Arsenal fans call for further investment - claiming £42.5m signing of Mesut Ozil leaves Arsene Wenger with £80m to spend
Arsenal Supporters' Trust want the manager to continue the spending throughout the next two transfer windows after saying the signing of Ozil has signalled a change in the club's approach
Having seen Mesut Ozil arrive for £42.5m on transfer deadline day, Arsenal fans are not satisfied just yet after supporters’ groups have called for further investment in the squad across the next two transfer windows following the club’s announcement of its financial figures, which revealed they still have the largest cash reserves of any Premier League club.
With yesterday’s announcement revealing figures for the year ending May 2013, the club had £153.5m in the bank, although that does not take into account the summer activity which saw both Ozil and Emiliano Viviano signed on the final day of the transfer window.
The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust believes that manager Arsene Wenger should have up to £80m to spend on new players when taking into account the summer transfer spending and the business costs of running the club.
Their much publicised financial power has come from a new commercial deal with Emirates airlines and an expected new kit deal with supplier Puma, although that agreement is yet to be confirmed.
The full effects of those deals will be felt in next year’s results, meaning that Arsenal’s long-term financial future is looking to be fairly promising, although the pre-tax profits were down from £36.6m to £6.7m due to a reduction in the sum received in player sales.
Last year’s figures were boosted by the sales of Robin van Persie to Manchester United and Alex Song’s switch to Barcelona, although the club are no longer paying the long-term deals to underwrite their 2006 move to the Emirates.
Club chairman, Sir Chips Keswick, announced in a statement that the acquisition of “one of the world’s best players” in Ozil shows the club are now in a position to battle for the signature of world-class players.
He did however admit that the club would continue to develop its own talent from the academy – something that Wenger has taken great pride in during his time in charge.
"It is my job to ensure we steer further along the course we have set," Keswick said. "We must continue to grow commercially to provide the club with the best opportunity to achieve success and we must do this in a way which remains true to our values and which ensures and protects the long-term sustainability of the club.
"With the Özil transfer I believe we have made a significant statement and when Arsène decides the time is right to invest again Stan Kroenke (owner), myself and the rest of the board will be delighted to support him."
The AST, which had called for a change in the club’s approach and more investment in the squad, believe that the 2012-13 season results would represent "the last year of Arsenal selling its best players to achieve profitability as the substantial increases in revenue from both renewed TV contracts and commercial deals come on stream"
"We are encouraged that since the season ended much progress has been made by Arsenal to remove the non-performing players from the wage bill. This pruning has allowed scope for more concentrated wage spend," said an AST spokesman.
"Looking forward, Arsenal are in a healthy financial position, with substantial cash reserves. The AST continues to urge the club to invest the money it has to further strengthen the current first-team squad and improve the chances of winning silverware. Substantial funds are available for additional transfer and wage spend without affecting self-sustainability."
With Wenger’s contract up for renewal at the end of the season, Keswick also underlined the board’s confidence in the Frenchman, and who they believe has the right approach to bring success back to the club.
"We have a manager in Arsène who is as focused and determined to win trophies as he was when he first arrived," said Keswick, who took over from former chairman Peter Hill-Wood in June.
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