The Russian window closes on Friday and I don't think there is any way Wenger will allow Arshavin to move.

And a bit of injury news ahead of Sunday's game. The Sun report Marouane Chamakh is a doubt with a toe injury.

That's it for today. More tomorrow.

Follow Ashburton Grove on Twitter, chatting Arsenal throughout the day. To receive the blog everyday you can subscribe via e-mail or take the RSS feed to your favourite reader.

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