"The club is fundamentally strong. I can say with confidence that provided we don't do foolish things, this will be one of the leading clubs in the world this year, five years from now and 20 years from now. This is not some experiment to see how successful we can be over the next couple of years, and who knows where we will be after that. This is a good, sustainable business."
- Ivan Gazidis, no longer sticking it to the man
I'm going to rescind my batch of "I ♥ Gazidis" T-shirts. There's no need for them. Ivan Gazidis isn't a tiger who fights for ordinary, glory-hunting gooners anymore. He's not a relentless negotiating machine, ready to sign players who match our ambitions. No, Ivan Gazidis is a corporate drone now, repeating the company line and supporting a "sustainable business" model for the Arse.
On a day when Real Madrid bought Karim Benzema for £30 million, that's sickening.
There's something terribly wrong with Gazidis' comments. Saying that Arsenal could be "one of the leading clubs in the world" in five years' time discounts the fact that we could be one of the leading clubs right now. We've got one of the highest turnovers in the world. We've got the devoted fan base. We've got £100 million in the bank. And we've got a manager who's still regarded as one of the best in the business.
All we really need is ambition. We need the ambition to actively look for success instead of waiting for it to fall into our laps. We need a few experienced signings, some discipline in the dressing room, and a serious focus on defensive training and set-pieces. That's it. And it's doable. Hire Keown as a defensive coach. Crack open the transfer kitty and buy a defensive midfielder and a striker. Crack down on the trouble-makers.
We're not going to get that, though.
We're going to get a "good, sustainable business". This means rolling along in 4th place, minimal expenditure on the transfer market, heavy investment in youth and raking in the profits from (hopefully) a sell-out audience. Instead of trying to compete with the Top 3, we're just going to sit back and hope for the rest of the Premier League to collapse under the weight of its debt. It's weak.
Gazidis also said this:
"The road we have chosen is a challenging one. It involves developing young players we believe can form the basis of a world-class team over the next five years. And at times along that path we have had to pay for player development through points. Certainly the team needs to turn potential into real results; they know it is time to step up."
This is what we heard the season after we sold Vieira. Why are we hearing it again? What happened to the intervening four years? Wasn't that supposed to be the transition period we claimed we needed?
Words fail me at a time like this.