Arsenal - 'We have got money' says Hill-Wood
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'We have got money' says Hill-Wood

The headlines accompanying yesterdays comments from Hill-Wood, at the opening of the transfer window, have probably met his expectations. 'Arsenal cannot afford to spend big` 'Arsenal won`t be buying` 'Wenger facing funds shortage` and 'Wenger in cash freeze` are all typical of the media response to those comments.

What Hill-Wood said was: "I don`t think there is a lot of money anywhere.

"One has got to look ahead - in the future there is probably not going to be much more money coming in.

"We have got money, but I am not sure we are going to spend a lot of it. We`ve got to continue to run the business in a sensible way. It may sound boring, but we are not going to rush out and spend fortunes on people who won`t help us achieve anything better than where we are at the moment.

"Arsene has a lot of young, talented players at the club and I think he will probably give a chance to one or two of them."

Anyone taking any notice of the published accounts would know that he is right - we do have money - £93m in cash at the end of last season in fact. Sure there is the issue of the property developments to consider but so far there hasn`t been any news that contradicts the bullish statements made at the last AGM. You might think that his statement on transfer spending was designed to lower the expectations of those the club might seek to buy from but anyone dealing with the club on that level would be fairly au fait with the clubs general financial well being. Less than a month ago Wenger declared on the club website "We are also in a strong financial position at the moment."

So if the comments were unlikely to lower expectations amongst those that the club is dealing with maybe the intention is to lower expectations among fans. If so I think that is the wrong tack to take. When it comes to transfers Arsenal fans expectations shouldn`t need lowering. Not for the first time our beloved chairman would have been better served saying nothing if that were his intention.

As to what we will do in the transfer window I think there is one small clue in "… I am not sure we are going to spend a lot of it". So we are going to spend - but not a lot - so no big names then? Now there`s a surprise!

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday January 2 2009

Time: 10:45AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
In toher words we can only spend 40 million?
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 10:48:00

You know we all talk about AW not spending big then transfer windows open. That he doesn’t buy experienced players. We were all wrong and I apologize calling for AW to be sacked. For what Hill-Wood said to day it proves they don’t give AW enough money to buy world-class players. And I think he is forced to use the young players. read carefuly to what he said. "Arsene has a lot of young, talented players at the club and I think he will probably give a chance to one or two of them." They are happy if we finish 4 and reach the CL place. So they can profit some money. I think we should be shouting at the board not AW. anyone agree?
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 10:53:00

I don't think the board are at odds with Wenger in anyway. If he wants to spend the board will back him. Wenger is entirely behind the policy of the club.
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 11:05:00

Good article Amos - Some sites (whose names I shall mention) have read the headlines and instantly started crying about ticket prices and how they're owed superstar players, but what they failed to do is notice the segment which you highlighted. The current economic climate means we are probably a little more strapped for cash than we have been in the past, but as you say we were never gunna sign big money players anyway. I'm still sure we'll get a couple of players but those fans thinking we were gunna get wholesale changes in every position this window will be crying in their cornflakes this morning.
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 13:32:00

**shall not mention
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 13:32:00

I dunno what to think anymore when it comes to Arsenal and money. Only a couple of months ago Danny Fizman said the board would have no problem in letting Wenger spend £30m on one player, now PHW is reported in the morning newspapers saying we haven't got any money! I thought WTF is going on! Now Amos has published what from reading it I believe now is the real transcript of the interview as I don't trust the media but I trust Amos. As you say the cash available is £93m then PHW could be right. Spending £20m on a couple of players wouldn't be that much! lol!
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 14:31:00 Wenger seems to be following PHWs line in this article. He's broadly hinting that he will spend but won't break the club to do it. Fine by me, but he does have to sign someone or else it's UEFA Cup next year.
Little Dutch
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 15:36:00

I read the article LD linked, and personally I think it is more irresponsible and more likely to put Arsenal in jeopardy by NOT spending. It is entirely possible that quibbling over one or two million pounds can cost us £30million in Champions League money. Would we be bemoaning the lack of width if we had spent 'too much' money on Frank Ribery? Had we spent the rumoured £2m extra Liverpool wanted for Alonso, not only would we have a better, more experienced midfield, but Liverpool would be substantially weaker. I live in Canada and the winters are cold here- if I had enough money to buy a warm winter coat but thought that the asking price was too high and refused to buy so I went through winter shivering cold, would you call me altruistic or retarded? I'm not saying we have to spend ridiculous amounts of money, but surely the club is run well enough that we have money to buy top quality players to fill the obvious gaps in the squad.
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 16:24:00

40 million is a good kitty for january we need to spend it to stay in the top 4 let alone title race and he says: won`t help us achieve anything better than where we are at the moment. we are not achieving any trophies at the moment let alone a top 4 spot so y say that
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 16:44:00

Spending money by itself doesn't guarantee anything as other clubs have found. Does an extra £2mn guarantee that you get Alonso or weren't Liverpool going to sell anyway once the Barry deal fell through unless the deal was really silly? It's easy to imagine that these transfer deals are straightforward but there are other considerations personal and political that come into play too. Getting the right player under the right terms is just a little more complicated but if we can't get the right player(s) we might as well stick with what we have got otherwise we just reduce our ability to buy in the summer or perhaps keep the players we do have.
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 17:00:00

As our north London neighbours demonstrate year after year, no, spending money does not guarantee success. But not spending it on quality pretty much guarantees that every year is a rebuilding year. I trust Arsene's ability to spot talent, he's probably the best in the world at it. He had C Ronaldo in his grasp as well as Ribery and lost out on both due to frugality. Now tell me Amos, I think combined they cost less than £40m, would that not have been money well spent? Or is it better to keep the money in the bank and have Diaby and Eboue on the wings? Even our first choice of Rosicky and Walcott don't come close to those two, and they cost about £20m combined. So by saving less than £20m, we have missed out on one or two championships and probably a Champions League title or two. One or two world class players can make a huge difference, but they seldom move once they are at a big club. Wenger has to identify his needs and buy the absolute best players available in those positions that are not tied up at the 'big' clubs, even if it means spending a lot of money. Granted, Ronaldo was young and unproven when he was available, and therefore a bit of a risk, but Ribery was proven. As for using the funds available to keep the players we do have, well, we haven't done so well there either, have we?
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 17:37:00

I think Ronaldo went for £12m at the time. With hindsight that looks a good deal now but if we had spent that in 2003 we wouldn't have bought Reyes. It's easy to see now what the right choice should have been but probably at the time it might not have seemed the better decision to have gone for the less proven 'youngster' Ronaldo ahead of the emerging 'world class star' of the time Reyes. Similarly if we'd signed Ribery we wouldn't have been able to sign Eduardo and Sagna. Ribery cost Bayern £17m+ plus so with Ronaldo that makes a total of £30m which wasn't money we saved - just money we spent elsewhere. As for keeping the players we do have we managed to hang onto players like Henry, Vieira and Adebayor. If we want to hang onto Cesc, RvP and others we can't afford a Shevchenko or Veron. The right players at the right price is where we need to shop.
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 17:55:00

Amos: 'The right players at the right price is where we need to shop.' I agree 100%, but sometimes 'the right price' might seem extortionate and must be spent nevertheless to improve the club, that one last piece to make the difference between a good run and a championship.
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 18:02:00

interesting Wenger's comments on the Ashravin situation saying there is no development on that front at the moment whereas about Arteta he straight away dismisses the link. i'm only guessing but his comments clearly suggests that talks with Ashravin & his club are going on at the moment, but there is not much progress at the moment. maybe he really is on the way to join us, lets see what happens..
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 18:31:00

If the price is extortionate it's too much and there is no point paying it. It's a value judgement. You may have to go a little further than you'd want to if the need is great enough but there is always a point at which you have to say 'no more than that'.
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 18:50:00

The problem with that argument is that over the past couple of years, a player's true, relative value has seemed extortionate to us. So, we valued Ribery at £14m, Bayern paid £17m, and he's been worth every penny to them and no doubt would have to us. Established players cost more than they used to do, like everything else. I'm not advocating spending money like Man U, who seem to spend £50m every summer just because they can, but if the winger we need costs £20m, then spend it ffs. It's the cost of doing business at the top.
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 19:26:00

There is no guarantee that Ribery would perform as well in the PL as in the Bundesliga - it's generally accepted that it is a less challenging league. Having said that Bayern wouldn't have been able to pay that much for Ribery if ManU hadn't paid the same amount for Hargreaves. No-one else was prepared to match the fee. ManU effectively bought Ribery for Bayern. We can't spend as much as ManU because we don't make as much money as they do. Though the relative situation is changing as the full benefits of the stadium and property developments are eventually realised we just have to accept that when it comes to big money signings we haven't been in a position to compete with the big spenders for some time. The investments we have made will ensure that gap continues to narrow but, in the meantime, there is still a line to be drawn and if £20m is overvalued and the club prefer to invest that in younger players then that is probably the wiser route to take. For Arsenal to be a successful club it has to be a successful business and if you pay more for an asset than it is worth you just end up damaging the business. Having said that if Wenger finds a player he genuinely believes is worth £20m we have the money for it I believe he would pay it - just as he was prepared to spend big on Reyes. But his valuation may not be the same as yours or mine.
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 19:55:00

Being cheap, or prudent, or whatever you want to call it is not without its risks though. We NEED and impact player or two to ensure Champs League qualification next season (this would not necessarily be true if Cesc wasn't ruled out for the next four months), so if we have to pay over the odds for somebody, it is better for the long term needs of the club. There is also the danger of not being able to attract top talent if we never address our obvious needs with ready-made solutions and are widely perceived to be a glorified youth team, albeit one that plays pretty football. Careers are short, no top player wants to wait five years to see IF the potential of our youth is realized and produces trophies. So I'm just saying there has to be some balance, and with us now sitting in position for a UEFA Cup spot, now might be a good time to pull out the chequebook and show our intentions. If we don't spend to improve in several areas (and I'm not even saying we have to spend big, just on established players that are better than what we have in a few positions), I think the message being sent out will be that we aspire to be the most financially sound club in the world and anything that might make the supporters happy, like trophies, is an afterthought. Is this what we have become? No, of course not- it just seems that way at the moment. No risk, no reward.
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 21:18:00

But we have always bought players. We have bought in the past and we will buy in the future - so why the doubt now? Wenger has said that if he can find the right buy he will do so. The only issue is whether he can buy to improve the squad or whether he has to buy just to satisfy some fans. He will do the former if he can but not the latter.
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 21:46:00

Why now? Because conflicting reports are circulating now, including the one you wrote at the top of this very page. And the transfer window is open :-)
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 22:32:00

The reports are conflicting because reporters like conflict but the message from the club is much the same. They have money to spend but won't throw it around. Wenger will buy if he can get what he wants at the price he wants to pay. As Hill-Wood says "We have got money, but I am not sure we are going to spend a lot of it."
Report Abuse
02/01/2009 23:18:00

Its clear what PHW is saying, we will probably end up spending about 20-25M this window, as I believe that we can afford that. That will be good enough for me. As for the cash balance of 93M, 32M cannot be spent as some sort of assurance for debt cover. Further, that 93M cash balance will include a lot of season ticket renewals, the money for which will have to be spent throughout the year for operational expenses even though the money has been collected upfront. So the cash balance can be slightly misleading. I see someone mentioned a 40M spend above - thats never going to happen.
Report Abuse
03/01/2009 11:43:00

Blimey prits! I see my work here is done!
Report Abuse
03/01/2009 11:57:00

I'm not sure if that was sarcasm Amos, but you're welcome :p.
Report Abuse
03/01/2009 12:28:00

Not sarcasm at all prits. Just an appreciation of some thoughtful analytical reasoning.
Report Abuse
03/01/2009 12:47:00

The board will also no doubt be mindful that Club Level season ticket holders renew in March. If we're 5th or lower come March, they can kiss a great many of those renewals goodbye and not have much hope for punters lining up to lay out that kind of money with the economic down turn we are seeing. If we finish 5th or lower a great many "standard" season ticket renewals will go out the window too.
Little Dutch
Report Abuse
03/01/2009 21:17:00

Cheers Amos :)
Report Abuse
03/01/2009 21:55:00

Exactly, there are more n more empties every week, they're going to have to do something to sate the fans, Either show your intentions by strengthening on the pitch, or reduce ST prices = simple.
Report Abuse
06/01/2009 10:58:00


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