The signing of Thomas Partey shocked fans of Arsenal football club and supporters of other sides around Europe. The north London club looked to have left too little time to sign a marquee player before the window’s closure.
The Gunners pursuit of Houssem Aouar of Lyon was continuously halted by the club’s unwillingness to pay the fee President Jean-Michel Aulas wanted.
Therefore, eagle-eyed viewers of Deadline Day’s coverage would have been forgiven for scoffing at the news Arsenal were looking to activate the Ghanaian’s release clause.
Welcome to the Partey! 🥳
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 5, 2020
Atletico Madrid had been unwilling themselves to negotiate a lesser fee for the midfielder. The capital-based club have had financial difficulties and needed an injection of funds. The release clause of £45 million, considered a low figure for someone of Partey’s quality, would need to be paid outright.
This would not be similar to how Arsenal agreed a staggered payment structure for the £72 million Nicolas Pepe deal.
However, against all the odds, Arsenal were able to pull off the signing of the window and land one of Europe’s best midfielders.
The answer is simple but very out of the ordinary. Stan Kroenke owns the club outright. The American businessman and owner of several other sports franchises, such as the LA Rams, bought out the remaining shares from fans and other billionaires such as Alisher Usmanov.
Arsenal fans have seen their club go from competing with Manchester United season upon season for the title to slipping out of top 4 contention. The likes of Manchester City and Chelsea began spending big. Backed by their billionaire owners they rapidly rose above Arsenal.
Stan Kroenke has been reluctant to invest in the club’s transfer policy.. Instead, opting for the club to follow a self-sustaining model.
Many fans have protested in the past including movements like ‘If You Don’t Spend We Wont Spend’ and ‘We Care Do You‘ with little to no change taking place.
— 101 Great Goals (@102greatgoals) April 16, 2014
However, in a recent report by The Athletic, it was revealed that funds were released by the ownership to complete the signing of Partey.
According to the report, the money was made available as a ‘show of their confidence in Arteta.’
The Spaniard joined the club in December. Leading them to an FA Cup final victory and return to European football which had looked unlikely.
Time of change
This may cause a slight change in the perception of the ownership. However, whether this is a sign of things to come is yet to be seen. With the impact of the pandemic, clubs are unlikely to spend significantly in each window due to the lack of attendance fees.
If Arsenal want to continue signing expensive talents, investment from Kroenke may be the only way. Interesting times ahead.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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|Targett, Matt||Aston Villa FC||0||2|
|Joelinton||Newcastle United FC||0||2|
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|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||0||1|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||6|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||3|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa FC||3|
|Rodriguez, James||Everton FC||2|
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|Firmino, Roberto||Liverpool FC||2|
|Bellerin, Hector||Arsenal FC||2|
|Podence, Daniel||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||2|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||1|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United FC||1|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||1|
|Watkins, Ollie||Aston Villa FC||1|
|Costa, Helder||Leeds United||1|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||1|