Chief Talks About Summer Re-Think
Arsenal director Josh Kroenke says the manner of the side’s defeat in the Europa League Final in May led to a re-think over this summer’s transfer policy.
The Gunners were among the Premier League’s big spenders during the close season with a spend of over £100 million. It had been thought that without Champions League football at the Emirates for a third successive year the budget would have been around £45 million.
But in an interview with the BBC, Kroenke says the second half of the Europa League Final defeat to Chelsea, where the side conceded four times in a 4-1 defeat, led to a re-assessment of the club’s targets.
“We knew we wouldn’t have Champions League football and that’s what those type of talents are after. My main message to Vinai [Venkatesham, managing director] and Raul [Sanllehi, head of football] coming back from Baku on the plane and then throughout meetings all day the following day with them and Unai [Emery, head coach], was: Let’s be aggressive and find out what’s possible”, said Kroenke.
“These guys went out into the market place and – through their contacts and our fantastic new team behind the scenes – were able to find some talented players who are really excited about playing for Arsenal Football Club.
“I think we had a very strong summer. We addressed certain areas on the pitch for this season and in the years ahead. We had certain age profiles that we were after. Without Champions League football we weren’t exactly sure, but I encouraged our football operations department to be aggressive and when Arsenal Football Club knocks on a player’s door it’s a different knock.
“This summer, even though we weren’t in a position of strength coming out of Baku, I think there were a few people caught off guard that Arsenal Football Club still has the aura that it does. We’re excited to keep pushing that now and into the future.”
Arsenal signed winger Nicolas Pepe for a club-record fee of £72 million while Dani Ceballos arrived on loan from Real Madrid. But the Gunners also signed David Luiz and Kieran Tierney. William Saliba arrived but was sent back to St Etienne for the season while the transfer of Gabriel Martinelli was agreed before the end of last season.
Part of the expenditure was recouped through the sales of Alex Iwobi, Krystian Bielik, Laurent Koscielny, David Ospina, Dominic Thompson, Xavier Amaechi and Carl Jenkinson and through sell-on clauses related to Ismael Bennacer and Jeff Reine-Adelaide.