Arsenal's owner Peter Hill-Wood courted several headlines this week with his comments on football's finances, and an ongoing debate is underway among Premier League clubs which could change the face of football as we know it.
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan revealed yesterday that Manchester United had put forward a suggestion to curb excessive spending, for the league's own rules to adapt with UEFA's forthcoming Financial Fair Play regulations.
Arsenal have lost a number of stars to big spending Manchester City in recent years, but this summer despite losing Song and Van Persie to Barcelona and Manchester United they became predator when they seized on a mismanaged club's financial misfortune.
That club was Spanish side Malaga, who will play in this year's Champions League despite their ongoing issues.
Malaga were taken over in 2010 by rich Qatari Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani. They had just finished 17th and narrowly avoided relegation. He set to work spending money, in his first season spending £22 million on player transfers. In context they had spent just £1.4 million a season earlier.
It was the next summer which really saw the spending take hold, with £52 million spent on players including Joaquin, Isco, Jeremy Toulalan, and Ruud van Nistelrooy bought in on a free transfer but big wages.
The jewel in their crown, and their real statement signing, was the £20 million acquisition of Santi Cazorla of Villareal, who had regularly finished above Malaga, but significantly they had beaten Real Madrid to his signature.
It paid off because Malaga achieved the highest league placing in their history in May, finishing fourth and qualifying for the Champions League. They were living the dream.
Two months later and it would all turn sour, for this was a club which rose on quick sand, rather than the sturdier foundations of a more organically run club like Arsenal.
Malaga had run up huge debts with the Spanish taxman, and were reported for failure to pay wages, and make a scheduled payment to Villareal for the purchase of Cazorla. The midfielder along with Ruud van Nistelrooy were among those to complain about money owed to them.
A deadline was imposed on Malaga to pay their debts by early August. Failure to do so could have seen them relegated a division and kicked out of the Champions League, both more costly in the long-run, and a punishment which would have led to the inevitable exit of all their star players.
So the tough decision was made to cash in on their most saleable assets. Al-Thani is a very rich investor, but his expendable money had been held up in other schemes, and he had taken a decision that the club's best way forward to comply with UEFA guidelines was to generate its own money rather than have further funds pumped in.
Santi Cazorla and Salomon Rondon left the club, the latter being the Venezuelan striker earlier linked with the Gunners was sold to Rubin Kazan in Russia for one third of his value at just £5 million. No huge loss was taken on Cazorla, Malaga sold him for £1.5 million less than they bought him for, but it still represented an incredible bargain.
Last season he scored nine goals and provided six assists to lift the club into the top four, and for evidence of his impact, look no further than Villareal, who were relegated within 12 months of selling him. From the Champions League to the Spanish second division, Malaga will certainly be hoping history does not repeat itself.
For Arsenal his availability was like manna from heaven, they stole a march on other clubs to take pole position in the race for his signature a close out a deal. He was signed for £18.5 million, but in actual fact his true value is closer to £25 million
The Spaniard has been every bit as impressive as billed, upon his arrival at the Emirates. He has looked lively from the first whistle on his debut, and scored a goal and laid on an assist to fellow new boy Lukas Podolski as the Gunners coolly dispatched Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield, no mean feat.
Malaga's owners maintain they are in it for the long haul, and their reluctant action in selling their star man has been worthwhile financially. Just this week they said they were fully committed and at no point have tried to sell the club, instead new practices and structures have been put in place which will help it avoid future problems.
How successful that will be, is unclear, after all, the sequence of events and desperate sale could not have been foreseen last season.
For Arsenal it was a pleasant scenario. The hunted turned the hunter, Arsenal so used to reluctantly selling their star players, turned predator and bought wisely. It may have had more satisfaction for supporters had it been Manchester City's project on the brink of collapse, but Malaga's allowed them to bring in Cazorla. Perhaps it was a twist of fate which was just meant to be.
He is so highly rated by Arsenal fans, that in a poll on our website this week 75 per cent of voters said they would rather have the Spaniard than Cesc Fabregas, who expressed disappointment at a lack of playing time at Barcelona this week. And that is after just three games.
Imagine the impact he will have had on them when the season is over. It may just turn out to be one of the most significant and fortuitous signings of recent times.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald