The full extent of Arsène Wenger's spending reserves for this summer was revealed by Arsenal yesterday who announced half-year profits of £17.8m and cash reserves of £123.3m, on top of the new stadium rights and kit deal that come in later this year.
Arsenal's financial results for the six months up to the end of November revealed that the club made book profits of £42.5m on the sales of Robin van Persie and Alex Song in the summer. That was balanced by £40.9m worth of expenditure on Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, although it did not include the £8m fee to Malaga for Nacho Monreal in January.
However, Arsenal did not reveal their wage bill for the period in question, instead wrapping it up in operating expenses of £137.1m. The last published annual wage bill was £143m, significantly more than the £90m spent annually by Tottenham, who Arsenal face on Sunday. There are fears that Arsenal's wage bill is creeping closer to the £150m mark.
In his statement, chairman Peter Hill-Wood said that although the club was "disappointed" to see Van Persie leave for Manchester United, they had "taken steps to secure our best players going forward" with the successful negotiation of new contracts for Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson.
Hill-Wood added that "while we have our sights set on a 16th straight season in the Champions League" the club's "aims are higher". He said: "Our ambition is to win trophies. No one is more focused on that than our manager Arsène Wenger, our majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and the board.
"Our ability to compete at the top of the game here and in Europe is underpinned by our financial performance ... Let me be quite clear that our intention is to keep our best players and recruit new talent to make us stronger."
The new Emirates naming-rights deal for the club's stadium will be worth £150m, beginning this summer, and they are in a position to negotiate a new, more lucrative kit deal when their current contract with Nike expires at the end of the season. However, the accounts also seem to indicate that commercial and ticket revenues are not rising which could be a result of the team's lack of success on the pitch. The club have already announced they will freeze ticket prices next season.
The club's profit on trading of player registrations was £42.5m, down from £63m in the same period in 2011 when Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Gaël Clichy, Emmanuel Eboué and Armand Traoré were all sold. The profits are not offset wholesale by the fees spent on new signings because those fees are spread across the length of the players' contracts in the accounts.
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