Arsenal cannot “outgun” their big-spending rivals in the transfer market, says chief executive Ivan Gazidis.
The club have made one major signing this summer, buying Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach for £35m.
“We can’t afford to outgun competitors that have far more money. We have to be very careful, very selective,” Gazidis told the New York Times.
The 51-year-old reiterated his support for manager Arsene Wenger, denying it is based on a “sense of nostalgia”.
Wenger has overseen 20 consecutive top-four finishes in the Premier League, but the last of his three league titles came in 2004. Some supporters protested at the end of last season, calling for a change in manager.
The Frenchman insisted that the club would “add what we missed” during the transfer window to close the 10-point gap to champions Leicester, but his pursuit of France forward Alexandre Lacazette so far has been frustrated with Lyon turning down a £29.3m offer.
Arsenal were the only club in Europe’s top five leagues not to buy an outfield player in last season’s summer transfer window. Goalkeeper Petr Cech, signed for £10m, was the only arrival, despite the club having almost £200m in cash reserves.
But Gazidis – who spoke of “an escalation in our financial firepower” in 2013 – claims that the Premier League’s large and relatively evenly-shared television deal means money is less decisive than it was.
“The constraints within the Premier League are less and less about pure finances. More relatively important become things like how well you identify players, how well you develop players, what kind of sports science you have, your analytics, your psychology,” he added.
“All of these support areas around what we do increasingly become bigger differentiators.”