Saturday 15 December 2018

Arsenal increase summer transfer budget to £70m in early boost for Unai Emery

New Arsenal manager Unai Emery (right) with chief executive Ivan Gazidis
New Arsenal manager Unai Emery (right) with chief executive Ivan Gazidis

Matt Law

Unai Emery has received an early boost to his Arsenal career after majority shareholder Stan Kroenke agreed to release an extra £20million in transfer funds.

Arsenal had set a £50m restriction on their transfer budget, discounting money made on sales, but Telegraph Sport understands that figure has now increased to around £70m.

It is understood that Kroenke himself gave the green light to provide Emery with a bigger budget than initially expected in a bid to help Arsenal’s new head coach as much as possible.

Arsenal will still need to bring significant money in through sales to be able to compete with their rivals in this summer’s transfer market, but the extra cash has been welcomed by Emery.

Head of recruitment Sven Mislintat will work closely with Emery on transfers under Arsenal’s new set-up and the pair have already started to identify targets.

Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, whose contract contains a £26m release clause, is admired by Emery along with Sampdoria’s Dennis Praet, who has been strongly linked with Juventus.

Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu had been targeted by Mislinat and Arsenal before Emery’s appointment, as was Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Emery claimed he only intends to make small changes to his squad before the start of next season, but Arsenal particularly want to strengthen their defence and midfield.

The former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla manager has also promised to use Arsenal’s young players and, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis, Emery is already a fan of Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

“What was really impressive was when you scratched the surface to go deeper and deeper and deeper,” said Gazidis.

“If we were speaking about one of our young players, if we targeted Ainsley Maitland-Niles for example, Unai knows Ainsley.

“He’s watched him, he’s familiar with his patterns of play, his capabilities, he’s very excited about his potential and was able to talk about how excited he was to work with Ainsley, to develop him as a player.

“Very specifically, when you asked the follow-up question and the follow-up question and the follow-up question, you’d get more and more depth about how exactly he would do that, exactly how him and his team would work with an individual player to develop them into the best player they can possibly be and also within the team dynamic.

“There are a lot of platitudes in the game of football, a lot, and people can speak at a surface level very easily to sound confident and impressive.

“What’s impressive to me is when you scratch through that and you get deeply involved in what exactly they mean.”

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