Arsenal have millions of these available for transfer fees
We've all complained bitterly over the years about the way Chelsea and Manchester City have been able to buy their way in to the big time without the need to build their club up. It's a phenomenon that really started with Jack Walker at Blackburn, though the money these days makes him look nothing more than a provincial mill owner (which is pretty much what he was). If there is a difference in principle it is that Jack Walker was using his personal fortune to fund his personal dream of seeing the club he had always supported win the Title. With City and Chelsea it is nothing quite so romantic.
The criticism of those two oil funded football teams is well placed. What has happened to football since the arrival of Abramovich has changed the game even more than the introduction of TV money did. Aside from the comfort from which most now watch the game none of these things have been for the better. In order to try to keep up with the financial power houses many supporters have been priced out. This has been fine for the traditionally big Premier League sides as a new audience has taken root in the stadiums (at least until the last five minutes of the game when they all want to get away for the early train back to the suburbs). The likes of Leeds have been destroyed by publicity seekers like Peter Ridsdale who chased success with money that didn't exist. The FA have failed the game in every way possible since 1992 by allowing the law of greed to run things above all that was good about football. Money talks, and so it is that certain shady characters are involved with some of what are, now, the biggest clubs (financially) in the World game.
At the other end of all this is Arsenal Football Club. No benefactor has ever been welcomed aboard, despite virtually 30% of the Club being owned by a man whose wealth leaves Roman Abramovich in the poor house by comparison. The Arsenal Board decided a long time ago that they would make their own way in football. They built their stadium by raising their own financial agreements and these are being paid back in a fashion that has been both manageable and sensible. Arsenal simply refuse to live above their means. Some poor commercial deals were struck in order to bring in immediate cash to assist the stadium project, but a continued place in the publicity rich Champions League has allowed them to sign lucrative sponsorship agreements with Emirates and Puma of late (though the stadium naming rights have effectively been handed over for a nominal sum). As a result Arsenal are now in a position to pay big money for players. Mesut Ozil's signature, at £40m+, was way beyond what any of us ever thought we'd see handed over for a player by Arsenal. That the huge transfer fee was paid through Arsenal's own endeavours is to their immense credit. However, there is still a lot more money available.
I write this on the eve of the last day of the January transfer window. Manchester City have just gone top again. Chelsea are right behind us. If somebody had said to you after we lost to Villa on the opening day that we'd be right up there challenging at this point you'd have bitten their entire arm off for the chance. And that's what we have here - a real chance. I wrote in my pre-season preview that there might be an opportunity for an Arsenal or a Liverpool to get in the fight this season with City, Chelsea and Man Utd all having new bosses in charge. So it has proven. However, with injuries mounting to key players (you can't legislate for losing two goal scoring players like Walcott and Ramsey long-term, but you can replace them) and a clear lack of depth at centre-forward that chance is on the verge of evaporating in what looks a ridiculous run of fixtures in February and March. To put it bluntly we lack depth at a time when we are about to be stretched.
I keep hearing pundits write Arsenal off as "City and Chelsea have a stronger squad". So they should have with the billions that have been spent between them. Even with the Ozil signing we are still only just in deficit on transfers in the years since (and immediately before) we left Highbury. Frankly Man City and Chelsea should be out of sight of everyone else in the Premier League. The problem I have is that, with 24 hours to go of this window, we have millions of pounds in the bank just waiting to be spent on reinforcements. Don't tell me that you can't buy quality in January because that's nonsense. You can buy almost whoever you want if you stump up the cash. I don't know if Wenger was really trying to sign Julian Draxler, but if he was then he should have simply paid the money to get him. I don't know if Draxler is what we need (I don't know enough about him) but if Wenger thought he is what Arsenal require than he should have gone and got him. We definitely need a striker. On deadline day at the start of the season we tried to sign Demba Ba. We're no better off now in the forward department (significantly worse given that Theo is out for the season) and yet not a lot seems to be going on. Maybe a loan player will come in tomorrow, but why not spend a few quid and get a player like Benteke (I use him merely as an example) who might just get ten or twelve goals in a team like Arsenal between now and May? If he did then you'd get close to the Title.
Laying down the facts we can all moan about City and Chelsea and the money they've spent. However, when you don't spend everything that you have available your argument dies a little. If Arsene Wenger went out tomorrow and spent good money on a couple of quality players, but we still missed out on the Title to City or Chelsea (or anyone else) I would be able to accept that. Arsenal would have done everything in their power to make the most of the opportunity that has been created in the first half of the season, but the opposition would have been better than us. To fail having not spent what you have in order to give yourself the best chance possible would be negligence on a near criminal level. Just imagine how painful it might be should we miss out by a few points come May having not taken the chance to reinforce in January. It was a mistake that was made in 2008. If it gets repeated (and it looks increasingly as though it might be) then that is unforgivable.