Most of us would agree that it appears very likely that Stan Kroenke may be the new owner of Arsenal Football Club in the near future. The American billionaire has been slowly purchasing shares for more than a year now and is on the verge of having the magic 30 per cent number that will require him to make a formal takeover bid.
Whether Kroenke becomes the new owner sooner or later, it would behoove Arsene Wenger to begin developing a close and amicable relationship with Kroenke especially if the American will soon be his boss. But Wenger is already throwing his toys out of the pram over the sensitive topic of Arsenal Football Club and the desire of Kroenke and Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis to send the team on a lucrative preseason tour to the United States next summer.
Wenger is not a fan of having his routine broken. Each summer he takes his team to Austria for preseason training and then often plays in a couple of tournaments typically in Holland and London. He’s been doing this for several years and doesn’t fly his team halfway across the world. Chelsea typically tour the United States or Asia. Manchester United typically travel to Asia and Africa. Liverpool often travel to the Far East, while many other Premier League clubs also go overseas.
When Wenger was asked about a possible US tour next summer, he replied:
“No – it doesn’t prepare the players properly, it’s not possible to take players who are just back from World Cups or European Championships, and the Champions League qualifiers might be vital to the season.”
It’s a logical answer from a smart man, but the reality is that the other top Premier League clubs will be sending their teams on lucrative preseason tours around the world, so it’s not as if Arsenal would be disadvantaged. And if Arsenal finish in the top two, they don’t need to play Champions League qualifying games. How about that for an incentive to do well this season, Mr. Wenger?
Plus the United States is not on the other side of the world. Arsenal has flown to Moscow before to play in the Champions League against CSKA Moscow. A non-stop flight from London to Moscow is approximately four hours. A non-stop flight from London to New York is eight hours.
During Barcelona’s 12-day tour of the United States this past summer, the Spanish club generated $8.5 million. Sorry Arsenal fans, but Arsene Wenger would be a fool to pass up on this kind of money especially during a time where that money could help pay for a new striker or defensive midfielder.
Money aside, Arsenal’s tour of the United States would go a long way to help develop the brand of the club in the United States where the club has a huge following, which would only be made bigger by the club playing a few games Stateside. Plus, even after a World Cup, the club would still have plenty of time to play a 12-day tour in the United States before the 2010-2011 Premier League season begins on August 14.
Photo credit: Arsenal Station.