The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust has issued a scathing statement assessing the club’s transfer dealings in January, despite the deadline day deal of Nacho Monreal from Malaga.
The Gunners snapped up the Spanish left-back after an injury to Kieran Gibbs had many fearing that scapegoat Andre Santos – who may still be sold – could be set for a prolonged run in the team. However, AST did not feel the club could justify signing only one player given the current league position.
Having weighed up the facts and figures, the trust also came to the conclusion that even if the Gunners reach the Champions League this season, there has been a negligent attitude towards transfers from Arsene Wenger and the board.
The statement read: “The January transfer window is an opportunity for teams to strengthen for the future and provide a boost to the squad for the season run-in.
“Once again, despite poor league form by our own high standards, we see extremely limited activity by Arsenal, who have decided that there is just one player, at a price deemed acceptable, capable of strengthening the first team squad.
“We can only assume this is purely a footballing decision taken by the manager, and that across the squad he feels there were no other options better than the ‘two per position’ he maintains are both important and available to him.
“The fact that there is money available for squad strengthening is not disputed. The AST’s independent analysis suggests that the amount is somewhere between €58m-€82 million. Ivan Gazidis confirmed recently that considerable funds were available to the manager.
“Failure to qualify for the Champions League will cost the club in the region of €35m to €47m in lost revenue in the 2013-14 season, but this will be compensated for by increased TV and commercial monies that are due as well as income from the sale of the Queensland Road site. On this basis the financial ‘hit’ is manageable and the AST does not believe there is any case for the present financial austerity.
“The AST believes that there remain important questions about the way player identification, recruitment and remuneration processes are managed at Arsenal. They seem to be a long way from what would be expected and we intend to raise these issues again with the club.
“Arsenal supporters pay some of the highest ticket prices in world football, providing the club with considerable financial resources but the ambition and ability to use them appear to be missing.
“Continued missed opportunities to strengthen are detrimental to the club and are causing long term damage to the squad’s competitiveness, evidenced by the ever-increasing points gap between Arsenal and the top of the table.
“The AST hopes that Arsenal’s distant owner and its Board are looking at this situation as critically as its supporters.”