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Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 13:34 UK

Arsenal put faith in youngsters

Ivan Gazidis
Gazidis says Arsenal are optimistic for the new season

Arsenal insist they are not prepared to join "football's graveyard" in pursuit of success, preferring instead to nurture their talented youngsters.

While their Premier League rivals seem happy to spend big, the Gunners have adopted a more frugal approach.

Manager Arsene Wenger has been keen to secure the futures of key players, with Thomas Vermaelen his only new signing.

"Simply spending money does not make a team or guarantee success," said chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

"We have followed a slightly different route to most and have built, not bought, a team that has players who are highly sought after and valued by the biggest and best clubs in the world. But we intend to keep them.

"The club, supported by the talents of Arsene Wenger, has embarked on a longer-term strategy of building its team rather than buying it.


"There is a football graveyard of clubs that have not adhered to these principles and have unfortunately suffered the consequences.

"Our responsibility is to build the club so that it can be successful, not just this season and next season, but also 10 and even 20 years from now."

On Wednesday, last season's top scorer Robin van Persie signed a new long-term deal to remain at the Emirates.

The Dutch striker joins youngsters Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs in pledging their futures to the North London club this summer.

Belgian defender Vermaelen signed from Ajax in a deal worth up to £10m in June and could be Wenger's only piece of business this summer.

However, Gazidis says there is no reason why Arsenal cannot be successful with their current squad and added that the fans have every reason to be optimistic for the new season.

"Sometimes, understandably, the public focus is on new signings, but, especially as the football world becomes more and more competitive for the best talent, re-signing a current member of the squad is as important as - actually, usually more important than - making a new signing.

Robin van Persie
Van Persie is one of four players to sign a new deal with Arsenal

"This is another indication that we are focused on keeping our best talent here and are building a strong foundation for the long-term success of the club."

He added: "Our young players have some very valuable high-level experience under their belts and will be one year older and better, mentally and physically.

"They will learn the lessons from last season and will be better players next year as a result.

"They are ready for the challenge, believe me.

"There are plenty of reasons to look forward to next season with optimism."

Gazidis' comments follow a decision by Arsenal's board to decide against a proposed rights issue put forward by the club's second biggest stakeholder, Alisher Usmanov.

The Russian argued the scheme would help reduce the club's debt and make more money available for transfers, but Gazidis said the club's current capital structure was "very efficient".

"With regard to players, the board decided not to issue permanent capital in the hopes of signing one or two players in an inflated transfer market.

"Instead, the focus continues to be on securing the services of talented young players we have on long-term contracts and making very selective acquisitions, only where a new signing will add real value to our already strong squad."

Usmanov responded: "We do not share their view but are prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment.

"However, we will keep the situation under close review and remain committed on behalf of interested parties in the club to ensure that there are sufficient financial resources for the club to succeed at the highest level.

"Also to win major honours such as the Premiership or Champions League, while operating within a self-sustaining financial model."

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see also
Van Persie signs new Arsenal deal
08 Jul 09 |  Arsenal
Juventus sign Arsenal target Melo
15 Jul 09 |  Arsenal
Gibbs extends contract at Arsenal
03 Jul 09 |  Arsenal
Wilshere extends Arsenal contract
02 Jul 09 |  Arsenal
Ramsey agrees new deal at Arsenal
01 Jul 09 |  Arsenal
Arsenal confirm Vermaelen signing
19 Jun 09 |  Arsenal
Wenger will have money to invest
14 May 09 |  Arsenal
Wenger vows to strengthen squad
10 May 09 |  Arsenal
Wenger transfer policy under fire
17 Apr 09 |  Arsenal
Arsenal need to strengthen - Dein
01 Feb 09 |  Arsenal
Arsenal promise cash for signings
28 Nov 08 |  Arsenal

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