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Oct 10, 2012

Gazidis: Arsenal primed for success

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has described Arsene Wenger's transfer policy as "extraordinarily brave" in a BBC Five Live interview and reassured the supporters that "the time for patience is coming to an end".

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With the Gunners not having won a trophy since 2005, Wenger has been regularly criticised for a perceived reluctance to invest in big-money signings. There have been numerous high-profile departures during that time, with Robin van Persie and Alex Song both departing the club in the summer.

Van Persie had said before his move that he "disagrees" with Wenger and Gazidis over club policy, and that led Arsenal's second-biggest shareholders, Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri, to write to owner Stan Kroenke in July speaking of "deep reservations" over the "tight" financial approach that necessitated Wenger "selling his best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements".

Gazidis, though, feels Wenger has shown a mastery of the transfer market and that his refusal to bow to the pressure to spend is to his credit.

"I don't think Arsene is conservative," he told BBC Five Live. "I think he is extraordinarily brave. I think he does things others don't do and sees things others don't see. Arsene is not fixed on the price of a player in assessing a player's value - he will look with equal weight at a young player who is coming through the Arsenal academy and a player that might be available with a very hefty price tag from overseas.

"He is not afraid to spend money when he believes in a player and sees a player he thinks can kick us forward but he is not obsessed with the security that a big transfer fee might give him."

He added: "I think the time when we have to continue to ask them (Arsenal supporters) for patience is coming to an end and I think we will be able to deliver the kind of success they want on a consistent basis going forward as one of the leading clubs in Europe."

Wenger has been a vocal supporter of UEFA's Financial Fair Play plan, which is designed to ensure clubs live within their means, and Premier League clubs have held talks over self-imposed regulations. Gazidis believes Arsenal, who recently posted a healthy pre-tax profit, provide the example for other clubs to follow.

"Arsenal were operating this way a long time before football looked at it and decided it would be a good path for football to move into," he said. "The Premier League owners are coming together. I think there is a developing consensus around the fact we need some form of tighter financial regulations to make sure as we look forward that the interest of the Premier League, its clubs and the fans are well protected."

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