Arsenal owner says ‘boxes still to tick’ in transformation plans for club

Josh Kroenke says there are still changes to come at Arsenal as the club continues with its move away from the Arsene Wenger era.

Kroenke, the son of majority shareholder Stan and a club director, revealed there were ‘boxes still to tick’ in KSE’s transformation plan and cited the changes at Premier League rivals Liverpool – and the fruit they are now bearing – as reason for fans to be patient.

Kroenke was speaking to the Daily Telegraph’s Jeremy Wilson (subscription).

He said:

“We have obviously been through a period of change following a manager leaving after 22 years. A lot of things come along with a transition of that magnitude.

“I think if you look at where we were 12 months ago, you can see we were probably transitioning towards a North American or continental European model, where there is a lot of support around the head coach.

“Everyone in sports wants success right away. When you look at Liverpool, when they changed to their manager, it took a little time.

“We have some things we are trying to implement as quickly as possible, but it takes time to get things as you want. There are a few boxes still to tick.

“We know the main currency in sport is wins and we want them just as much as the fans do.”

It echoes, in part, what the Kroenkes have said before about the hunger for success at the club, although the evidence to back that claim has yet to convince on all fronts, particularly in terms of playing personnel.

Most interesting, however, is the suggestion that there are changes still to be made before the transition is complete.

We are in the realms of speculation, of course, but it would seem most likely that those changes will be to the non-footballing side of the business, unless Unai Emery has requested a whole raft of additional backroom appointments.

With scouting supremo Sven Mistlintat set to depart imminently, there is one obvious hole that will need filling. On that front, rumours abound of a move for a technical director to take on the German’s work while also supporting Raul Sanheli, the current head of football.

But where else will the club be looking in order to beef up its infrastructure?

The best guess would be in the club’s commercial department, or in other revenue-generating areas of the business – people to support the work of Vinai Venkatesham, our managing director.

We’ve already seen new coaches, player loan experts, scouts, fitness gurus and a head of football brought in on the playing side so I would be surprised if there was more to come in that area. The sensible money would seem to be with additions to the club’s financial machine, helping to bring it on par with its Premier League rivals, many of whom have proven much savvier in maximising their value over the years.

With the Kroenkes famously money-hungry, it would come as a shock if they weren’t looking to extract a good deal more from the brand both in this country and overseas, where there is something of a global gold rush.

That’s not to say the club has done particularly badly in terms of its finances, after all it made another £56.5million profit in 2017/18, up from £35million a year previously. You can find the details of all that and of the club’s £233million cash pile here.

But in order to keep the club operating at the highest level without massive, state-sponsored injections of cash, though, smarter and better financial minds are needed, especially if we don’t get ourselves back into the Champions League this year.

So while the transition on the playing side might be well on the way to completion, it would seem that work continues to drag Arsenal’s financial department into the commercial age, especially as Arsene Wenger is no longer around to flog the kits as well as put a team out!

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