Belfast Telegraph

Gazidis defends recruitment policy

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis admits his club will never be able to compete with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City in the transfer market but believes Arsene Wenger's focus on developing young players is the correct way to run a football club.

The Gunners are enduring arguably their worst season under Wenger since he took over as manager 16 years ago. They are fifth in the Barclays Premier League and look set to miss out on Champions League football next term unless their form improves in the rest of the season.

Wenger infuriated sections of the Arsenal support by refusing to bring in a marquee signing last summer despite selling Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas for a combined fee of over £50million. Gazidis told Fox: "It (our model) does mean we can't afford to compete with oil money, and we can't afford to compete with super-wealthy individuals from Russia."

He added: "But I think the more important thing about our model is that it's sustainable.

"If we've learned anything from the world's economic crisis, it has to be that football clubs need to have responsibility - not just for today, but for their own futures.

"And our business model means that we can continue to do what we're doing forever.

"Our focus is always on young players, we've got a fantastic development system and still there are young players coming through consistently from our youth ranks and that'll continue to be the way Arsenal do things.

"We play football in a certain way, a little bit different to everyone else and we develop our team (in a way) that's a little bit different to everybody else.

"Yes, we can't afford to spend £50-70million on an individual player. But, we're proud of the way we do things, and we're proud of the results that we're able to produce from that.

"Of course there's anxiety when clubs are spending the kind of money they're spending. We don't believe that's sustainable for the long term. We think that has to come to an end. UEFA agrees with us and is bringing limits on spending in (the Financial Fair Play initiative), and we'll continue to do things the way we do them."

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