With the arrival of PEA, Mislintat, and potentially Sokratis, as well as the football development appointment announced lately, and Ozil’s extension, does this mean we’re adopting a German-esque model? Are we becoming the Dortmund of England, or even to prove Gazidis correct, another Bayern Munich?
Arsenal is a rich club, and is well within the highest-earning clubs in world football. This won’t change soon, despite not being in the Champions League.
However, our owner clearly is not geared towards big money nor large investments.
And we whilst possess great financial power, we’re not as cash ready as City, United, or Real Madrid, PSG, and Barca.
So to compete, we need a different tack. It seems Gazidis has realised this, hence the different approach in recruitment and executive positions.
We cannot spend £200m on Neymar, or £300m in a window like City, or successful world records like Real Madrid have. It’s fair then twe need a unique direction.
Compared to the other top six, it seems that we’re at some disadvantage compared to others:
- Man City has Qatar/state backed financing
- Man United is a huge commercial cash cow
- Spurs’s finances will be close to ours soon, if only due to their new stadium
- Liverpool’s finances will increase due to its Champions League form
- Chelsea may have finished 5th and won the FA Cup. However, they are still a global name as much as we are, and they could hold a revival even if the stadium plans will take a knock
With this new paradigm, one can see why the club is taking a different and novel stance.
Germany needs to be different
The Bundesliga doesn’t have the marketing scope of our Premier League, and its clubs clearly need a different approach to compete. Even Bayern, by far the biggest club in the country, cannot compete exactly like other big world clubs.
This is why many German clubs, even Bayern to some degree, rely on strong youth talent and the development and the selling of these players to other clubs. We have the PL TV deal, and a global brand to build off. Dortmund is a respected club globally, but not on our level in terms of awareness or stature, so they need to be creative in how they do things.
It seems we’re looking to replicate this, naturally, and also within our different financial context. Yes, we’re not a poor club. We haven’t really been in relative terms for many decades. Though sometimes in life, it’s good to look at how others do things and try to replicate and do it better.
Dortmund, or Schalke’s model, cannot work for us exactly. But we’re looking to get it to mesh into our context.
Just as Bundesliga clubs need to be different, we should be commended to some degree in recognising the contexts around us and adapting accordingly. If anything, the dominance of Bayern precludes Germany from having the Premier League’s TV deal, or an equivalent to it. It may have missed the boat in this, given the PL has had years’ headstart.
With Mislintat though, he has a record of getting top talent to compete at elite levels. Dortmund, whilst a big club which has achieved things we never have (Champions League), is not financially geared like Bayern, or even ourselves. But then Dortmund has been an example of how to compete at a high level, and by being savvy and not splashing the cash.
We’re recognising our context, and seeing how to navigate effectively.
It seems also that this is following our traditions of being a novel club. Chapman, Graham, and Wenger, all succeeded in differing ways in pushing the envelope and pioneering.
Are we doing the same here? Possibly. Few other large English clubs operate in a similar model. The closest possibly were Spurs and Chelsea, though there now are no prominent executives to whom they report transfer targets. Both hold a CEO who handles this (Gavaskia and Levy), whilst Liverpool ditched their infamous transfer committee. Man United still have Woodward as their Executive CEO, and he has stepped up his game somewhat in transfer acquisitions. However, our model is fairly unique as it stands currently.
Gazidis, in his official announcement of Wenger’s departure, did say that the club intended to be bold in its strategy, and it seems we’re doing this.
We’re realising we need to be creative in how we do things and are seeing that Germany is a template we can model ourselves off. And with a head coach who is suited to strong coaching and meticulous attention, we will see how well this new model can work. In a way, it’s good since Emery can pay full attention to squad development, and not worry about agents and transfers. He can thus get the players their USB thumb drives, and call out those who have not watched them.
So we have the template, as in clubs in other countries who compete via development and a unique mix of experience and youth. Will our model work? Nobody can say. However, we demanded change, and we’ve got it. Let’s see how it operates now.
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