Despite missing out on Thomas Lemar on deadline day and seeing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain leave the club for rivals Liverpool despite Arsene Wenger’s desire to keep him, Arsenal’s transfer window has been declared a success by chief executive Ivan Gazidis.
Arsenal signed £52m striker Alexandre Lacazette and defender Sead Kolasinac, who arrived on a free transfer, during the summer, with a number of players heading in the opposite direction out of the Emirates Stadium door. Gabriel Paulista, Kieran Gibbs and Wojciech Szczesny joined Oxlade-Chamberlain in leaving the club that when combined raised more than £60m in transfer fees, though it has left Wenger’s squad looking thin on quality options – particularly in midfield.
The north London club attempted to sign Monaco striker Lemar on the final day of the transfer window, although their accepted £92m offer was suddenly withdrawn over a dispute about who the France international wanted to join following interest in Liverpool.
But despite the difficulties in landing new players and the acceptance that £40m for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was in the final year of his contract, was too good to turn down, Gazidis informed players and staff at the club that the window can be regarded as a success.
“At the end of the window, reviewing all activity, we have once again improved the depth and quality of the squad,” wrote Gazidis in a club-wide email.
He did, however, admit that the heavy 4-0 defeat by Liverpool the weekend before the window shut affected how fans viewed the club’s business, given it left a bad feeling among supporters.
“Everything is coloured by results... a positive performance at Liverpool would have coloured this transfer window very differently,” Gazidis added.
“We have had a poor start to the season but have the quality to turn it around and turn around performances and compete for the title.”
Part of Gazidis’ assessment of the successful summer was keeping Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil, albeit against the former’s will, after Manchester City attempted to sign the Chile international in a £60m deal that would have funded Arsenal’s move for Lemar.
Wenger has been defiant in his insistence that neither Sanchez or Özil would be sold this summer, even though they will be available for nothing at the end of the season if they decide not to sign a contract extension. And when mentioning the image of the club following the drawn-out transfer saga involving Sanchez, Gazidis claimed that any suggestion of the club caring only about money was “simply nonsense”.
“[Keeping Sanchez and Özil] 'was a clear statement of our ambitions and should help refute suggestions we are just about the money,” he said. “That is simply nonsense.”
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