Arsenal must accept their project has failed

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On 6th June 2013, Ivan Gazidis confirmed what Arsenal fans had long been waiting for - the austerity measures, put in place when the club started an ambitious project to move stadiums 15 years ago, were over.

In an interview conducted suspiciously close to the deadline for season ticket renewals, Arsenal's chief executive revealed that the board were ready to loosen the pursestrings that had held Arsene Wenger back for so long.

“This year we are beginning to see something we have been planning for some time, which is the escalation in our financial firepower," he said. 

"It means we can look at some options that weren’t really in our financial capability.

"We have a certain amount of money which we’ve held in reserve. We also have new revenue streams coming on board and all of these things mean we can do some things which would excite you."

It was clear that this was not only a message to fans umming and ahing over their renewal forms, it was also a message to Wenger saying 'We've done our bit, now you do yours'.

But fast-forward to today and Arsenal have failed to spend any money on any big names this summer.

In fact, with a large number of fringe players leaving, Arsenal's financial position has only improved whilst the squad is looking thin and vulnerable.

So what's going on?

It seems that Wenger's idea of big money doesn't quite cut the mustard in today's market.

For all his enthusiasm to spend, throwing £150,000-a-week at Gonzalo Higuain and £40m plus £1 at Liverpool for Luis Suarez, just isn't enough in what is an inflated transfer market.

Arsenal's grand project of self financing their world-class Emirates stadium, significantly reducing the financial capacity of the team for several years but ultimately freeing the club of debt quicker, didn't take in to account that billionaire playboys would come in and dramatically inflate the transfer market.

It didn't take in to account that Sky and BT would submit a bid in excess of £3bn for three years of TV rights and give all 20 Premier League teams an excess of cash.

And it didn't take in to account that UEFA would struggle to implement the Financial Fair Play rules that promised to curb outlandish spending.

Arsenal obviously do have more money than they have had in previous seasons. They have shown that they now have the capacity to spend more money on better players, but in this new, cash-rich market, it isn't enough to compete with the biggest spenders.

When clubs like PSG and Monaco fail to blink an eye at a £55m price tag, other clubs are encouraged to hang on to their star players until similar offers come in.

Why should Liverpool let Suarez go for less than £50m when Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao went for a similar amount?

The fact is, they shouldn't and they won't. 

Unless Arsenal are willing to match the bids billionaire clubs are submitting, they will fail to bring in the star names needed to compete for trophies and satisfy fans.

Now Wenger will have to face up to the idea that this grand project, which has been compromised by factors completely out of their control, is in danger of failure.

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