Arsenal finally splashed some cash this summer but for many Gooners the £100m+ spent on Ben White, Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale and Takehiro Tomiyasu was too little, too late.
The Gunners were among the best teams in the world in 2006 when they moved from Highbury into the swanky new Emirates Stadium.
But their relocation was expensive. It left Arsenal in debt and signalled the dawn of a new era of cheapness.
On the pitch Arsenal began to decline and, hampered by modest transfer budgets, manager Arsene Wenger had to be thriftier than ever before.
Gernon’s story focussed on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was used as a substitute on or after the 71st minute by Arsenal on TEN occasions during the 2012/13 season.
This was, Gernon suggested, because the Gunners had agreed to pay former club Southampton £10,000 every time the player appeared for 20 minutes or more in a match.
“Following Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s move to Arsenal in 2011, Gunners fans became increasingly frustrated with the midfielder’s lack of playing time,” Gernon wrote.
“He was predominantly used as a substitute, often around the 71-minute mark.
“After his contract details emerged, it all became clear: Arsenal were obliged to pay Southampton £10,000 every time he played 20 minutes or more.”
What Sports Bible forgot to mention was how Arsenal managed to hilariously balls-up their money-saving ploy of bringing Oxlade-Chamberlain on for just under 20 minutes at a time.
As explained by the Daily Mail in 2013, Southampton sent Arsenal an email demanding payment for several of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 2012/13 sub appearances in which the Gunners had neglected to count injury time. Arsenal, it was claimed, eventually agreed to pay up.
Despite their costly timekeeping, Arsenal still managed to make a tidy profit when they sold Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool in August 2017.
Liverpool paid the Gunners around £40m, as reported by The Sun – £28m more than the £12m Southampton are said to have initially received in 2011.