Football

'We can win the title'

Arsenal CEO Gazidis insists 'disciplined' approach to transfers will not hurt chances

Arsenal will only spend money when they deem it necessary, as chief executive Ivan Gazidis believes the club now have a squad good enough to win the Premier League for the first time since 2004.

The Gunners finished a distant second to champions Leicester City last season, despite sitting top of the table at the turn of the year.

It means Arsene Wenger has not won the league since the memorable unbeaten 2003/04 campaign.

Since then, they have been left behind as the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City spent big in their quest for trophies.

But Arsenal themselves have plenty of money, with fans left angered by the revelation in February that there is well in excess of £100 million ($179m) in cash reserves.

Despite that, Wenger did not recruit a single outfield player last summer, buying goalkeeper Petr Cech from Chelsea, before adding midfielder Mohamed Elneny from Basel during the January transfer window.

This year, he has brought in Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka for a hefty fee similar to those paid in recent summers for Mesut Oezil and Alexis Sanchez.

But Gazidis has warned supporters not to expect an influx of big-money buys as they watch their rivals splash the cash.

"This approach, for us, gives us a very, very powerful balance because it's not just about spending money but also about how you spend your money and doing it wisely," Gazidis told ESPN.

"It's about having a strong core philosophy and values within the club that players buy into and our fans can be proud of.

"These are all things that lead to success, and when you look at Arsenal over the last four or five years, there's no question that the squad have been progressing in strength.

"We've got a squad now that we believe are capable of competing to win the Premier League. We came in second last year, which was disappointing. But we're on the right track."

Arsenal, who face Lens in their first pre-season friendly this morning (Singapore time) before flying for two matches in the United States, now have the financial muscle to compete for the biggest names following years of being beaten to the punch as they continued to pay off their move to the Emirates Stadium.

YOUNG TALENT

But Gazidis insists they will continue with their policy of believing in their young talent and do not operate to a model that would see them match the money being spent by rivals with wealthy backers.

"We're making progress in what is a fiercely competitive world, against competitors that have the capability to spend far more money than we do," he said.

"We're doing it by being very, very disciplined; spending money where we believe it makes a difference, but also giving young players a chance and believing in ourselves and our values."

Arsenal have signed young Japan striker Takuma Asano as well as Xhaka but, given the belief in the current squad, there may be no further additions to Wenger's attacking options despite a long-term injury to Danny Welbeck and both Olivier Giroud and Sanchez set to miss the start of the season following international exertions.

Yesterday, Arsenal confirmed the signing of England Under-21 defender Rob Holding from League One side Bolton. The 20-year-old came through the ranks at Bolton before breaking into the first team 12 months ago and immediately went on to establish himself in the side.

Bolton finished bottom of the Championship as they dropped down to the third tier but that did not stop Holding picking up the club's Player of the Season award.

The versatile defender was their third summer acquisition, but both the fee and the length of the contract were undisclosed. - PA Sport.

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