Let me preface the rest of this opinion-piece by saying: I am an Arsenal fan. Now let’s begin.

Throughout the noughties, Arsenal fans have been largely treated to the rhetoric that Arsenal don’t spend money on transfers, they make money on transfers. This has been evident from the dismantling of the Invincibles squad to pay for the Emirates stadium, or in the years that followed by high-profile moves of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie for one reason or another.


In more recent years though, Arsenal have had the money to spend, and I would argue around 50% of those have turned out to be shrewd or inspired signings. For every Ozil, there’s an Andre Santos – for every Cazorla, we’ve seen a Park Chu-Young join and then leave in quick succession.

I find it odd then, that now we have seen a couple of superstar signings in Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, that a large portion of the Arsenal fan-base now expect these types of signings every year in order to replace the current first team squad. You see the following reasoning being used “Well, we’ve got the money now so why don’t we spend it?”

Let me tell you why. It’s because Arsenal are potentially not even a Top 10 side in Europe, and by extension, the world. PSG, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund maybe even Chelsea and Manchester United in their sorry states are still considered bigger, more illustrious sides than Arsenal when it comes to current stature in the wider footballing world.

Here’s where the delusion really kicks into gear, it’s from the sides listed above that the Arsenal fanbase expect Arsenal to raid for their talent. The likes of Edison Cavani, currently on over £200k a week at Paris Saint Germain is a target often thrown about like he’s an attainable target. Let’s not forget he moved there for €64.5 million, so PSG would expect a hefty fee to accompany those rather large wages if he were to move to Arsenal.

I’ve spoken about this before, so let’s continue with the striker rhetoric for the moment to illustrate my point. At the moment I consider there to be three tiers of strikers worth talking about in Europe. You have the top tier, where the likes of Suarez, Aguero and Lewandowski reside. Arsenal can forget about signing any player of that current ability because more than likely they’re already at a better club.

So let’s look at the second tier of strikers, where you have the likes of Aubemeyang, Dybala, Benzema and Cavani. Would either of those four players I’ve mentioned want to leave their respective clubs at the moment to come and play for Arsenal? No, I don’t think so. Again, they’re all at top clubs, all performing well and so what reason would they have to leave their clubs who’re competing at the highest levels domestically and in Europe in most cases?

Here’s where the penny drops, if you look at the third tier – who I consider to be good young strikers who’re making a name for themselves like Lukaku, Lacazette, Morata and Berardi. These are all players that the Arsenal fanbase don’t have the patience anymore to allow to develop. They want someone who’ll outscore Giroud and Welbeck next season, not in a season or two’s time.

Since when did the Arsenal fanbase have the Manchester ethos of ‘buy success now’? Just because there’s money to spend, and I’ll admit that whilst the squad needs a damn good look at, does that mean we should follow that example and splurge £40-50million on a star name, just because they may be better than what we have now? I’ll forever point to the example of Angel di Maria, a fabulously talented player – completely mismanaged at United and who accrued total transfer fees of over £100million quid between August of 2014, and the following August of 2015?

It’s time to for a lot of the Arsenal fan-base to wake up, and get real. Arsenal, despite the new-found financial muscle, shouldn’t start splashing out on huge transfers ‘just because it’s how you improve a squad these days’. Proven by the purchases of players like Monreal, and more recently Elneny and the promotion of youngsters like Bellerin, Campbell and Iwobi – you don’t need to spend every penny you have. Stop talking like it’s the only way, or you’ll become like the very Chelsea, United and City fans we’ve been taking the piss out of for the last decade.

If I’ve incensed you enough to warrant a reply, please comment below or tweet at @SamJCrawley and I’ll happily debate.


  1. So true… Please don’t spend money and stay forever at third-fourth place not winning any titles and please please dont stop taking the piss on the clubs that win titles 😀

  2. Hi sam how are u well from one arsenal supporter to another thats muck that statement and ill give u a few points we are playing in one of the best stadiums in England we arsenal clowns cause we are all clowns pay the most to watch a bad team lead by a man who has lost the plot but if we got rid of all the bad players on high wages our wage bill would drop we could easily afford wages of messi and half a dozen other world class players and thats whats needed see two or three cant carry the hole team all year but 7 or 8 could now for a small team thats muck 2nd biggest club in England for income behind united top sixth in the world we could afford anyone but wont spend because arsenal plc is a business

  3. Your article is called a lack of ambition. There comes a time when you have to start moving upwards. We are not saying that every purchsde has to be world class, but you do have to address the defeciencies of the team, which are significant at,Arsenal. Look at how many players we could have had over the years. For example take Suarez whom Liverpool paid 18 million for. Sure he is world class today but he wasnt when he went to Liverpool. Areenal dont even want to pay 20 million. Ozil and sanchez were one offs. They will leave if Arsenal are nor ambitious. Wenger does not even use enough of the youth system we hear so much about. They have to make changes and i think it starts at the top.

  4. Your argument makes sense but only because we lack any real ambition. If we had the right type of owner and I don’t mean an Abramovic, we could easily go out and get a Cavani. Higuain is a second tier player, if we had real ambition, we would’ve bagged him years ago. We obviously could/can target first and second tier players, financially speaking, but us rivaling big clubs for players will rarely happen (unless a wonder kid). Also, we are a bigger club than Juve, and Dortmund (financially speaking), we actually do rival these clubs for players much of the time. Also, you’ll never see us raid a Dortmund, Juve or a Napoli etc, even though we could easily turn their players heads ..you already know why you’ll never see it, *ambition.

  5. Comment: kronkoe buy new players if you can’t hand over management to ismanovic, we need good players, if a player can’t perform then rest them and use others in the academy, giroud and Ramsey should rest. buy strikers etc, Wenger stop being stubborn and do what we need

  6. I agree. Arsenal were a good, not great, EPL side when Wenger took over. He raised Arsenal profile to a great EPL side and a good European one. He knew a new stadium was required for the next step and he sacrificed his career for it. Now Arsenal fans are spoilt and think we are Real Madrid. We are not and were never at their level. Wenger made us dream of competing with them. Get real!

  7. I agree that Arsenal fans shouldn’t hope to implement expensive stars for their team to get success. Every once in a while Arsenal should get a world-class player like Ozil or Sanchez. The media speculation and rumors surrounding potential transfers doesn’t help the fact that Arsenal fans believe they will get more superstars. Finishing top 4 each year and in the last 16 of the Champs League puts us near the top and as a fan I feel that Arsenal can take their game to the next level. However, what you fail to acknowledge in your article is Wenger’s lack of addressing simple needs in the transfer window. Wenger fails to spend at all levels. We were the ONLY team in the big five leagues that didn’t buy an outfield player over the summer. A window like that suggests that Arsenal think they are in a place to succeed on all levels without any reinforcements of any kind. Obviously as your article mentions we are not! The fact is that Wenger and Arsenal lack major ambition in the window. We should really spend on some talented players. OR we could just rely on no one getting injured for yet another year. #Wengerthatdoesn’tspendout

  8. if arsenal are not one of the 10 ten clubs in Europe then why do they charge the highest season tickets in all of Europe.. they should change lower prices then to confirm they are not one of the 10 ten clubs in Europe .. Arsenal fans are charged steak prices but given hamburgers and you say accept it? ridiculous

  9. A couple of problems:
    1. Arsenal took the aforementioned Özil and Alexis from “bigger clubs”. These players are available, and can be purchased. Arsenal has enough respect to draw that talent.
    2. Who is their world-class defensive midfielder? Right-wing? Striker? Backup center back? Arsenal is loaded with talent, but these positions lack even that second-tier star. Looking at Wengers moves in the last few windows, it would seem as though he believes we have the top tier stars in these areas.
    This article seems like it was written by Wenger himself. And what I will add to this article that was left out, is that all the teams mentioned as the “spenders” have big shiny trophies sitting on their mantles. And no, I do not count the FA Cup, not when Leichester City is walking away with the Premier League trophy, and Arsenal hasn’t even sniffed around the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 8 years. Who cares about qualifying for it if you aren’t going to spend the money you win, and you don’t even have a chance of winning it?
    If Arsenal showed that ambition and leadership in the market by buying one or two players last summer to improve their glaring deficiencies, they would have a ten point lead in the Premier League right now.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here