One of Arsenal's major shareholders believes the Gunners are now ready to genuinely compete for the Premier League as they have the means to buy the world's best players.
Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov—Arsenal's second-highest shareholder after Stan Kroenke—insists that after years of frugality at the Emirates, the North London outfit are now in a position to compete at the top level in both transfer and footballing terms.
The recent £35 million signing of Chile star Alexis Sanchez comes a year after the £42 million purchase of Mesut Ozil and signals a change in approach from the previously thrifty Gunners and boss Arsene Wenger.
Usmanov believes the club are now well placed to continue with their high-profile transfer moves and compete for more trophies after breaking a nine-year drought with last season's FA Cup, per Jeremy Wilson in the Daily Telegraph (via the Daily Mail):
I think we begin a new era for Arsenal where we win trophies. That is most important for football. In my opinion, in line with the existing rules, the club has the correct decision-making process in place, including their selection policy, especially now, when they have the means to buy the best players. [...]
They were [previously] selling players and were unable to buy top players. These difficulties have now been overcome and the team is in a good state.
Indeed, there does seem to be a marked difference in the Gunners' transfers in recent times.
In the summers of 2011 and 2012, Arsenal moved on arguably their best players in Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie while not bringing in adequate replacements.
This showed a lack of ambition from Arsenal which has now seemingly been reversed with the big-money signings of Ozil and Sanchez.
If reports are to be believed, Wenger is not yet done in the summer transfer window with Colin Mafham in the Express reporting the potential £30 million signing of the long-targeted Sami Khedira.
The World Cup and Champions League winner is a phenomenal defensive midfielder and would strengthen an area in which Arsenal are still short, per Sky Germany's Jan Aage Fjortoft:
IF! If Arsenal are going for Khedira, I think it's a wise move. Can give their midfield better balance. #afc— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) August 4, 2014
Where will Arsenal finish in the 2014-15 Premier League?
Whether or not any deal for Khedira does happen, the fact that it is now considered a realistic possibility by many shows the increased ambition and willingness to pay big for the best players now being exhibited by Arsenal.
As Usmanov says, Arsenal have started a new era which has already paid dividends with the FA Cup victory last season and should see them compete throughout for the Premier League this season.
The perennial fourth-place finishers in the English top flight, Arsenal are now flexing their muscles in the transfer market which should see them compete at the very highest level once again.