Exclusive: Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham calls for unity in message to club staff

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham has called on the club to stick together ahead of a crucial run of matches this month.

In a message sent to all Arsenal staff last night after the transfer window shut, and seen by Standard Sport, Venkatesham told employees to “stay positive” and said he was “confident we can and will come out fighting”.

Arsenal took their summer spending beyond the £140million mark with the £16m deadline-day signing of Japan defender Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna last night.

The club-record spend for a single transfer window is a show of faith in manager Mikel Arteta, but the pressure is now on the Spaniard to provide a return on that extravagant outlay.

Arsenal are bottom of the Premier League after three defeats in their first three games and have made their worst start to a season in 67 years.

The Gunners host Norwich in a bottom-of-the table clash on Saturday week before a vital run of fixtures against Burnley, AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup, north London rivals Tottenham and Brighton.

In his message, Venkatesham said: “Of course, I write this update against the backdrop of a hugely disappointing start to the season. I know how tough this is for all of you, both as supporters and employees, with criticism coming from all angles.

“At times like this it is critical we stick together and stay positive. We have a very important run of games coming up after the international break and I’m confident we can and will come out fighting.”

Fans have questioned the “project” at Arsenal, but Venkatesham has explained the club’s transfer strategy of signing promising players in their early twenties with room for improvement.

“Our approach for this window was framed by fully recognising that we are not where we want to be on the pitch — finishing eighth last season, with no European football for the first time in many years,” he added.

“This is well below the standards each of us all have, and of course that our fans rightly demand of us, which is to be competing for the biggest trophies in the game.

 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“Whilst we would love to jump from where we are to where we want to be in an instant, we need to be realistic that the gap is too large to do that. As such, our activity this window has been focused on youth.

“Our strategy is to fill our squad with some of Europe’s most exciting young talent, with players from both our academy and further afield, that can grow and develop together under Mikel to take us where we want to get to.

“Whilst this will not be overnight, we can make positive progress, and it gives us the best route to future success in a sustainable way.”

Arsenal were the biggest gross spenders in the Premier League during this summer transfer window and also failed to recoup large transfer fees from a planned clear-out of the squad.

 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

The £25m sale of Joe Willock to Newcastle was their biggest departure, and Venkatesham praised Arsenal’s owners, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, for their heavy investment.

“Although Covid and no European football bring financial challenges, our owners, Stan and Josh Kroenke, have sanctioned very significant investment this transfer window in support of our strategy,” he said.

“This has included signing Nuno Tavares (21), Ben White (23), Sambi Lokonga (21), Martin Odegaard (22), Aaron Ramsdale (23) and Takehiro Tomiyasu (22), as well as renewing deals with Emile Smith-Rowe (21) and Kieran Tierney (24).

“All of these players are signed on long-term contracts.”

Read More

Arsenal sign Takehiro Tomiyasu to take summer spending beyond £140m

Arsenal transfer window verdict: Record £142m spend to bring players in but not enough have gone

Mikel Arteta has five key games as pressure mounts at Arsenal after their dismal start

Pep Guardiola has ‘no doubts’ Mikel Arteta will turn things around at Arsenal

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting