“We’re trying to win, whilst also respecting the values and traditions of the club,” says Josh Kroenke. Photo: David Zalubowski/AP

LONDON – Josh Kroenke admits Arsenal cannot currently challenge for the top trophies.

Director Kroenke delivered a sobering dose of realism just days after Arsenal’s fans had united to voice their frustration at the club’s decline ahead of their third season running in the Europa League, and 15 years since their last Premier League title.

A collection of 16 supporters’ groups joined forces and released a statement demanding change and proof that those at the top of the club care as much as they do.

Kroenke, son of Arsenal owner Stan, issued a passionate response yesterday, admitting he was “hurt” seeing the supporters’ letter, declaring his passion for the club and determination to win.

But he confessed: “There are no shortcuts. As much as we would love to say that we’ll be competing for the top trophies tomorrow, we know that’s not the case, and that we have to get to work on that.

“That’s a daily approach to the little things from the top down.”

One major hindrance to Arsenal’s hopes of restoring former glories is their small budget. They have a huge wage bill and a transfer kitty of just £45 million.

As revealed by Sportsmail, internal talks have been held about what they can do to increase that to give manager Unai Emery greater support.

Kronke, 39, insisted supporters hoping for more signings should “be excited”, but confessed they are not chasing some of the world’s top players and instead looking for “the next big thing”.

He added: “It’s no secret that we have a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget right now.

“That’s a fact. And one that we’re figuring out how to face internally at the moment.

“That doesn’t mean that my father or I have ever said anything about any restrictions on spending. It’s not who you buy, it’s how you buy.”

Addressing the fans’ decision to launch the #wecaredoyou movement, Kroenke added: “Is it hard to take? Absolutely. We all want the same thing and we’re all trying aggressively to make it happen.

“It’s just sometimes our timeline might not be as aggressive as others would like to see.

“If anyone is ever going to question anything about our ownership – which I view as a custodianship, the supporters trust us to be a custodian of the values.

“That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to win, whilst also respecting the values and traditions of the club.”

Daily Mail