Unai Emery needs to spend now and he needs to spend big - but will Arsenal let him?

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 18 July 2019, 11:12

Josh Kroenke is a nugget.

As the chairman of the Denver Nuggets basketball team he would be only too happy to admit that.

Yet it could also apply to his response after frustrated Arsenal fans wrote him an open letter as years of underachieving and underinvestment comes to the boil in a summer of turmoil.

Even as Arsenal’s youngest director he cannot claim immunity from the rashness of his latest statement in which he insists that ‘we want to win’.

Yet he goes on with his heartfelt, though completely out of touch reply, to cries that Arsenal are falling further and further behind their rivals by revealing ‘we are looking for the next big thing’.

Thereby admitting at a stroke that there will be no big spend this summer and that manager Unai Emery will be looking for bargains or young rough diamonds to polish ultimately into gems.

Probably not what Emery wants to hear and certainly not what the Arsenal fans want to hear.

Last season Arsenal and Manchester United were derided as pale shadows of their former selves.

Once the two biggest clubs in the land by a long stretch they were habitually humiliated and humbled and left standing in the race for the coveted top four finish and Champions League football.

When first team boss Emery sat shellshocked in the press conference room of Baku’s Olympic Stadium having just seen his team outclassed by Chelsea in the Europa League final, he tried to swerve the issue that another failure would affect the transfer market.

Another year of Europa League football is hardly a great advert to lure in the big signings.

Yet even though Manchester United have suffered the same fate, they are pulling out all the stops to bust the British transfer record for a defender with their £80 million pursuit of Harry Maguire.

Whether that makes good economic or football sense or not, it is what the fans what to see.

In this day and age, one bad season demands massive investment to bring the good times back.

Clubs simply cannot get away with long-term restructuring the way Wenger did in his dynasty-build at Arsenal back in the 1990s. Modern football and the cash-soaked crazed TV and internet fanbase simply won’t allow it.

It only whips up the frustrated fervour to read that Arsenal’s new signing, £6 million teenager Gabriel Martinelli, scored in the pre-season friendly win over Colorado Rapids.

That’s a £74 million difference in outlay between them and Manchester United but it says volumes more about the outlook of each club.

Arsenal’s approach is noble and really should be admired if it is aimed at gradually constructing a squad fit for purpose with stellar names combined with workhorses who will become the backbone of another domination of English football in the mould of Wenger’s famous Invincibles.

Sadly, reality bites in 2019 and there is no more time left to work on piecing together a solid, dependable bunch of players.

Especially as even the hated neighbours Tottenham just up the road in North London have just blitzed their spending record too with more than £70m spent on Tanguy Ndombele.

And particularly as Arsenal are already condemned to a third successive year of second-tier European football.

Emery needs to spend now and he needs to spend big. This is a crunch year for him.

It’s second season syndrome for the man who had an incredibly tough job taking over from Wenger last summer.

Last season he had an excuse for failing. This season will be a more close inspection of his abilities but also of the forward ambition of the people above him at Arsenal.

Emery says he is ‘confident’ three or four new players will arrive ‘soon’. That’s way too vague.

Like Arsenal’s transfer policy, the fans aren’t buying it.

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Phil Parkinson
Phil Parkinson
(Bolton Wanderers)
21st August
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