Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Gazidis: Wenger will sign the players he wants -Real's £30m Higuain pricetag

Morning Gooners.

The chief executive's end of season Q&A took place at the Grove last night and proved to be an interesting event for all those interested in the running of the club. No other CEO at a major Premier League team engages with their supporters (customers) in this way, and for that Ivan Gazidis should be applauded.

However, having been to several of these events, they are all big on promise. Gazidis' tone has changed in this time. He is more accepting of the view that finishing fourth is not good enough for a club the size of Arsenal and not competing for the domestic cups with a wholehearted approach is a disappointment to fans.

And while the CEO is a smooth talker - always telling us things are going to be better - he is unable to deliver those promises with what goes on with the team on the pitch. For all the talk of cheaper pies and being sympathetic to safe standing and trying to ensure our away fans aren't hit with the highest ticket prices at every game they attend, he's unable to guarantee that the manager will spend the money available to him or  readjust his sights on what trophies should be our priorities.

The playing side of our club comes down to Arsene Wenger. And previously the manager has been left holding  the can for us not being able to spend in the transfer market. The board and the executive would tell anyone who was prepared to listen that the money was there for Wenger to spend. He just didn't want to spend it. However in reality - and this has finally started to be admitted by the club - the money was tight when we moved into the new stadium.

Now though with Gazidis wanting to push us to being the Bayern Munich of English football with revenues of £300m and the renewal of commercial deals, the money is there for Wenger to spend. This has been the message coming out of the club for weeks. It's down to the manager to spend the money. See a pattern forming?

The transfer war chest of more than £70m seems like a lot. But it's not when you're being pushed to paying £30m plus for Gonzalo Higuain then putting a wage package for the player on top of that. And who says we need to spend that type of money on a player?

Wenger's last four big buys have been Nacho Monreal, Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski. All costing around the £8m to £14m mark. All are good players who have added a depth to our squad.

Who wouldn't want Stevan Jovetic, Wayne Rooney, Gonzalo Higuain or Marouane Fellaini at Arsenal?

The manager has got to get the right balance and I trust him to pick players he thinks will make us a fighting force next season. But I won't hammer him if he doesn't spend £20m+ on a player. For me it's not about "big" signings. It's about making our squad more competitive and in turn allowing us to compete for all four trophies.

Gazidis said:
"The manager is not scared to spend money but he has to believe they are top-class players who will add to the squad. 
"Can I guarantee he will spend all of that money? It depends on the talent. The key is having players Arsene believes in, adding them to the squad and making sure he has a cohesive squad he believes in. 
"I accept we haven't done that over the last few years. We have essentially been very consistent – we haven't slipped backwards and we haven't gone forwards. We need to go forwards. 
"It is not enough to be watching a video of a last-minute scramble to get over the line into fourth place. No-one at this club wants that."
Everyone wants to see us change our targets. And while fourth place should always be a minimum requirement, it shouldn't be what we aim for. We do want to be fighting for the league and getting to the latter stages of the Champions League and domestic cups. But that's down to the manager changing his priorities and building a squad which is capable of doing that.

Adding a stellar signing of the likes of Gonzalo Higuain would be desirable. But now we've told the world the manager has got money to spend, is he going to get good value in the transfer market.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez wants us to cough up upwards of £30m for Higuain.

He said:
"With £25.5m it’s better that they don’t come. 
"Let’s see if people ask us for £50m for everyone and we sell one of ours for half that."
Of course we know Madrid like to play hard ball. So hopefully we can get a true valuation of the player when they finally appoint a new manager.

For all Gazidis talks a good game, it is Wenger who has got to juggle all the pieces. It seems as though everything is on him this summer. Let's hope he can cope with all the pressure and expectation.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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