Gunners aiming high ahead of PSV clash
Arsenal are setting their sights on going one better than last season by winning their first Champions League title, after hearing they will face old foes PSV Eindhoven in the first knockout stage.
Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein is not setting too much store in his club's recent Champions League history against PSV, as he looks forward to this season's tie - to be played over two legs, starting in late February.
'PSV have done very well, and it will not be easy,' he predicted.
'But it was the same last year - at this stage of the competition they are all good teams.'
Asked about the Gunners' familiarity with their opponents, he told Sky Sports: 'Teams change year on year, so it is never quite as simple as you think.'
Dein is optimistic nonetheless that Arsene Wenger's team will once again prove their mettle as they set their sights on a second successive final, at Athens on May 23 this time round.
'We want to win the Champions League and we came very close last season. This time we want to go one better,' he said.
'This is a competition we have never won before - and we are determined to win it.'
Dein has no doubt Wenger has assembled a squad - despite their struggle to keep tabs on United and Chelsea at home - capable of taking on the best in Europe.
'Arsene is very confident with the boys he has,' he said. 'The team is evolving nicely, and we have to continue the start we have made to the tournament.
'If we keep everybody together these are very exciting times for the club.'
Dein has also claimed football is being distorted by transfer risks and reckless spending on player wages.
Dein, who is also head of the elite clubs grouping G14, has warned that the current wave of foreign takeovers of English clubs is going to continue - but that the new owners must run the sides as proper businesses.
He told PA Sport: 'The situation with takeovers is here and it's going to continue. As long as they are run on proper business lines as sustainable businesses we have not got a problem with it.
'It's where money which has nothing to do with football is thrown at it, then it distorts the market, both in salaries and in transfers.
'A club with gates of 60,000 will obviously generate more money than a club with 30,000 gates and if you are more successful you get more money from television and sponsorship.
'It's where someone just says 'here's another £50million, here's another £100million, just go and have a good time' that does create a problem.'
Chelsea, Manchester United, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, and most recently West Ham are the Barclays Premiership clubs who have recently been taken over by foreign owners, while Liverpool are expected to be taken over by the ruler of Dubai.
Dein was careful not to mention any names, but said Arsenal would stick to their policy of investing in youth and scouring the world for talent.
He added: 'We just have to be cleverer than that and do it, which we do in our own way.
'We make sure it's a sustainable business. We want it to be as even as we can but certainly in situations where people do throw a lot of money at it, it's something we have to deal with.'
Dein said he would accept a UEFA-backed proposal to limit spending to a proportion of a club's revenue - but only if it was universally respected and enforced.
He said: 'It's difficult to know what to do about it. People talk about salary caps, or caps on the size of the squad or salaries depending on the income of the club and that's fine so long as everybody respects it.
'It's a world game and it's no good just the English clubs respecting it.
'If that's the rule that everyone agrees, to accepts, understands and above all respects then let's get on with.
'But everyone has to sign up to it and really mean that when the traffic lights are red you stop, and if you go through you pay the consequences.'