The Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl triumph was received by the Arsenal fanbase in the same manner most of Manchester United’s supporters reacted to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ triumph 12 months earlier – without much care at all. Neither American owner is particularly liked by the fans of either Premier League club, both fairly seen as figures who are too absent and too disinterested.
Seeing Stan Kroenke’s Rams succeed brought little joy to fans of the Gunners, just as seeing Joel Glazer lift aloft the Vince Lombardi Trophy was far from a momentous occasion for United fans a year earlier.
That is because Kroenke and Glazer show far greater care and attention, and provide more resources, to their NFL franchises than Arsenal or United.
Both clubs have stalled for several years under the Americans despite being major powerhouses of English and European football.
Kroenke bought the Rams for £550million back in 2010 and their net worth has soared to almost £3.5billion, with only three of the NFL’s 32 teams more valuable than them now.
Since Kroenke took a controlling stake in Arsenal in 2011, they have by contrast steadily gone backwards and are no longer as enticing a club to join as they once were. Their net worth may be over £2bn but that has not translated to the pitch.
They’ve been stuck out of the Champions League since 2016-17 and have only challenged for the league title once, finishing second to Leicester in 2015-16, albeit by 10 points.
Now, they look to be making steady forward steps again. Their recent signings have integrated well and Mikel Arteta’s team have a real shot of returning to Europe’s top table this term despite a worryingly quiet January window.
While there will be a tinge of resentment over the massive investment afforded to the Rams recently compared to the more managed spending of Arsenal over the past decade, LA’s triumph could be good news for the Londoners.
The Rams have taken a win-now approach, putting the money on the table and bringing in elite-level talents with a focus on immediate glory rather than focusing on draft picks to build a more long-term project.
The backing in head coach Sean McVay, who was made the youngest in NFL history in 2017 at 30 years of age, has paid off and yielded the NFL championship on Sunday, three years after Tom Brady’s New England Patriots beat the Rams in the Super Bowl.
A more modest approach is being taken at the Emirates with the Gunners’ plans built around a core of young talents whom the club intend to grow together into a winning team. But the return from Kroenke’s investment in LA increases the chance of more money being pumped in from the top at Arsenal.
If, similarly to the Rams, Arsenal can go out and buy such proven top-level talents, they can take significant forward steps under Arteta just as rivals Liverpool did under Jurgen Klopp with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Alisson and Fabinho.
Fenway Sport Group’s success in baseball with the Boston Red Sox helped pave the way for Liverpool’s glories under Klopp, showcasing that their ‘moneyball’ philosophy can be an effective blueprint when properly planned out.
That, as Arsenal would love to emulate, was a steady squad-building exercise that took serious steps forward once the first top-four finish was made. From there, game-changing signings followed and with it the Champions League and the Premier League title.
And the Rams’ success may lead Kroenke to stump up more cash for Arsenal in the coming years in order to add readymade pieces to their blossoming young team to turn them into serious challengers, and perhaps winners, of the game’s biggest prizes.
Arteta must now deliver Champions League qualification this season to ensure such a process does not become further delayed.
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