Arsenal chief: Young team ready to compete for title and Champions League

Julian Harris
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ARSENAL chief executive Ivan Gazidis has insisted the club’s players are capable of winning next seasons’s Premier League or Champions League ahead of a grilling by 300 supporters at the Emirates Stadium tonight.

Another testing summer lies ahead for the Gunners, with Gazidis refusing to comment on the futures of Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott, who both have only one year left on their contracts.

And the Arsenal chief warned that transfer activity is expected to be light during the European Championships, which start on Friday, calling on existing players to step up a level for next season.

“We have a good squad which is very solid across all areas,” Gazidis said late last night. “This is the youngest squad in the Premier League. They are developing year on year.”

“We need everybody involved to have belief so that we can push forward into next year and make a run at the Premier League trophy and for the Champions League. We believe we can do that,” he added.

Yet Tim Payton of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) said that Gazidis was “alone” in believing that the club is in a position to compete for top honours.

“I think he’s going to have a pretty tough time tonight,” Payton told City A.M.

The AST, which represents over a thousand Arsenal fans, has called for the club to consider a fresh issue of shares in order to boost investment in the team. Gazidis, however, was coy over the possibility of new signings. “We always try and conduct our activity as early as we can,” he said. “But an even bigger overriding priority is to make sure that we get the right pieces in place.”

Arsenal pounced early on in the summer transfer window to sign German international Lukas Podolski from Cologne. “The great thing about Lukas is that not only can he contribute goals, but he can also play in different positions so you get tremendous versatility and Arsenal class,” Gazidis enthused. “Our fans will be able to see him compete at the Euros and see what a very good player he is.”