I hate Peter Hill-Wood almost as much as I hate injustice. That's a picture of him above. For a man in such a lofty position (right-hand side of Wenger, no less), he makes some incredibly stupid remarks. And here's the latest from the horse's mouth:
"That is not strictly correct. We have never denied Arsene any transfer requests. We spent a lot of money on Andrey Arshavin at the beginning of the year and the money is there in the summer, if he wants. I'm not going to say how much thought, because that would not be helpful to us."
This is, of course, not strictly correct. We know Arsenal's been on a strict transfer budget. It cannot be coincidence that outgoing and incoming transfer fees have been almost exactly equal for a number of years. We were given £30 million last year for transfer fees AND wages, which makes for very little pocket change for new players.
The money is there, but it's not sitting in a Scrooge McDuck-type money vault somewhere on a hill. The money is in a "transfer facility" which we can tap if required. We tapped it during January when it looked like we were going to miss out on a Champions League spot. There can't be that much money in it. We all thought we'd buy at least two players (a creative player and a defensive midfielder), but we ended up haggling over £2 million for Arshavin over the entire transfer window while our team drifted. If we really had a lot of money to spend, we would've spent much more in January.
Furthermore, Hill-Wood seems to think that £15 million is a lot of money. He's been living too long in the real world, and not the football one. £15 million for Arshavin will go down as one of the bargains of the decade. We'll never see a deal like that again. If Hill-Wood sweats over £15 million, I'd hate to see his reaction when told how much David Silva would cost.
He goes on to say:
"Arsene's future is not in question.. he has another season left on his contract and if he was to ask for an extension we would be delighted.... There are other things to think. He is a long-term person. He is not into trying to have a quick fix."
This leaves me sweating. It means that Wenger's going to keep buying kids until he comes across 11 who are capable of challenging for trophies. It's kind of like that monkeys on typewriters experiment, only with football. And he'll be urged on by Peter Hill-Wood and his band of Etonian cronies, who are high on a hill somewhere and swimming Scrooge McDuck-like money vault.
There is a ray of light, though. Kroenke and Gazidis have arrived, like two reverse conquistadors ready to bring the whole in-bred, upper-class, Old-Boys Arsenal boardroom network crashing to the ground. They're here to overthrow the empire, crack open the fabulous wealth of the Arsenal and splurge on players, Japanese fighting-fish and defensive coaches. Do we need their sort at the club?
N.B. Just want to clarify my position - it's not that I think Arsenal don't have access to fabulous wealth (the two largest shareholders are billionaires, after all), I just think they'd rather not spend it on the non-essentials - like the football team...