With Liverpool about to join Chelsea, Portsmouth, Aston Villa and West Ham on the ever growing list of billionaire playthings in the Premiership, Arsene Wenger is getting worried. Despite still remaining confident that Arsenal can mount a title challenge this season, Wenger told The Guardian that if the current trend of wealthy investors continues it may not be long before his side are left behind,
“Once the financial potential of the club goes above their natural resources by far, we will be in trouble because we don’t have that,” Wenger said. “At the moment the income [at Arsenal] basically is the gates, television and sponsorship. If the income [elsewhere] is gates, television, sponsorship plus private gifts then we cannot compete. At the moment we can do it because only one club [Chelsea] has those resources. But once three or four have that, are you dead? The pressure on the salaries will be too big. Today the player says: ‘OK, I earn less than at Chelsea but it’s only one club.’ But once that becomes the price of the market then you are in trouble because you cannot compete . . . If you have a club where every year [the owners] say: ‘It costs Â£100m more? OK, I’ll put that in,’ then you cannot compete.”
A pretty fair assessent of where things are headed in the Premiership these days. A bidding war between rich men used to getting their way might get ugly, and those who aren’t fortunate enough to be backed will certainly be the losers. But only recently Wenger expressed his satisfaction with the current Arsenal owners and the value they bring to the club, but if he’s already feeling some envy or resentment it will be interesting to see what his reaction will be if his worst fears are realised.