Arsenal are ready to break their long-standing and often controversial wage structure to secure transfers for top stars. That is according to a report from The Daily Mirror.
The report indicates the Gunners are now willing to offer wages above £150,000 per week. The hope is that it will tempt marquee names to join the North London outfit.
It is a bold move from Arsenal and one many may feel is long overdue. The wage policy manager Arsene Wenger once dubbed a "socialist model," has often been viewed as a hindrance.
Refusing to pay wages that are competitive with other top European clubs, has prohibited Arsenal from attracting star talents. It is not an unreasonable argument.
With the Gunners failing to land a trophy for eight years, the only other means of tempting marquee players is through financial incentive. During the last few seasons Arsenal have lost out on players like Juan Mata and Phil Jones, because Chelsea and Manchester United could pay bigger salaries.
Wenger has seen his own stars bolt for the exit door and the promise of higher wages. The likes of Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor certainly fall into that bracket.
Theo Walcott, Andrei Arshavin and Lukas Podolski top the wage chart in the current Gunners squad. Each are in the £90,000 to £100,000 bracket.
As lavish as those figures are, they are deemed pitiful at the top end of the modern football climate. Wealthy owners are smashing new wage barriers at Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco.
Manchester United float the team on the New York Stock Exchange and endure cumbersome debt, to pay the likes of Robin van Persie close to £250,000 per week.
Expanding what they are willing to pay is a smart move by Arsenal. However, the move will come at a cost, and not just the fiscal kind.
Expanding the wage structure to pay more per week is one thing. The next step is to convince the kind of names that move is supposed to attract, that Arsenal will soon win trophies.
The Mirror suggests Wayne Rooney and Gonzalo Higuain as two names Arsenal will target with their new wage plan. Both Higuain and Rooney have been used to collecting the game's major prizes, while Arsenal have been mired in transition.
They would surely want assurances that winning the big trophies is an imminent prospect for the Gunners. That is a tough sell, considering Arsenal have not really been close to major honors during most of their barren eight-year run.
The club would be banking on Wenger working his magic at the negotiating table to get big stars to believe in his vision. Speaking of Wenger, a boost in wages, only increases the expectation on Arsenal to spend big this summer.
The consistent rumors of a £70 million budget, coupled with plans to shatter the wage structure, will have fans believing a big cash splurge is all but assured.
That is a risky bet, given Wenger's trademark caution in the market. However, all signs point to Arsenal being able to spend, so the pressure is firmly on Wenger to flex some financial muscle before the new season.49300