Arsenal’s managing director Vinai Venkatesham insists the club are very happy with Unai Emery’s work and explained why the Gunners will continue to lean on the Academy to fill places in the first team squad.
The Spaniard has come in for stick following Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Watford after his players stuck stubbornly to a ‘build from the back’ playing philosophy despite the home side sussing out our nervousness on the ball.
The defensive collapse, reminiscent of similar episodes last season, has again raised questions about whether the 47-year-old is the right man to get Arsenal back to the top of European football.
For the moment, there is no doubting the confidence held in him by those higher up the pecking order.
“Absolutely, we are very comfortable with him and his coaching staff. We think he is doing an excellent job, so we are very happy,” Venkatesham told The Straits Times.
“When we appointed Unai, the team that worked on that looked at lots of different attributes that we felt we want to have in our head coach.
“One of them was, we want a coach who was willing, able, and had a track record of playing young players, because that is an important part of Arsenal Football Club.”
Venkatesham also touched on the thinking behind Arsenal’s summer business. In the space of three months, more than 20 players departed either permanently or on loan with youngsters being promoted in their place.
“First, it is financially efficient,” said Venkatesham. “The more players you have coming from the academy, the more funds you can then use to invest in the transfer window because you then have a budget that is being stretched among fewer players.
“More important than that is we want players in the dressing room who really understand what it means to play for Arsenal, players who have grown up with the club.”
Vinai also went on to explain the thinking behind selling and releasing more experienced players.
“What we analysed is the players whose playing time for the coming season is going to be limited,” he continued.
“It is not good for the players to not play many minutes, it is not great for the club to have players who are not contributing.
“We try to find a solution. The players that have gone on loan and the players we sold create a relatively significant wage savings or income that help offset some of the investments we made.”