Arsenal hand Wenger a ‘substantial’ transfer kitty
Frenchman has no excuse for scrimping after Ivan Gazidis says he has money and senior backing
It was the one reason Arsenal fans would always cite for their club's limited activity in the transfer window: lack of cash. But now, after Arsenal's chief executive Ivan Gazidis declared that the club has "substantial" funds and no philosophical issue with buying big, Arsene Wenger's transfer policy has nothing to hide behind.
"Financially, we're in a strong position," Gazidis said according to the Guardian. "We have resources to spend. We're certainly not sitting there saying 'Let's hold back on our resources for some reason.' Why would we? The resources are there."
He continued: "If we found an established, world-class player and we thought the economics made sense and he would add to what we could do on the pitch, then there's no philosophical objection to that."
These sentiments appear to run counter to Wenger's policy over the last half decade – to buy young, to nurture talent for the future rather than break the bank bringing in experience. But, says Gazidis, that perception simply isn't true: "Arsene has no point of principle to show the world that he can build his own team of young players. That's just not the way it is."
Arsenal fans hearing Gazidis' words may have cause for scepticism. If the money really is there, why is it not being spent on keeping Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, Arsenal's senior players who appear intent on leaving this summer? Moreover, with only the untested Gervinho and the teenager Carl Jenkinson coming in, are there actually more signings in the pipeline?
Yes, according to Gazidis. "We still will be active in this window," he said. "We haven't finished our business at all. We're just not conducting it publicly. We're working hard privately. We understand where the weaknesses have been."
Despite the show of financial muscle, the chief executive did admit that, when it comes to rivalling club football's biggest spenders, Arsenal simply can't compete.
"[Our resources are] not there to compete with the Manchester Citys of this world," he said, "and, frankly, if they were, Manchester City would just increase their bids again. You're just never going to be able to compete with limitless amounts of money but we've got a substantial amount of money that we can invest."
Nonetheless, Gazidis message is clear – Wenger has the money and the backing of the board to spend big if he wants. Whether the Frenchman chooses to pay the premium for experience remains to be seen.