Ask and you shall receive is the accepted wisdom. And lord knows the extent to which we asked. Which is why, when all is said and done at the conclusion of a troubled, fractious summer, credit must be given where credit is due. Ivan Gazidis and Stan Kroenke have, at long last, walked the walk to back up all the talk.
It could have all gone horribly wrong for the pair. As the summer rumbled on, Ivan Gazidis’ early claims that Arsenal could afford to sign a Wayne Rooney type player appeared tinged with an element of hubris to some. Other more cynical Arsenal fans began to look upon the comments as nothing more than pure deceit, pointing to the convenient timing of the comments being made just as the season tickets were due for renewal.
The inauspicious dealings in the transfer market caused no end of bother for Arsenal fans either. From Higuain to Suarez to Luiz Gustavo, transfer targets that were all meant to be within Arsenal’s grasp slipped through their fingers, as the squad was simultaneously being streamlined. The only arrivals were the free transfers of Yaya Sanogo and the return of Mathieu Flamini. It felt like we were shopping at Harrods but coming out with market stall knock offs. And to rub it all in further, Tottenham were almost making signings hourly. It was frustrating to be an Arsenal fan at that time.
Over and over, louder and louder, we pleaded for Kroenke, Gazidis and Wenger to fling open the fabled Arsenal transfer warchest. In fact, pleas became demands as the chants rained down from the stands in the wake of Aston Villa’s victory at the Emirates. The atmosphere had reached boiling point, and Gazidis was going to be informed loudly by the baying public of what we wanted. The language was industrial, but the sentiment was genuine; “spend some f***ing money”.
And then as the transfer window slammed shut, they had done it. As Daniel Levy was sat in the director’s box watching £100m worth of new talent being beaten by their North London rivals, Gazidis was in Madrid while Dick Law was in Germany, both wrapping up the biggest incoming deal in the Premier League. Just over 24 hours later, they had managed in one fell swoop to get everybody back on board.
By backing up the talk with the record capture of Mesut Ozil, years of Ivan Gazidis’ work has been justified. All of the preseason trips to Asia and Africa, the renegotiated stadium and kit sponsorship deal, the record kit supplier deal that is yet to begin and the numerous other partnerships became beneficial in one moment as the capture of Mesut Ozil was confirmed.
The work of the board is far from done with one spectacular transfer. But finally, they have managed to show that there is more to them than empty boasts and a healthy bank balance. Acts such as this have got the fans looking forward again. And at long last, just as the club motto calls for, there is harmony again.
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