English premier League side, Arsenal FC might not be able to land any star player this summer, based on various reports making the rounds.
Supporters of the London club were given hope that they could spend heavily in July of last year, when director Lord Harris claimed the club had the funds to sign “anyone but Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi”.
However Lockyer, who is “no football fan myself”, warns fans that their aspirations may simply be out of touch with the realities of Arsenal’s balance sheet.
He told Standard Sport:
“What we have with Arsenal is a number of expectation gaps.
“First and foremost that is between what the fans expect from the club and what the club could comfortably spend.
“But also another gap between what the club could spend and what they likely would spend, which I expect to be short of the £54.1m.
“This is not a club that is being run for short-term success. Arsenal are showing that they want to be a team that is in the Premier League in five, 10, 15 years’ time.”
Lockyer believes selling players may be the most logical approach to fund any investment though there’s the alternative of overdraft facilities.
Wenger has long come under criticism for his hesitance over spending similar sums to his Premier League competitors. Whilst Manchester City lavished £152m on the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Nicolas Otamendi Arsenal were the only club in Europe’s top five divisions. The report, however, offers a more generous assessment of Wenger’s achievements over 19 years at the helm when Lockyer writes:
“Since Wenger was appointed in 1996, Arsenal has been transformed from reliance on gate receipts to diverse income streams. Arsenal has rapidly grown broadcasting, commercial and retail revenues.
“Widely credited for cultivating talent internally rather than throwing money at the transfer market, Wenger has demonstrated a financial acumen lacking in the Premier League. Numerous club rescues has amply demonstrated the pitfalls of the sector’s profligacy.
“Since Wenger’s appointment the Arsenal share price has jumped a staggering 40 fold from £400 to £16,000 per share. This is a highly commendable achievement.”