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Arsenal chief claims 'most exciting' transfer strategy after record £145m spend

09:29 BST 02/09/2021
Albert Sambi Lokonga Ben White Mikel Arteta GFX Arsenal
Vinai Venkatesham concedes there is much work to be done at Emirates Stadium, but believes positive steps are being taken

Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham is encouraged by the club's record £145 million ($200m) spend during the summer transfer window and claims the Gunners will continue to scour the market for "Europe’s most exciting young talent".

Mikel Arteta is seeing questions asked following a pointless start to the 2021-22 Premier League campaign, but he has been backed by his board.

Deals have been done for Nuno Tavares, Ben White, Sambi Lokonga, Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale and Takehiro Tomiyasu - with all of those recruits aged 23 or younger.

What has been said?

In a message to club staff at Arsenal, Venkatesham said: "Of course, I write this update against the backdrop of a hugely disappointing start to the season. I know how tough this is for all of you, both as supporters and employees, with criticism coming from all angles.

"At times like this it is critical we stick together and stay positive. We have a very important run of games coming up after the international break and I’m confident we can and will come out fighting."

He added: "Our approach for this window was framed by fully recognising that we are not where we want to be on the pitch - finishing eighth last season, with no European football for the first time in many years.

"This is well below the standards each of us all have, and of course that our fans rightly demand of us, which is to be competing for the biggest trophies in the game.

"While we would love to jump from where we are to where we want to be in an instant, we need to be realistic that the gap is too large to do that. As such, our activity this window has been focused on youth.

"Our strategy is to fill our squad with some of Europe’s most exciting young talent, with players from both our academy and further afield, that can grow and develop together under Mikel to take us where we want to get to.

"While this will not be overnight, we can make positive progress, and it gives us the best route to future success in a sustainable way.

"Although covid and no European football bring financial challenges, our owners, Stan and Josh Kroenke, have sanctioned very significant investment this transfer window in support of our strategy.

"This has included signing Nuno Tavares (21), Ben White (23), Sambi Lokonga (21), Martin Odegaard (22), Aaron Ramsdale (23) and Takehiro Tomiyasu (22), as well as renewing deals with Emile Smith-Rowe (21) and Kieran Tierney (24). All of these players are signed on long-term contracts."

Can Arsenal turn things around?

The Gunners have suffered three defeats at the start of a new domestic season, with Arteta's side conceding nine goals without scoring. This sorry run of results leaves the big-spending outfit rooted to the foot of the Premier League table.

Arteta is under ever-increasing pressure, with the Spaniard struggling to convince in a demanding role. That needs to begin when returning to action after the international break with a home date against fellow strugglers Norwich.

A trip to Burnley and a Carabao Cup third round clash with AFC Wimbledon will follow that tie, before a potentially make-or-break derby with Tottenham on September 26.

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