Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal chief executive, pre-empted the grilling he is sure to receive from the Arsenal Supporters' Trust today by defending the club's transfer policy.
Gazidis sought to appease those frustrated by a lack of investment in the first team in recent seasons by insisting the club's main aim was still to win the Premier League title and even the Champions League. The worry in north London is that the summer could follow a similar pattern to last year, when Arsenal lost their captain, Cesc Fabregas, and Samir Nasri in late deals without either being sufficiently replaced.
Top scorer Robin van Persie's contract is an obvious concern with his value to the team undeniable – his goals alone earned Arsenal 26 points last season – but there are also concerns over Theo Walcott, whose £70,000-a-week deal is up at the end of the next season.
Lukas Podolski has already joined the club from Cologne in a £10.9m deal but supporters believe the club is continuing to fall behind the Manchester clubs, both on and off the field. Gazidis went on the attack yesterday by conducting an interview with Arsenal Media during which he, in part, attempted to address some of the questions which will be posed to him today by 300 members of AST in their annual end-of-season get-together at the Emirates Stadium.
"The good thing about this summer is that there is more certainty in terms of our Champions League position," he said. "We have acted early to get the critical signing in Lukas Podolski. I think the way that the window will pan out is with some activity before the Euros, particularly with respect to the European players who are playing, the quieter period while the Euros are actually taking place, and then a period of activity afterwards.
"We always try and conduct our activity as early as we can, everybody wants to do that. We want to win major competitions, we want to win the Premier League. We want to compete to win the Champions League and that is our ambition. That is what we are planning for during the course of the summer and everything we do is geared towards that, it is very simple."
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- Francesc Fabregas
- Premier League
- Robin Van Persie
- Stephen Carter
- Theo Walcott
- UEFA Champions League