Ivan Gazidis’s Chief Exective Report as financial results released

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Ivan Gazidis had this to say about the financial results – released this evening.

Arsenal Holdings plc Chief Executive’s Report

Our journey as football fans will always feature a mix of strong emotions – that emotional connection is what makes our sport so compelling.

Last season we felt the disappointment of dropping out of the top four in the Premier League for the first time in 20 seasons yet we added to our club’s great history by winning the Emirates FA Cup for the third time in four years. That run of league consistency in an era of fierce competition was unprecedented and the joy of lifting the FA Cup for a record 13thtime (and the manner in which we won it) is undimmed and should bring us great
pride.

But we are Arsenal and expectations quite rightly run very high. Our overarching aim is to compete for and win trophies and, in particular, to win the Premier League. It is that goal which informs all the decisions we make across the Club, on and off the pitch.

In order to compete at the top, we need to strive to be better than our competitors in everything we do. That is why during the past season we have continued to make substantial investments to drive the club forward in areas such as analytics, scouting, psychology and medical and fitness support as well as broad investments in our people capabilities throughout our Academy.

In addition we have transformed our training ground at London Colney, completed a total rebuild of our youth facilities at our Academy at Hale End and invested in a new Desso grass pitch for our youth and women’s teams at Boreham Wood. All our facilities are new state of the art. In total we will have spent £40 million on these building projects over the last three years, all with the aim of creating the optimal environment for us to develop and grow our players.

The development of our own players through our academy remains a priority for our football club. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Jeff Reine-Adelaide have progressed into the first team dressing room this season, joining the likes of Alex Iwobi, Hector Bellerin and Francis Coquelin who have recently made the same journey to become important members of our First Team squad. We have high hopes for other young players such as Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah, all of whom impressed on the pre-season tour to Sydney, Shanghai and Beijing.

At the top of the pyramid, we have also scaled up our investment in our First Team squad significantly in recent years, spending a net £203 million in transfer fees in the last three seasons (including a record £103 million last summer alone). This is coupled with an increase in our wage bill from £166 million to £199 million in the same period.

With few notable outward transfers during this period, our squad size had grown and we therefore had two major objectives for the summer transfer window. To add to the squad only where we could improve the quality of the players available to our manager – quality over quantity – and to reduce our overall squad size.

To that end, we secured Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette, our two primary targets for this transfer window. We also transferred or loaned a number of squad players to enhance the efficiency of our spending, to generate transfer revenue for reinvestment into the team and in some cases (for example, as in the case of Emi Martinez) to aid their development.

At the same time, we retained Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil and promoted new young talent from our Academy pipeline into the first team. These decisions, taken as a whole, have again strengthened our squad for this season’s competitions. We will continue this long term approach of progressively reinvesting all our available revenue in our playing resources as we look forward.

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