Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has claimed that the club put success before profit with their decision not to sell Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in the summer.
Both Sanchez and Ozil are into the final years of their contracts at the club but they ended up staying beyond the closure of the summer transfer window and there is a possibility that they could leave on free transfers at the end of the season.
Gazidis used the examples as evidence of how Arsenal’s policy has changed since they sold Robin Van Persie to Manchester United in the final year of his contract in 2012.
As reported by Sky Sports, Gazidis, speaking at Arsenal’s general meeting, said: “You don’t always have a choice of where you sell a player, nor do you have control of whether a player extends with you or what demands his agent makes.
“From the outside, none of this information is going to be in the public domain. That leads to pressure and criticism.
“Those on the outside don’t know the dynamics, don’t know the demands being made, don’t know the constraints.
“Probably the most vocal criticism we have ever had at an AGM was after we had transferred Robin van Persie (to Manchester United) in the last year of his contract.
“That was one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make and we were told then we were financially motivated and not focused on football. This summer, with stronger underlying financials, we have taken a different tack.
“The decision on Alexis and Mesut Ozil are certainly not decisions that fit the narrative that we put money first. We have taken that approach to give the club the best possible chance to compete for trophies this season.”
Gazidis’ claim would certainly be undermined if Arsenal were to lose one or both of Sanchez and Ozil when the transfer window re-opens in January.
As they demonstrated with splendid displays in the 5-2 victory over Everton last weekend, Sanchez and Ozil remain Arsenal’s standout players when at their very best, even though neither of them have been able to perform consistently so far this season.
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