Monday 19 November 2018

Arsenal fans vent fury following latest comments from Gunners chief Ivan Gazidis

Ivan Gazidis, left, and Arsene Wenger
Ivan Gazidis, left, and Arsene Wenger
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has admitted his club “can’t afford to outgun competitors that have far more money” in the transfer market, in comments that have sparked a fiesty the club’s supporters.

With a huge cash surplus in the bank and promises that Arsenal would compete for the game’s top talent when they had paid off the debts incurred by their move to Emirates Stadium in 2006.

A decade on and manager Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board have often suggested they are not in a position to compete for the game’s top stars, with the latest comments from Gazidis in a New York Times interview sparking a furious reaction from Gunners fans on Twitter.

“We would not be successful if we simply went out into the transfer market and tried to outgun our competitors,” stated Gazidis. “We’re run in a self-sustaining way, and a way that we believe in, because we believe it gives us certainty for the future, and enables us to plan our future with confidence.

“That means we can’t afford to make huge mistakes in the transfer market. We can’t afford to outgun competitors that have far more money to splurge on transfer fees than we do. So we have to be very careful, very selective about how we do things.

Gazidis went on to suggest there would be no “radical surprises” as they club look to add to their squad in the coming weeks, in a week that has seen Lyon confirm they turned down a €35m offer from the Gunners for their striker Alexandre Lacazette.

That offer is believed to be lower than the figure West Ham offered to try and sign the French striker earlier this summer, with Gazidis suggesting the club’s prudent transfer policy will only be justified if they starting winning the game’s top prizes.

“Validation comes with winning major trophies,” he stated. “So no, I don’t feel validated by consistency.

“I will feel validated when we’re able to win, and win by being true to our values and by playing great football. I think it’s a very high ambition for us — winning, and winning the right way — but we’re going to continue to strive toward that.

“We need to win the major titles, and we feel that pressure every day. And so for us, there is a sense of disappointment and frustration that last season we finished in second place. Second place isn’t what we’re aiming for. We’re aiming to win it.”

Gazidis went on to comment on the timing of Wenger’s retirement, with the Frenchman who has been in charge of Arsenal since 1996 about to enter the final year of his latest contract.

“We don’t have any sense of nostalgia,” he added. “Our support for Arsene Wenger is not based on the history of what he’s done for our football club, as extraordinary as that is.

“He remains massively engaged. He continues to think about not just short term but the long-term development of the club. He’s excited about the future, and we’re excited about our future with him.

“We’re very focused on the future. This is one of our core values is that we’re progressive and always moving forward. So what’s happened in the past is far less relevant to us as what’s happening as we look forward.”

The Gazidis interview has inspired this reaction on Twitter, with Gunners fan Piers Morgan predictably leading the chorus of annoyance:

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