Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has claimed the Gunners made “a clear statement of our ambitions” by keeping Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, and denied that the club are too focused on profits.
Arsenal’s transfer window has been heavily panned by pundits after they sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool and had to pull the plug on a deal to sell Sanchez to Manchester City on deadline day after Monaco’s Thomas Lemar turned down a £92 million move to the Emirates Stadium.
That left Arsenal making a substantial profit this summer despite a club-record deal for Alexandre Lacazette, with free transfer Sead Kolasinac the only other player to join.
But Gazidis wrote an email to all Arsenal staff on Friday saying he wanted “to give some perspective on the transfer window amid all the hysteria.”
The email, which was first reported by the Daily Star, said the decision to keep Sanchez and Ozil despite them having just one year left on their contracts was “a clear statement of our ambitions and should help refute suggestions we are just about the money. That is simply nonsense.”
Arsenal also sold Kieran Gibbs, Wojciech Szczesny and Gabriel Paulista, while sending players including Lucas Perez, Carl Jenkinson and Joel Campbell out on loan in an effort to trim the squad.
But Gazidis said that the team is stronger now than last season, writing: “At the end of the window, reviewing all activity, we have once again improved the quality and depth of our squad.”
Gazidis attributed the storm of criticism to Arsenal’s poor start to the season, with a 1-0 loss at Stoke followed by a 4-0 drubbing at Liverpool before the international break.
“Everything is coloured by results,” he wrote. “A positive performance at Liverpool would have coloured this transfer window very differently.
“We have had a poor start to the season but have the quality to turn it around and turn around performances and compete for the title. It is time to get back to what it is all about, the football.
“The manager and players know that the performance at Anfield was not good enough and they will be focused to put that right after the international break.”
The statement comes amid a summer transfer review launched at Manchester’s Soccerex conference on Thursday that further highlights Arsenal’s problems in the transfer market and the stagnation within Arsene Wenger’s squad.
Mattias is ESPN FC’s Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.