Gazidis claims Arsenal 'looking for top-quality players'

Updated: 

Ivan Gazidis has defended Arsenal's transfer expenditure and the decision to reappoint Arsene Wenger, the chief executive insisting the club are seeking to sign major talents.

The subject of Wenger's future caused division among Gunners supporters last season, with many calling for the Frenchman to step down.

Failing to qualify for the Champions League did not help Wenger's cause, but the 67-year-old led the team to an unexpected FA Cup final triumph over Chelsea.

It was announced late in May that Wenger had agreed a new two-year deal to remain in charge at Emirates Stadium, and chief executive Gazidis is adamant that was the right outcome. 

"It wasn't a sentimental decision," he said at a Q&A with supporters.

"It was a mutual one."

Gazidis insisted sufficient funds have been made available to strengthen the squad.

"We spent an unprecedented amount. Over £110million during that summer," he said, referring to the previous close season.

"We signed one of the players in the Bundesliga team of the season," he added, referring to the arrival last year of Granit Xhaka, who struggled for consistency and suffered from on-field disciplinary problems in his first campaign in north London.

"We're looking for top-quality players.

"We've got three times as many scouts as we had four years ago.

"I believe that to be a world-class football club you've got to be world class off the pitch.

"I care about the club and those values. I want the club to be successful."

And the chief executive was also required to justify the motivations of Arsenal's majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

"He hasn't put debt on the football club," Gazidis said.

"He's been nothing but supportive.

"If you think it's all about money, there are far more easier ways than owning sports teams.

"I think we do need a better connection with our fanbase.

"I was telling someone recently I hadn't had an hour of my time since the end of the season which wasn't about club business.

"The goal is to win things for this football club and do it in a way which is consistent with our club values."