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Is Arsene Wenger hoping for a change in club ownership?

Q. What does Arsene Wenger have that the Arsenal board of directors do not?
A. An ongoing friendship with former Gunners vice chairman David Dein

So what, you might say. Well if there was any accuracy whatsoever in the comments attributed to Le Gaffer in yesterday's News Of The World newspaper, it would seem that Wenger might slowly be coming around to the idea that the club might benefit from a billionaire taking over at Arsenal.

Personally I hate the idea of a foreign sugardaddy coming in and throwing several hundred million pounds at buying trophies, but having closely followed what Arsene has said over the past decade, his comments - if reported correctly - signal what could be construed as a cry for help.

The News of the Screws claim that Wenger told them that Arsenal is a selling club and that because of the financial strain the new stadium has put on the club's resources, then us fans should expect our best players to be sold. And he wasn't just talking about this season, he was talking about the next 17 years!

"The strategy of the club is to sell every year and to buy less expensive players," Wenger reportedly said. "We have to free up - for 17 more years - an annual surplus of £24 million to pay for our stadium. The club's strategy is to favour the policy of youngsters ahead of stars."

Now by my calculations, the club should easily be able to achieve a £24 million surplus every year based on gate receipts and TV money, meaning that player sales should not be part of the equation, so I have a theory about what Wenger was up to...

As I said before, Le Boss is still very good friends with David Dein and it's hardly a secret that Dein is working for billionaire Uzbeki businessman Alisher Usmanov in his efforts to buy Arsenal Football Club.

The new stadium project was undertaken so that Arsenal would be able to compete with the biggest clubs in the world when it came to signing the best footballing talent in the world and, I suspect, paying them the going rate.

There was no mention of the club being able to compete with the elite in 20 years time!

Wenger rarely speaks to the press, outside the pre- and post-match press conferences, without putting a great deal of thought into what he has to say, so I can't help but think that this interview was designed to soften the blow when another of the current Arsenal team departs.

However, Arsene's words also plant the seed that the Gunners could be a team in transition for the next couple of decades because of the financial burden of building Emirates Stadium, unless new investment comes in that would wipe that debt out.

I still want the club to remain as a British-owned operation, but maybe I'm a bit old fashioned and naive when it comes to the financial reality of 21st century football.

But Arsene is a much wiser man than me and I believe that his admission that Arsenal is a selling club could be the first hint that he is coming around to Dein's way of thinking that a big money takeover would be a better way to ensure Arsenal can compete both in the short term and looking to the future.

Do you agree with David Dein? Or do you reckon the board's current business plan is the best way forward for the club? Perhaps you think there can be a compromise with such investors as Usmanov? And what did you make of Wenger's comments? Share your thoughts here

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Posted by Gordon Masson on July 7, 2008 9:30 AM in Debate of the Day
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17 years? Monsieur Wenger is a past master at unearthing young, unknown talent but is he going to stay with us for another 17 years?? And if he is, will he still retain his amazing talent for such a long time?

Posted by: Dave | July 7, 2008 3:47 PM

Been in the top flight longer than any other, thats fine by me. Manu have had large stadium income for decades and the yield from that is recent. Chelski are the opposite to this and untenable. Leave be.

Posted by: Colin | July 15, 2008 5:34 AM

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