We had the chance to quiz Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham about our transfer targets this summer.
Find out what our head of football and managing director told Laura Woods in the transcript below:
LW: Raul, can you give us any hints on what areas you want to strengthen and what business you want to get done this summer?
RS: To an extent. I have to be careful and you have to understand that discretion is very important and if I now say I need this position, I’m already opening the market so I have to be very careful. What I can tell you is that we have identified very clearly and unanimously with our head coach and technical people, we know what we want to prioritise and we’re very clear on what our priorities are. We’re already in the market and we’re already talking with the people that can help us to cover those positions and I feel quite strong. It’s going well and the image that Arsenal has in the football world is very strong. Vinai was mentioning we’re a top world club and we are, so we need to go where we belong and that’s the Champions League. Many players really want us to be there also when we’re talking with them, but I feel quite strong on the inputs that I’m getting so far. I do believe that we have a very good plan to cover those positions to be much stronger next year to deliver the success that we’re all hoping for.
LW: You mention other players that you're focusing on also want to know or want to find out if you're going to be in the Champions League or not. Does that have a big effect, when you're in the market trying to identify players, this idea that actually next season it's not confirmed whether Arsenal will be a Champions League side?
RS: That's something that comes into the conversations. Fortunately enough, the image of Arsenal is strong enough. We are a reference in the football world, so when Arsenal knocks on the door of players it's a different knock than other clubs. Of course, the fact that we have not been in the Champions League for two years and we are in question marks now for the next year, that's not helpful. But again, the image of Arsenal is strong enough to help us build a case about all the model we are bringing up, the new era that we are bringing up. It's very exciting. The passion of the coach that is projecting to the team, it's seen by everybody in the football world. Not only internally, but externally. We're getting that a lot from players that we're talking to, that they really get that it's a nice place, that it's a very good place to be, Arsenal, in order to project a good football career. So we are building on that. Of course being in the Champions League is very helpful, because all players want to play in the ultimate competition. For us, if by any chance we would not be there next year - which I don't think is going to happen - but if that happened, our challenge would be to get in there immediately. Players that come and join us and get into that successful project, it's an exciting thing for them.
VV: And I guess, ultimately, players know that if they want to play in the Premier League - which is the world's number one league - and have all of the sort of profile and exposure and excitement that that brings, unfortunately there are no guarantees. It's such a competitive league that if you are going to play in the Premier League, you aren't going to have that guarantee that you are going to be in the Champions League. And you have to weigh those two things up.
RS: But we have a lot to offer to a player. I don't feel in disadvantage with anybody. The league, the Premier League, is exciting for any player in the world. London, Arsenal, the history, the dimension of the club, the stadium, the facilities at Colney, the fanbase, the followers around the world and the exposure. Really, I feel like I have a lot of ammunition when I talk with players to engage them in our project.
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