Every year, as the season draws to a close and transfer stories hit the web, a steadily decreasing portion of the Arsenal fan base begins to dream.
Most fans have their fantasy list of transfer targets; players that would make Arsenal compete again after another season of mediocrity, masked by a conveniently timed surge of form.
Every year also, an increasing number of fans become disillusioned with Arsenal's long-term transfer policy, understandably frustrated at the seemingly inexplicable lack of spending. And every year without fail, some fans, at least secretly, think this year will be different.
Arsenal fans reading this will be familiar with the ridicule that comes as a result of airing this view, usually from smug Chelsea and Manchester United fans that take great pleasure in reminding everyone that Gunners say the same thing every year, but this year really is different.
No one apart from people inside the club can know exactly what is being planned on the transfer front, but there's enough information in the public domain to suggest that this summer could actually spell change in the way Arsenal conduct their dealings.
Sceptics will undoubtedly disagree, and there are plenty of them, but consider first the long list of factors which have come together this year, which will undoubtedly have an effect on transfer policy.
The biggest reason why Arsenal are more likely to spend big this year than in any other year, is the huge financial strength that the club now has for a variety of reasons.
Arsenal have long been a profit making club, even last summer various unconfirmed figures were being touted as being available to the manager to spend.
Since then, much has happened to strengthen the north London club's financial position further; beginning with the profit made in last summer's transfer window. Alex Song and Robin van Persie were sold, generating more income than the combined costs of Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud.
In addition, this season was the announcement of two big sponsorship deals for the club: Fly Emirates renewed their shirt sponsorship deal in an agreement reportedly worth £150 million over the course of five years, while Puma were announced as Arsenal’s kit supplier for the 2014-15 season in the most lucrative kit deal in British football, again worth £150 million over five years.
The Premier League is also seemingly entering a golden age from a financial perspective, with a massive increase in prize money due next season as a result of foreign and domestic TV rights rising in value. This would see Arsenal in a great position to pay off any debt they may acquire this summer, providing a safety net for extravagant spending.
The second major factor which may see Arsenal surprise a lot of people with their summer spending is the unprecedented pressure on the manager. Arsene Wenger has long held one of the safest seats in football management, but for the first time this season a significant section of the Arsenal support displayed displeasure with the Frenchman. A man of high intelligence and professional pride, Wenger will be hurting and hungry to prove his critics wrong in emphatic fashion.
The best way to do that will be through boosting his squad through entering the market for players of a high calibre. The voices of the supporters have been reinforced by those of Arsenal legends, who have also called for the manager to spend big this summer, as the pressure escalates on a manager who risks throwing away a legacy second only to Ferguson in English football.
Considering all of that, it's hard to imagine the under-fire Arsene Wenger, armed with mountains of money from commercial deals, not being provoked into action in the transfer market in an attempt to cement his legacy once and for all.
This summer will be long, and as always will see Arsenal linked to every footballer under the sun, but there is new hope this time around. This year will be different.
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