If he does well and brings us CL football the Kroenke's will be more inclined to do similar things in the future.
Mikel Arteta has changed this football club from top to bottom.
My GAny heavy expenditure at Arsenal has to be authorised by the owners. Thomas Partey represented one of those moments in a transatlantic request when hard bucks needed to be made.
In general, US sports ownership principles do not rely on personal generosity from their owners, and Arsenal certainly don’t have a model geared to operate like that, so this was a big call that required a giant leap of faith. There was not enough in the club accounts to complete this transfer. They needed a handout.
Josh Kroenke, the son of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment founder Stan, has been increasingly connected to the goings-on at Arsenal. Just over a season ago, during a moment of truth after absorbing a dismal defeat in the Europa League final on a sobering plane journey back from Baku, he told Arsenal to “be excited”. They went out and obliterated their transfer record for Nicolas Pepe. That was a deal that leaned heavily on instalments and future payments. This time, on deadline day, with income decimated by the pandemic, Arsenal needed to find almost £50 million in one fell swoop for Partey.
“Hello, Stan? Josh..? This is London calling.”
It must have been one hell of a chat.
Without wishing to overburden a player who has not even set foot yet inside the Arsenal dressing room, there are occasions when a transfer carries a significance that goes beyond the on-pitch qualities. Partey’s arrival means a lot to several senior people at Arsenal. It certainly ought to have an impact on perceptions about the Kroenkes, who have been regarded as limiters rather than enablers of Arsenal’s ambitions.
Primarily, this is about Arsenal’s belief in Mikel Arteta. The question of whether the team can progress faster than the inevitable interest in the manager from other clubs is a critical one. It is not hard to imagine Arteta might be on a future shortlist at Manchester City or Barcelona — other clubs he has roots with — or perhaps another club in need with high status or resources. It was meaningful that Arsenal rewarded Arteta recently with the new title of manager, with all the symbolism that brings. But to offer a tangible demonstration of what Arsenal think of him, nothing beats a high-class addition to the squad.
The Kroenkes provided some funds to meet Partey’s release clause as a show of their confidence in Arteta. They wanted to prove that they can back him, back his ideas for team building, and back his ambition to return Arsenal to the Champions League. While they are not renowned for shouting from the rooftops about how they do business, this demonstration of support for Arteta underlines how they want to quietly help during this financially complex time for the club.
Before the departure of Raul Sanllehi at the beginning of the window, the former head of football had told the owners that Arsenal would be able to bring in money through sales of unwanted players to fund new signings. When that didn’t happen, the Kroenkes were left with a choice: top up the pot or leave Arteta to it with a fairly similar squad to the one that finished eighth in the Premier League last season.
Partey was the No 1 priority for Arteta. Together with the arrival of Gabriel and Willian, Arsenal have strengthened in defence, midfield and attack. The Kroenkes stepped in and helped Arsenal to deliver such a key component. First, they refinanced the debts during the summer to free up millions that had to be kept in a cash reserve, then they put their hands in their pockets.
Their long-distance, hands-off version of ownership didn’t always win them friends. Negative issues, such as non-playing staff redundancies or the players’ pay cut during the COVID-19 break in football, sit uncomfortably at a club with a billionaire owner. The optics of these changes are never going to look great. They have never treated Arsenal as a philanthropic venture. It is a business and all the decisions they have overseen lately are to try to stabilise, streamline, and ideally steer towards success.
Others at Arsenal can regard the arrival of Partey as a deal to give them a bit more credibility. Edu and Vinai Venkatesham, whose respective roles as technical director and chief executive have become clearer and more important since Sanllehi’s exit, were thrown in at the deep end during this window. There was bound to be scrutiny. Had they not summoned up a top-class midfielder, criticism of their management of a squad rebuild would have been inevitable. Bringing in a high-calibre, experienced player with the qualities to make a big impression on the team reflects well.
Edu posted a photograph in the aftermath of the deadline deal of the backroom team that worked towards the Partey outcome. Among the dozen staff were some better-known faces and a few who contribute from the legal and contractual departments away from the limelight. Accompanying the photo, he wrote: “Sometimes we get things wrong and sometimes we get it right, as part of our life, but when you work with dedication and love, things happen! Let’s continue.”
The Kroenkes intend to continue keeping a closer eye on how all their top executives are performing. If Partey makes the kind of difference to the team to help Arsenal make a significantly stronger challenge for the Champions League, that unquestionably helps the relationship between Denver and London.
Partey’s signature was very well received among Arsenal’s players. A deal like that matters in the context of, for example, Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang’s contract extension. That commitment to improvement was part of the conversation to persuade him to stay. Arsenal, thanks to this intervention from the Kroenkes, want to prove to people inside the club and out that they are committed to pushing on.
When he touches down at London Colney after the international break with Ghana, Partey is going to get some very, very warm welcomes.
Once again, poor purchasing timing puts the club in a difficult situation. Had he been bought weeks earlier, we would have probably not lost the Pool match and there wouldn't be a silly poll asking people if they would start their best CM or not
I am not twisting anything. We just had our worst season in a long time, missing out on European comps.I find it so funny how some people on AM twist everything into a negative.
Also not considering anything else how the market and business went.
People have suffered a lot. It will take time for them to become healthy and positive again, some more than others. We should support each other in this process!I find it so funny how some people on AM twist everything into a negative.
Also not considering anything else how the market and business went.