The Gazidis Q and A: Will Arsenal finally back up the promises?

Arsenal’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis didn’t tell us much we didn’t already know in his annual question and answer session with fans last night.

Gazidis set himself up for a potentially very big fall based on his recent comments about Arsenal’s imminent financial power and what they’re capable of in the summer transfer window.

Arsenal fans probably went along to the Q and A session thinking; we’ve heard it all before and determined to get further insight into future potential after paying more than ever before to watch their team play.

So what did he actually say in key areas that will interest the majority of Arsenal fans.

On the club’s ability to attract the best players

“We think we can extend our revenues to around the £300m mark - which is about what Bayern Munich make - If we make the right decisions, there is no reason why we can’t compete at the same level as them,” said the chief executive.

Not the best start as he seems to have dodged the question with that answer. The issue isn’t becoming like Bayern Munich in a financial sense, it’s more about Arsenal’s status and standing in the game and how top players view them.

Any club could get a new owner in tomorrow and have the same financial pulling power as Bayern Munich but it doesn’t mean they have the same power when it comes to attracting players.

On Wenger’s spending this summer

“He is not afraid to pay world class money for world class talent. We have never said that there was an absolute [wage] structure,” said Gazidis.

Nothing new there. It’s always been a policy of Wenger’s to only sign players he think will evolve his team and provide something more than what he already has available. It doesn’t seem to be an issue in terms of the wages the club can offer.

On selling RVP to Manchester United

“Our motivation was not to pocket £24m [the sale of Robin van Persie], it was a decision about how best to develop our team’s potential - Financial incentives weren’t all that was important to him,” he added.

That’s a fair enough comment. Van Persie moved because he wanted to win silverware and once he’d made his mind up, there was nothing the club could do to stop him from leaving.

The point which creates the aggravation is the fact it was United the Gunners sold to but Gazidis has indicated it could have been any side and he still would have been sold.

On the speed over which Arsenal approach transfers

“The last couple of windows haven’t been easy. We’ve lost players which has made planning difficult. If you have an unlimited budget, it’s easier to do,” he said.

Again, another very sensible and straight up answer. Arsenal have only just stopped paying debts towards the Emirates stadium, which has always been something they have had to factor into their budget.

Now they have more financial power, they should be able to sign the bigger players and cope with the bigger losses much quicker, which will give them a chance to snap up high profile players in short periods of time.

All in all he seems very honest and very realistic and optimistic about what Arsenal can achieve but the fans will point to the saying of ‘we’ve heard it all before’.

What do you make of Gazidis’ Q and A session? How do you see the summer panning out?

image: © markusunger

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