Football is on the verge of massive change.
The coronavirus pandemic has suddenly turned off the tap and the money well is already starting to run dry. Even the wealthiest of clubs are looking nervously at their balance sheets.
At Arsenal, it is no different. In fact, when it comes to the Premier League’s top six clubs, the north London giants are perhaps going to be hardest hit in the short term by the Covid-19 crisis.
They may have a billionaire owner in Stan Kroenke but, unlike the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, they operate to a self-sustaining model.
For years under Arsene Wenger, that was a model that still allowed them to compete, thanks to a two-decade long run in the Champions League.
However, three seasons outside Europe’s elite competition has now taken a major toll on the club’s finances. In December, Arsenal announced a loss of £27.1 million ($34m) for the year 2018-19 – the club’s first operating loss since 2002.
Worryingly, that number could soon start to pale into insignificance, given the devastating impact the coronavirus pandemic is now having on the revenue that clubs previously thought they could rely on.
With games set to be played behind closed doors for a "significant amount of time", according to the UK Government, Arsenal are set to lose huge amounts of cash.
Matchday revenue accounts for 24 per cent of Arsenal’s turnover. Without it, the north Londoners are facing up to a massive financial blackhole. The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust estimates the club could suffer a loss of up to £144m ($176m) if the entire 2020-21 campaign is staged behind closed doors.
The catastrophic loss of finances means that transfer business this summer – and in future windows – is going to look very different.
At Arsenal right now, this summer's transfer window is not a priority. The priority for head of football Raul Sanllehi, managing director Vinai Venkatesham, owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment and board members is instead trying to guide the club through one of the most challenging periods in its entire history.
Of course, there will be deals done when the window opens but the expectation across the game now is there will be far more loans than usual, while swap deals could also become more commonplace as clubs look to find creative ways of adding to their squad.
However, clubs are also expected to turn to youth in the coming seasons and, at Arsenal, there are plenty of young players coming through who could benefit from a reduction in big-money signings.
Arsenal is already a club known for giving youth a chance but, now more than ever, the Gunners could find themselves turning to the talent being produced at the Hale End academy as a way of supplementing Mikel Arteta’s first-team squad.
So, below, we take a look at some of the best youngsters who could end up saving Arsenal millions in the transfer market over the next few years.