With a freshly-won major trophy glistening in the Emirates trophy cabinet, three players set to take part in the World Cup final, world class new signings being announced, and Arsène Wenger frolicking on a sun-drenched Brazilian beach having signed a new contract, Arsenal are in the midst of their most serenely positive summer break in recent memory.
Veteran Right Back Bacary Sagna’s departure to Manchester City is a blip rather than the disaster of big player departures in summers past. Whilst a good servant during his 7 years at the club, the 31 year old Frenchman is replaceable and if the papers are to be believed, looks likely to be replaced by the man who kept him out of France’s World Cup first team, Newcastle United’s Mathieu Debuchy.
2013/2014 was pencilled in by those who have studied accounts reported by Arsenal since their move to Ashburton Grove as the year that the North London club would start to be able to compete once more, the turning point when the stadium debt repayments became manageable, and Arsenal a true force once more.
Should Arsenal qualify for the group stage of the Champions League this season from their play-off tie, it will be the 17th consecutive season that they have contested the Champions League – a frighteningly consistent run of ‘top four trophies’ that almost all of their rivals would be jealous of (Manchester United’s record number of 18 consecutive appearances now broken, Real Madrid are now the only European club with more current consecutive campaigns than Arsenal).
That Arsenal have remained so consistent over such a frugal period – practically every team to have competed in the Premier League has outspent them since Arsenal left Highbury – can only be credited to one enigmatic, intelligent, and at times deeply-frustrating man. As tempers frayed, hopes withered, and negativity abounded, one man remained defiant almost to a fault and must now be casting an inferred Gallic bras d’honneur in the direction of his many detractors.
Today, Arsenal unveiled three new kits that heralded the start of the biggest commercial deal in the club’s history, and did so with the razzmatazz that comes from the unveiling of a major new, World Class playing staff recruitment. In Alexis Sánchez, Arsenal unveiled their second most expensive signing ever after Mesut Özil’s arrival last summer. Forced to operate on a shoestring and yet still competitive for so long, a financially powerful Arsenal led by Arsène Wenger have started to become an ever more dangerous opponent for rivals to contemplate.