Don't expect big signings - Gazidis tempers Arsenal expectations

By Avenell Dave

I never cease to be impressed by Ivan Gazidis.

In only 18 months he has transformed the business management of the club while maintaining the 'Bank of England' principles which have served Arsenal so well.

It's so easy when we get frustrated by sub-standard performances and players seemingly showing a lack of desire to crave half a team.

I for one would quite happily see half a dozen new faces and as many departures, but this is real life, not Championship Manager.

In the passion of the season and the build up of expectation and subsequent dismay, the lack of success hurts ever deeper.

But at the Arsenal Supporters Trust Q&A on Monday, Gazidis spelt it out in eloquent terms which put it all into perspective.

It's simple, Addicts: Arsenal will not spend beyond their means.

Arsenal will not go into debt to sign a player and they will not engage in attracting loans or donations from benefactors.

Remember, Arsenal don't pay dividends so everyone who owns a share of Arsenal actually gets no income from the club's profits.

If a player comes to Arsenal for even £10m, he's going to want a pay rise and that puts him in the £2-3m bracket. Times that by a four year contract and already you're looking at £20m+ for a single player.

Of course, it doesn't help when certain board members - particularly Peter Hill-Wood and Danny Fiszman come out and claim we have a bigger war chest than may actually be the case and hopefully that is a lesson learnt.

It puts added pressure on Wenger to spend when he, as the public face of the club, bears the brunt of fan fury when things don't go well.

The fact is, if I understood Gazidis correctly, that Wenger doesn't have a war chest as such.

The board and he work together on most aspects of the club but it is up to Le Boss to come up with player targets who the club then go after.

The appointment of new legal and HR directors will in time take some of the focus of that aspect of amangement away from Wenger, which can only be a good thing.

With UEFA bringing in new rules to ensure clubs only spend what they earn (which Gazidis surprisingly revealed is even supported by Ch*vski), Arsenal will continue to be in a strong financial position.

That means little, of course, if the trophies don't start coming and getting the balance between the domestic cups and the Premier League and Champions League is something that we all know needs to be addressed.

We pay for potential when we sign up young players to inflated contracts - because everyone wants young players with talent and if you let their contracts run down, they go elsewhere and we get next to nothing for them.

I for one would rather not see another Andy Cole slip through the net.

Apart from his openness and honesty, what really impressed me about Gazidis was how conciliatory he was on Monday.

He accepted that the club doesn't do everything right, that in terms of matchday experience, training, contracts and everything else, there is always room for improvement.

Like any top class CEO, Gazidis is always looking for that fraction of a percentage that will move the club forward - and that is to be applauded.

Would I like to see us sign Joe Hart, Jerome Boateng, Mamadou Sakho, Karim Benzema and Angel Di Maria? Of course I would.

But when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, there is trouble ahead for M*nure, Liverpool and perhaps even Citeh and Ch*vski if their owners get bored.

Arsenal's major shareholders are custodians of the club, not owners and as such, no one person (at present) can take the club in a different direction.

We need to improve. No doubt. But of the 200 fans at the AST meeting last night, I suspect only one or two came away wishing the club gambled with its future for short term gain.