It is widely accepted across football that Arsenal had one of the best transfer windows in the game, so how did that happen?
Despite having limited funds and missing out on Champions League football, they still managed to sign six players, four of whom were Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney.
Following defeat in Baku at the hands of Chelsea, where Arsenal had collapsed in front of their main goal for the season, depression reigned among Arsenal fans as we all pondered a further slide down the footballing hierarchy.
None of us saw the summer coming.
“As the second half of the match unfolded, understanding the position we were in and some of the targets as we headed into the summer from a transfer standpoint, we had to rethink some of our strategy based on that last 45 minutes,” Kroenke told Ornstein.
“We knew we wouldn’t have Champions League football and that’s what those type of talents are after. My main message to Vinai [Venkatesham, managing director] and Raul [Sanllehi, head of football] coming back from Baku on the plane and then throughout meetings all day the following day with them and Unai [Emery, head coach], was: ‘Let’s be aggressive and find out what’s possible’.
“These guys went out into the market place and – through their contacts and our fantastic new team behind the scenes – were able to find some talented players who are really excited about playing for Arsenal Football Club.
“I think we had a very strong summer. We addressed certain areas on the pitch for this season and in the years ahead. We had certain age profiles that we were after. Without Champions League football we weren’t exactly sure, but I encouraged our football operations department to be aggressive and when Arsenal Football Club knocks on a player’s door it’s a different knock.
“This summer, even though we weren’t in a position of strength coming out of Baku, I think there were a few people caught off guard that Arsenal Football Club still has the aura that it does. We’re excited to keep pushing that now and into the future.”
It certainly still seems to be a different knock. Arsenal offered less money than Tottenham for William Saliba and he chose us. Pepe’s agent claims five of the top European sides tried to sign his client this summer, but the forward picked Arsenal.
The Arsenal transfer team were creative and industrious. They played the media, fans, and opposing clubs like a fiddle.
As I’ve said many times before, and will continue to repeat, the best thing Ivan Gazidis did for Arsenal Football Club was hire Raul Sanllehi and then bugger off.
Just think, for a moment, how this summer could have gone had he still been in charge…
Finally, Kroenke addressed claims the club had been forced to act by the #wecaredoyou movement.
“I would say that if you’re reacting and doing club record signings based on public opinion, you’re not going to go very far as a club,” he said. “We weren’t reactive this summer, we were actually proactive.
“It was unfortunate that the summer unfolded publicly the way it did with some of the supporters groups. I tried to answer some of their concerns to the best of our ability.”