Gazidis on success, and the clubs that have inspired football

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Ivan Gazidis spoke to Sky Sports last night ahead of our 4-3 win over Leicester City.

The Arsenal chief executive was interviewed by Gary Neville about Arsene Wenger, which was stuff we’re heard before, but he was also asked about what success is for Arsenal for the new season.

“Success for Arsenal always has to be to compete,” he said. “That means first and foremost to compete in the Premier League. And that means to compete right at the top, to win the Premier League.

“We haven’t been close enough in recent years, and we want to close that gap. So the first thing is to recognise there is a gap between where we are and where we want to be, and to take steps.

“Some of it is in the transfer market, but there’s an awful lot of work as well this summer that’s gone on behind the scenes.

“We’re bringing through some really good young talent, and we’ve got reason to be optimistic and confident about the transfer market.”

Then Neville asked him about how Arsenal as a club look to cope with an ever more expensive transfer market, in the wake of Neymar’s move to PSG etc, and the man who just a few years ago spoke often about our ability to compete with the biggest clubs in Europe now seems to have reassessed our position in the pecking order.

“You know it’s almost a separate narrative now, the summer transfer window, you know where football matches are won and lost by the amount of money that’s spent,” said Gazidis.

“But one of the great things about the sport, one of the things we can all love and cherish about is that it still comes down to 11 players and what they do on the football pitch.

“I think a lot of the inspiration successful stories in football over the last few years have actually been clubs who aren’t the big money spenders.

“Leicester City, how they did what they did. Monaco, moving away from a big spending policy towards youth and producing one of the most exciting teams in Europe last year.

“Other stories, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Dortmund, Red Bull Leipzig – these clubs have been fantastic inspirations.

“And I do think in the end money certainly has its place in the sport, and I’m not saying it’s not important, but I do think if you’re imaginative, creative, if you’re progressive, if you have a vision, you can be successful in that world.”

So, forget ‘we can compete with Bayern Munich’, we’re now being asked to look at the greatest fluke in Premier League history as a model for us.

You can see his point – to an extent – with a couple of the other clubs, but Leicester? Pfffff.

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