The Mirror has printed (presumably, I guess, at the very least I can guarantee to you that it's posted on an Internet website) a question-and-answer session with Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis. I'm not entirely certain what the context is - it says that John Cross "was there to hear" it and that it was in the Arsenal boardroom, but it doesn't actually say who was asking the questions, which is odd. I have to assume it was some kind of super-intelligent computer, or Alisher Usmanov's Death Metal.
Anyway, Gazidis said a ton of interesting stuff. I suggest you read it all to get the full effect, even though it's pretty long, but here are a few highlights:
"The critical thing now as we look ahead over the next season and the season after is our developing financial capability which will give us a lot more options than in recent years...So we are feeling very optimistic. It is interesting where we are at the moment in the summer."
"It has been quite a slow start [to transfer season] and I think that's because there was such a managerial musical chairs going on that everybody is waiting for that to settle down. I think clubs are, agents are and players are. Which means it has been quite an unusual beginning to the transfer window. I imagine once most of the managerial appointments settle in a little bit, we will see that starting to pick up."
Q: But you are now - for the first time - operating in a different financial playing field?
"...We're very confident with the new deals we've got coming through...That's showing really positive progression. We should be able to compete at a level like a club such as Bayern Munich. I'm not saying we are there by any means, we have a way to go before we can put ourselves on that level. But this whole journey over the past ten years really has been with that goal in mind..."
"The fact is this year we are beginning to see something we have been planning for for some time, which is the escalation in our financial firepower. And that's going to happen partly into next season - it's part way available now in the summer but the following season as well. It's a progression over the next two seasons. It's quite significant for the club."
Q: What does it mean? Can you spend more on transfers, you can have a higher top wage?
"I think it means both of those things. I think it means we can look at some options that weren't really in our financial capability."
Just after this the questioner (Cross? danawent? Actor Danny Trejo?) followed up by asking about Wayne Rooney. Gazidis wouldn't bite, but when the interviewer, journeyman NBAer Jarrett Jack, asked more a more general (but certainly related) question, he did answer.
Q: [Could Arsenal pay] Well, for example, £25million and £200,000 a week?
"Of course we could do that. We could do more than that. We have a certain amount which we've held in reserve. We also have new revenue streams coming on board and all of these things mean we can do some things which would excite you. What excites Arsene isn't necessarily what excites you. We can think about all kinds of things...He has new tools available to him financially and I think he'll make good use of them."
Okay. Honestly none of this should really be a surprise. This is what we've been talking about certainly since the Puma deal broke, and frankly it's what some of us have been talking about for years. When Arsenal gets to negotiate new deals, the club will have more money. That money will give new freedoms. That includes an expanded ability to spend in the transfer market.
But as we've said over and over (and over) again, that doesn't guarantee a damn thing. Gazidis mentions this as well - there are many parts to a deal. Arsene Wenger actually has to want the player, and think that he will improve the team. The other teams has to want to sell. The player has to want to move. The player has to want to move to your team. The agent has to not get in the way. Other teams can't offer mad amounts of money. This money, this new financial power, all that means is that Wenger has the ability to spend more. It does not mean that it's guaranteed to happen, for all the players you and I like and want to get.
And more importantly, transfers are not the only thing that this money goes into. It goes into backroom staff. It goes into facilities. It goes into paying down debt. It goes into wages of current players. It pays for sweet new banners and statues, presumably.
But it's interesting to hear Gazidis speak pretty frankly about all of this. It's not the kind of thing you usually hear from a team like Arsenal. It's nice to hear some reassurance as a fan that Big Things are possible, but I'm not sure what it accomplishes other than that. I doubt Arsene Wenger really needs public motivation to do things to make Arsenal better, since it's his life's work. Maybe he just wants to soothe fans' frayed nerves? Or perhaps the conspiracy rumors are true, and Stan Kroenke and the board are using the Puma and Emirates money to line all of their clothing with small diamonds and gold leaf. Either way, it bodes for more of the summer rumor maelstrom. Can't wait.