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Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis confident club can compete with world's best

Oct 2, 2012
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Arsenal will be able to compete with the world's biggest clubs "within the next two years," chief executive Ivan Gazidis has told shareholders at the club's annual general meeting.

Arsene Wenger's side have come under renewed scrutiny following defeat at Norwich that leaves them 10 points off the pace in the Premier League and a home loss against Schalke in the Champions League.

The summer sale of star man Robin van Persie exacerbated the frustrations of fans who have not seen their side win any silverware since the 2005 FA Cup but Gazidis believes the club's prudence will pay off when UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations become more rigorously enforced.

"In the next two years, we will have the financial resources to sit and compete among the leading clubs in the world, which is an extraordinary achievement," Gazidis said.

"Financial success is relevant because it supports our football vision... the money we make is made available to our manager and he decides how to invest those funds.

"Arsene has done a magnificent job against the spending of our major competitors."

Flanked by chairman Peter Hill-Wood and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke,

Gazidis added: "Our ambition is shared by everybody at this table, the whole board and by everyone in this room.

"It is all about football, to compete at the top of the game here and in Europe to win trophies and do it in a way which makes fans proud and reflects our values, and also protects Arsenal for the long term."

Gazidis was repeatedly forced to call for order as shareholders continued to question the club's financial policies, with one accusing the board of putting balance sheets before football success.

Arsenal fail to bounce back

Manager Arsene Wenger attempted to halt the hecklers, acknowledging there was a "lot of dissatisfaction", but urging fans not to "go overboard".

"I believe this team can deliver and I am optimistic we will have a good season and the players will show I am right," he said.

"My job is to deliver a team with the resources we have, and I have never complained about that. I want a club to pay players from its own resources, there is no shame in that."