Arsène’s austerity

“‘Spend some f****** money!’ Arsenal fans chanted as their team lost again last Sunday at Chelsea. The cry echoed around the world on Twitter. Its target, Arsenal’s manager Arsène Wenger, had heard the argument before. Wenger, now 63, arrived at Arsenal in 1996 and led the club for eight glorious seasons. He has since led them for eight inglorious ones. Arsenal have won no trophies since 2005, and now stand a miserable sixth in the Premier League. The Frenchman is becoming a figure of derision. Many fans complain that Wenger refuses to buy the expensive players who could compete with Chelsea, Manchester United, or Barcelona, even though Arsenal have £153.6m in cash, an unheard-of sum for a football club. (Management firm Deloitte estimated last year that Premier League clubs had cumulative debts of £2.4bn.) Supporters are urging him to buy before the winter ‘transfer window’ closes on Thursday. He stands accused of practising football’s version of austerity – at a club that looks a model of financial good health.” FT – Simon Kuper

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