In an in-depth one on one interview with BBC’s David Ornstein, Josh Kroenke explains the effect of Baku and how it impacted decisions.
Speaking about how he felt that night, he said: “It’s very tough to describe. You never want to put all of your eggs in one basket or have all of your feelings reside on one match – but when you reach a European final like we did, that’s exactly the feeling you have”.
“So when you finish the way that we did and come up short, it’s frustration; absolute frustration, disappointment. But I was positive that night as well. I remember coming off the pitch, I remember grabbing Unai, telling him that ‘We’ll be back’… and to a few of our players to ‘Remember the feeling’, to use that as motivation as they headed into their summer training”.
“I’m always a guy that’s going to try to find positives out of certain situations and, once I got over the initial wave of disappointment, I knew that my job as a leader was to try to pull everybody back up. I think we’ve rebounded well out of that and we’re really excited about the new season”.
When he asked about how Baku changed the approach to the transfer market, he said:
“I think that we were always going to be – and we will always be – aggressive in trying to improve however we can, whether that’s on or off the pitch. But as the second half unfolded of the match, understanding the position that 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”.
“We knew we wouldn’t have Champions League football and certain clubs who attract those type of talents… that’s what they’re after. We had to rethink just a few of our things, but my main message to Vinai and Raul coming back from Baku on the plane, which was a very long flight after that match, and then throughout meetings all day the following day with Vinai, Raul and Unai, was ‘Let’s head into the summer, let’s be aggressive and let’s find out what’s possible’”.
“These guys went out into the marketplace and, through their contacts and through our fantastic new team behind the scenes at Arsenal, were able to find some talented players who are really excited about playing for Arsenal Football Club”.
To end the interview, he dropped a message for the fans. In his words, “I would say be excited, but I’ve already worn that one out over the summer. But I would just say to our supporters: it’s going to be a fun year, we’ve got some talented new players for them to cheer on the pitch and we’re only going to keep working hard on their behalf”.