Ivan Gazidis claims that the negotiation of new commercial deals will be as important as the move from Highbury to the Emirates in terms of consolidating Arsenal’s financial standing in world football.
The terms of the kit deal signed with Nike and the shirt sponsorship agreement with Emirates, both signed back in 2005 and later extended, have long been pinpointed by supporters as well beneath market value compared to rivals both domestically and abroad.
While the club have accepted that to be a fair assessment, albeit stressing that at the time they provided necessary funds to pay for the new stadium, Gazidis has increasingly used the chance to ‘upgrade’ said deals as a potential turning point in Arsenal’s fortunes both on the pitch and in the transfer market.
Again banging the drum for belief in a brighter future, Gazidis told the BBC how he expected an upturn in commercial revenue and UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations to help Arsene Wenger pay top dollar for the best talents in the world.
“As our financial capability develops, as economic rationality enters the world of football, our ability to compete at salary levels for the very best talent will be enhanced,” Gazidis said.
“As we look to the next two, three years we will have an outstanding platform on which to compete with any club in the world.
“Now we are in that stadium, the first part of our vision has been realised. Now we are at the stage where some of the commercial deals that were tied into the construction of the stadium, and enabled us to take that first big step, will be renegotiated.
“When that happens, we will take the second big step forward and that will be comparable in magnitude to moving to the stadium itself. At times it’s been a challenging project, but we will have catapulted ourselves into the elite clubs on the European scale and that, for us, has been what the last 10 years has been about.
“Very clearly, it will push the club forward and put us into the top five clubs in the world in revenue terms, which will be a fantastic position to be in.”
Paying lip service to the huge riches heading to the bank accounts of Premier League clubs, predominantly thanks to the renegotiated domestic and global television rights contracts, Gazidis also outlined his belief that England will be the place to be for the world’s top talents.
“We are seeing Premier League revenues growing and growing, and in spending-power terms we have separated ourselves from the other leagues.
“In general terms the talent flow of players is going to be towards the Premier League, with or without FFP. In fact over a longer period the increased stability will attract better owners and actually lead to further growth and an even more exciting future.”
For a long-time we Arsenal fans have, like beleaguered Communist Russia collectivised farmers, been told to believe in a brighter future while 5-year plans are implemented by our ‘all-knowing’ leaders. Given the silverware famine of recent years, the increased ticket prices and the constant flogging of our best talents its hardly surprising that supporters have grown fed up of being patient.
Of course we hope that these deals make us more competitive, but it’s slightly concerning that in effect we’re being warned that the status quo will be maintained for three more transfer windows over the next 18 months.