Arsenal director Ken Friar admits Arsene Wenger was completely at the mercy of the board for his transfer budget, despite the widespread belief the Frenchman was penny-pinching.
Friar was speaking to Arsenal media in an Instagram post, and explained that the board told Wenger what he had to work with, then the manager just had to figure out for himself how to get business done on that budget.
“Well, where he (Wenger) was absolutely tremendous was that we’d sit down with him and he’d have a chat with me and say, ‘What do I have in the budget for transfers?’ and whether that was £5m or £50m he would say ‘Fine, that’s great, now I know what I can work with.’,” Friar explained.
“But he was not screaming and shouting and saying ‘How can I do this on £5m?’ He never was. Everything that he did was reasoned and he was a very sensible chap.”
Particularly during the period where Arsenal weren’t winning trophies, people always asked questions about their spending.
The likes of Chelsea and Manchester City shot up the table thanks to their billionaire investors. Meanwhile the Gunners hardly spent anything at all, and when they did they usually sold a key player first.
No wonder, if Wenger only had £5m to work with in the budget some seasons. That’s not even enough for one player at the moment, bar the occasional bargain defender like Holding, Mavropanos or Kolasinac. You’d need the funds from the sales of players such as Adebayor, or Nasri, or Van Persie.
Hopefully the next manager won’t have the same problems. Arsenal should be in a much better financial position now, thanks to Wenger sticking to the budget.
With any luck the new boss will be able to push the board a bit further, and put together a title-winning team.