Arsenal putting success before money, says Ivan Gazidis
By Richard Cooke
Last Updated: 27/10/17 7:18am
Arsenal's decision not to sell Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the summer proves they are putting on-field success above financial gain, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis.
It was reported last December that both players wanted to be paid the same as the Premier League's top earners, and neither of the pair are yet to sign new deals, meaning they can walk away for free at the end of the season.
That is something Arsene Wenger has said he is prepared to let happen, providing Ozil and Sanchez contribute to success in the interim.
It is a strategy that has the backing of the board and Gazidis insists it shows that the club is not solely concerned with the bottom line.
Answering questions at the Arsenal's annual general meeting on Thursday, he 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."
The AGM at the Emirates Stadium was attended by around 200 shareholders, the majority of whom voted unsuccessfully against re-electing chairman Sir Chips Keswick or director Josh Kroenke in a rare move to show their unhappiness with the set-up.