Financial Doping & Arsenal’s Wasteful Splurge

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John W Henry’s famous tweet directed at Arsenal came to mind this week. “What do you think they’re smoking at the Emirates?” he wrote when the London club tried to prise Luis Suarez away from Anfield for £40 million plus £1 a decade ago.

The Gunners may be making FSG’s top dog uncomfortable again. Arsenal’s spending spree is being watched by Liverpool supporters, many of whom are sceptical that Henry will open the purse strings for Jurgen Klopp this summer.

There’s new ambition in north London and they’ve got cash to spread around. They are back in the Champions League after five seasons competing in the Europa League. The club managed to trim their wage bill after the excesses of the tail end of the Arsene Wenger era. Last season, they spent more than £60 million less than Liverpool on salaries. After finishing second in the Premier League in May, they can afford to bring in Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and, probably, a couple more impact players. By the time the window shuts, their spending may well be in excess of £250 million.

What other clubs do should not affect Liverpool but Arsenal’s splurge adds to the feeling that Anfield is falling behind. It’s only natural.

The last thing FSG want is to get involved in financial arms races. One of the reasons the Americans want out of football is their inability and unwillingness to compete with Manchester City. The thought of £250-300 million summers becoming a regular thing fills them with dread. The going rate is climbing year-on-year.

It would be a mistake to be fixated on what other teams do, though. Liverpool have their own strategy and it has proven successful under Klopp. Arsenal are taking a punt. Rice doesn’t strike me as a gamechanger. He does not turn matches and, if you pay more than £100 million, the player needs to strike fear into the opposition. Havetz is lightweight, weak in front of goal and it’s hard to work out his best position.

Like it or not, however, it increases expectations on Fenway.  With no investment on the horizon and no Champions League income, they need to find the money from somewhere. We shouldn’t expect Liverpool to beat Arsenal in the spending table but there’ll be uproar if FSG try to do things on the cheap. This is not the time to skimp on ambition. If that happens, Henry’s reputation will go up in smoke.


City are “confident” they can break the £700 million revenue barrier this season. In other news, a Uefa leaked report said they received £30 million from a broker in the United Arab Emirates who was not one of their sponsors. That happened a decade or so ago. So what?

These days, aside from inflated sponsorships, City are probably pretty clean. After all, winning the Treble should push their earnings toward record levels. Most of the dirty work was done 10 years ago when they were able to build the platform for domination artificially under the noses of Uefa and the Premier League.

What we saw last year were the fruits of breaking the rules. That £30 million looks a piddling amount now but the seeds of last season’s success were being planted and nourished by breaking the rules. Liverpool have suffered the consequences of this financial doping.

There’s little to no chance that City will have their titles taken away even if all of the Premier League’s 115 charges of fiscal irregularities stick. It’s no consolation that Klopp’s feats in pushing City so close and beating them to the title once look more impressive with every passing day.


Will Klopp leave when his contract expires in 2026? Probably. He’ll have done 11 years at Anfield. That’s a long time. He’s always said he wants to go back to Germany. He’ll be 59 in three years, too.

Is it anything to worry about? No. Let’s face it, another campaign like last season would likely send him through the exit door much earlier. He needs a good year for his own personal satisfaction. Klopp feels the weight of the world when things are not going well.

Things change quickly in football and you can never tell what’s going to happen. Don’t look too far ahead and enjoy Jurgen while we’ve got him. And you never know, if he’s enjoying it in three years’ time, he may even fancy another go-around.


Best laugh of the week? Liverpool to pay £250 million for Kylian Mbappe. What are they smoking isn’t even close. Someone must have dropped a shitload of acid.

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  1. Arsenal fan in peace here.
    What the author of this article does not realise is that it took Arteta two years to remove the poor investments made by previous managers – Ozil, Mustafi, Aubameyang and Lacazette to name but a few.
    Moving players on is sometimes a difficult thing but moving players on who are on salaries of £350k a week as in the case of Ozil is nigh on impossible.
    The removal of so much dead wood has hugely reduced our expenditure and now with Champions League football we are very much in a good position to make such investments.
    Yes we let the title slip last season because of the size of our squad in coping with injuries and fatigue but our sound financial management have allowed us to make such investments – I see no reason why Liverpool could not do the same.
    Arsenal are perpetually written off but if you look at where we are, the progress we have made and the players we have I just get the feeling that many of the teams around us would like to be in our position

  2. I`m a Gooner as well but you obviously didn`t read the article properly. The author specifically mentions how we have cut the wage bill under Arteta. You might disagree with him (I do) about our business this summer and I think we`re setting ourselves up as the club most likely to challenge City over the next few years. Hopefully, Guardiola calls it a day in 2 years time and we can fill the void.

  3. Goober here, insightful article. Arsenal have a history of being well run financially, it’s something we as fans are proud of. Brighton are another example of a well run club. I’ve generally considered Liverpool to be a well run Club. All these clubs have one thing in common, one bad transfer window can put these clubs back 5 years. If deccan rice doesn’t come good and we cannot shift him on we are in trouble in midfield. If Liverpools Big money striker can’t hit back of the net they ain’t scoring many goals.

    Man City breaking rules 10 years ago IS an issue a massive one. It’s an issue because we have spent 10 years talking about it! If they are proven to have broken rules all those titles and trophies should be given to the 2nd placed teams. A lengthy ban should also follow for all competitions and expulsion to lower leagues. It has to be made VERY clear cheating in English game will carry Enormous penalties and will not be tolerated. This means the financial penalties associated with cheating have to be severe, such as wiping a clubs income out, nullifying their players contracts. Forcing a reset so to speak. Similar to what Wimbledon/mk dons had to do. Start over clean

  4. Another gooner here too – great read although the headline had me suspecting that author was having a pop at us but then in reading it I saw he was suggesting that it was almost an example for Liverpool to follow; yes there are gambles sometimes to be made in the transfer market and we have seen plenty of clubs strike duds with expensive failings – no one is immune. Arsenal have earned the right to spend big and in getting two players such as Havertz and (still to get over the line) Rice, Arsenal have paid the rate for battle proven Premier League experience – both European trophy winners too.
    The only issue I have with the author is his assertion that that Rice is not a game changer – I mean OK, he will not regularly produce magic in an opponents penalty area, but “game changers” are all over the pitch – whether the shot-stopping exploits of a world class goalkeeper or the control of midfield – they are all game changers in their own way. Rice will do an excellent job.
    @Me – I felt that as the season came to its end it wasn’t so much the squad depth that did for us, it was the quality of the stand-ins. It’s no coincidence that we started leaking goals once Saliba and Partey were injured. Holding got the nod ahead of Kiwior which was logical decision for the manager to take even if in hindsight it was not the right one. The injury to Elneny, Tomiyasu and Zinchenko too reduced options for cover for an injured and exhausted Partey. So it’s quality for me rather than numbers.

  5. They`ll not take City`s titles off them and even if they did, I wouldn`t want The Arse given last seasons league title anyway. They should definitely be expelled from the league though, I`d personally expel them for a minimum of 10 years. They`ve not only cheated their competitors, they`ve cheated every single fan up and down the country who fork out huge sums of dough to follow their team. We`ll see if the PL have got the bollocks to do it. The jocks slung their biggest club down the divisions, even the Italians demoted the perennial cheats Juventus. In this country, we love to talk about fair play, let`s see if the PL really believe in it. Somehow I doubt it.

  6. For clubs without oil wells regular Champions League money is what levels the playing field to some extent. Its benefited Liverpool in recent years and looks like it will now benefit Arsenal. The problem is there’s no guarantee you will qualify every year, as Liverpool have found out. The other way to compete is to be more efficient. If any of the major club’s transfer dealings were as cost effective as Brighton’s they would have a big advantage. So far no one has pulled off that trick. The only other option is other sources of income. I read somewhere that Spur’s new stadium is generating so much cash that their income is likely to be pretty similar to Arsenal’s even though Arsenal are in the Champions League and Spurs not even in Europe. However since no one else has a retractable pitch it unlikely that option can be copied.


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