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I’m excited to see what this group can do – Kroenke
Arsenal director Josh Kroenke has revealed conceding four goals in the second half of the Europa League final transformed the Gunners’ approach to recruitment this summer and praised club staff for “working their magic” in the transfer market.The Gunners lost 4-1 to Chelsea in Azerbaijan in May, consigning them to a third consecutive season outside the Champions League and limiting their spending power.But speaking to BBC Sport, Kroenke said the disappointment of Baku was a turning point that led Arsenal to become one of the Premier League’s biggest spenders this summer and raise expectations about their prospects for the campaign ahead.”As the second half of the match unfolded, understanding the position we were in and some of the targets as we headed into the summer from a transfer standpoint, we had to rethink some of our strategy based on that last 45 minutes,” said Kroenke.The club, owned by Kroenke’s billionaire father Stan, was criticised early in the summer by supporters’ groups who called on directors to “reinvigorate” the Premier League side with a new approach to player transfers.Speaking about the aftermath of the Europa League final and the change in transfer targets, Kroenke said: “We knew we wouldn’t have Champions League football and that’s what those type of talents are after. My main message to Vinai [Venkatesham, managing director] and Raul [Sanllehi, head of football] coming back from Baku on the plane and then throughout meetings all day the following day with them and Unai [Emery, head coach], was: ‘Let’s be aggressive and find out what’s possible’. “These guys went out into the market place and – through their contacts and our fantastic new team behind the scenes – were able to find some talented players who are really excited about playing for Arsenal Football Club.”I think we had a very strong summer. We addressed certain areas on the pitch for this season and in the years ahead. We had certain age profiles that we were after. Without Champions League football we weren’t exactly sure, but I encouraged our football operations department to be aggressive and when Arsenal Football Club knocks on a player’s door it’s a different knock.”This summer, even though we weren’t in a position of strength coming out of Baku, I think there were a few people caught off guard that Arsenal Football Club still has the aura that it does. We’re excited to keep pushing that now and into the future.”
Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceball
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