Josh Kroenke Says Arsenal Will Be 'Proactive' in January Transfer Window

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2019

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 18: Josh Kroenke, President of the Denver Nuggets, attends Game Three of Round One against the San Antonio Spurs during the 2019 NBA Playoffs on April 18, 2019 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Arsenal director Josh Kroenke said the club will be "proactive" in the January transfer window after a "very strong summer." 

In July, Arsenal fan groups wrote a joint statement slamming Stan Kroenke's ownership of the club and the Gunners' work in the transfer market.

In an interview with BBC Sport's David Ornstein, the owner's son said the club spending in excess of £100 million this summer was not a reaction to that statement and suggested further business could be done in the winter:

"I would say that if you're reacting and doing club-record signings based on public opinion, you're not going to go very far as a club. We weren't reactive this summer, we were actually proactive.

...

"As for January, I don't want to get ahead of ourselves. We've got to evaluate some things in the short term and figure out where we might need to address going forward, so when January does roll around we're going to be proactive again."

Goal's Charles Watts relayed the statement issued by Arsenal supporters and bloggers on July 15:

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At the time, the Gunners' only summer acquisition was teenager Gabriel Martinelli.

When the transfer window closed on August 8, however, Arsenal had secured a loan deal for Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos and signed Nicolas Pepe, William Saliba, Kieran Tierney and David Luiz.

Kroenke praised managing director Vinai Venkatesham and head of football Raul Sanllehi for their work in securing the recruits, as journalist Layth Yousif relayed:

However, while Kroenke said the Gunners' transfer business was not "reactive," Arsenal's 4-1 defeat to Chelsea in the UEFA Europa League final in May evidently had an impact on their approach to the summer:

"As the second half of the match unfolded, understanding the position we were in and some of the targets as we headed into the summer from a transfer standpoint, we had to rethink some of our strategy based on that last 45 minutes."

The Gunners only finished two points behind their London rivals in the Premier League, but they were comprehensively outplayed as Eden Hazard led Chelsea to a comfortable victory (U.S. and UK only, respectively):

The defeat ensured Arsenal, who finished fifth, would have to make do with a third consecutive season playing Europa League football, having spent 20 years running in the Champions League.

It was symptomatic of the decline the Gunners have suffered over the last decade or more.

Arsenal have not come close to winning the Premier League since their last title in 2004. Stan Kroenke first bought shares in the club three years later, before becoming the majority shareholder in 2011 and taking full control last year after buying Alisher Usmanov's stake.

The north London outfit have had to settle for competing for the top four since the 2004 title win, but Kroenke said "challenging for the Premier League title is always our goal."

He conceded the club "have our work cut out" to rival Manchester City or Liverpool this season, though.

Despite the protests against the ownership, Kroenke said they hope to be around for "a long time" and that they're "passionate" about the club, for whom they're implementing long-term plans.

Sports journalist Matt Scott took issue with some of Kroenke's words, though:

Arsenal's summer transfer window was a positive sign from the powers that be at the Emirates Stadium, but after years of decline it will take a long time for the ownership to turn things around on the pitch and in the eyes of the supporters.

Europa League football has limited Arsenal's budget, so it may not be possible for them to do a great deal of business in January, but if they can follow up the summer with another strong window, it will be a step in the right direction.