Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood promises team will be strengthened

Fans wants to see investment in the squad

Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has insisted the Gunners will hold on to their best players and strengthen the team.

The club faced calls from fans to spend more money on players after half-yearly figures revealed a profit of £17.8million generated by transfers - and cash reserves of £123million.

The profit, achieved effectively by the £24million sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United, covers the six months up to the end of November 2012.

The Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) said the figures highlighted the need for the club to spend more money on team strengthening. They believe the Gunners have not replaced players such as Van Persie and before him Cesc Fabregas by those of similar quality.

Hill-Wood said however: "Let me be quite clear that our intention is to keep our best players and recruit new talent to make us stronger.

"Although we were disappointed to see Robin van Persie leave the club, we have taken steps to secure our best players going forward and have recently signed Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson to new long-term contracts.

"During this financial period we also invested £40.9million in the acquisition of new players, Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud, and the extension of other player contracts. More recently we added Nacho Monreal to our ranks from Malaga.

"Our desire is to make everyone connected with Arsenal proud of the club. We know that comes through winning trophies but also through the way we do things and that will remain our constant guide."

The financial report states the that "profit on sale of player registrations amounted to £42.5million" - down from £63million in 2011.

Arsenal's football turnover dropped from £113.5million to £106million as a result of four fewer home fixtures compared to the same period last year. The report also confirmed an extended partnership with Emirates which will be worth up to £150million.

The AST said the figures showed Arsenal's wage bill would be close to £150million for the year, not far behind Manchester United's, but that had not paid off in terms of results on the pitch.

An AST spokesman said: "These figures contain few surprises. They show that Arsenal yet again made a profit from the sale of their best players and that the club has large cash reserves.

"The results also show the club does spend considerable money on wages, approximately £150million per annum. But the football decisions made on player investment, player selection and player wage levels are not delivering a more competitive team."

PA

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