In May, Arsenal announced a bumper sponsorship deal with Puma, reportedly worth £30m a season.
Since then, Arsenal fans’ hopes have been raised – and then dashed mercilessly – as the Gunners toil in the transfer window.
Admittedly, their deal with Nike lasts another year, so the money would not be available in Arsene Wenger’s kitty for at least another season.
However, coupled with the fact that the debt for the Emirates stadium is slowly but surely being paid off, Arsenal fans could have been forgiven for thinking that Wenger may finally have been about to dip his toes in the big money markets of the summer window.
Talk of Gonzalo Higuain, Wayne Rooney and a return for Cesc Fabregas persist, but crucially one thing remains: a big name player is yet to arrive.
Since Robin van Persie’s departure to Manchester United a year ago, the North London outfit have been devoid of a superstar. The Gunners’ fans have been unbelievably patient with Wenger, as he aims to build a young side, shunning the huge-spending tactics of fellow top four rivals Manchester City and Chelsea.
That patience appears to be rapidly wearing thin though, as their trophy drought goes on, with Wenger taking little action to stem it.
Of course, the transfer window is far from over. But across North London, their bitter rivals Tottenham Hotdspur have signed Brazilian star Paulinho, and FC Twente’s Nacer Chadli. Manchester United have at least been active in the market, making two (albeit rejected) bids for Fabregas.
Rooney is vociferously unhappy at Old Trafford, and such a marquee signing – or at least a bid – would show the rest of their competitors that Arsenal mean business.
At present, Higuain has slipped away to Napoli, with the Italian side signing the Real Madrid striker in excess of £30m. Arsenal’s strike-force is in desperate need of a goal machine; whether their new addition, a French under-20 striker called Yaya Sanogo will be it, remains to be seen.
On the upside, unlike many of their rivals, Arsenal have showed promise in pre-season with resounding victories, hitting 17 goals in three games on their tour of Asia.
The concern for fans, then, must surely be that Wenger’s men will be incapable of carrying that form over into the new season. Amid talk of a title bid and big-name signings, these things will remain as talking points until Wenger steps up to take decisive action.
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