Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham has spoken out amid fears super agent Kia Joorabchian may be exerting too much influence over the club.
Joorabchian’s clients David Luiz, Cedric Soares and Willian have all moved to the Emirates Stadium in the past year – sparking accusations he is too close to the Gunners.
But Arsenal chief Venkatesham insists the club are not signing players based on who their agent is – claiming that would be a “crazy strategy”.
Willian became the latest player on Joorabchian’s books to join the Gunners when he arrived on a free transfer after leaving Chelsea this summer.
There have been suggestions the agent also became part of Gabriel Magalhaes’ transfer to Arsenal from Lille last month.
Philippe Coutinho is also one of Joorabchian’s clients, which has fuelled speculation linking the Barcelona midfielder with a move to the Emirates.
Joorabchian was pictured sitting alongside technical director Edu and former head of football Raul Sanllehi in Arsenal’s directors’ box last season.
But Venkatesham, whose promotion from managing director to chief executive was announced by the club on Thursday, strongly denied that the identity of a player’s agent was a deciding factor in the recruitment process.
“I see, read and absorb a lot of what is being said about how we work with agents,” he said.
“We don’t select players based on the identity of their agent.
“We select players based on the position we need to strengthen and the characteristics we are looking for in a player and if the player is out there who meets those characteristics.
“Who the agent is comes out at the end, once we have decided who the player is. We are not signing players based on the identity of the agent. That would be a crazy strategy.”
Arsenal’s approach to recruitment did change over the summer, however, as former head of football Raul Sanllehi departed – along with a number of scouts who had been employed by the club for some time.
Those exits were not part of the decision to make redundancies – with 55 people losing their jobs – but instead an overhaul of the model that had previously been in place.
Asked to explain the change, Edu replied: “It is simple for me.
“With my position here I want to put in place one clear process how we are going to sign, who gets the responsibilities, where we start to understand where we need the player, the position we need, the characteristics we need. That has to be very clear internally right now.
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“The decision we made, to change a little bit our infrastructure, it is clear for me. I want to work with less people. I want to work with (analytics firm) StatDNA a lot more, which we have internally here at the club and is very important.
“I don’t want individual people working in one area or for one country. I want a group working together. Less people with much more responsibilities.”