Wenger: ‘I have Wilshere, Walcott & Nasri – why would I spend money?’
Manager turns down extra funds as Arsenal report record turnover and profits for year
Arsenal announced record profits and turnover yesterday, with the club posting an income of £313.3m, the highest ever reported by a British football club. This remarkable figure is for the 12 months to May 31 this year, so doesn't include the £42m that the club recouped by selling Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure to Manchester City.
The club made an after-tax profit of £35m, a large part of which came from property sales of apartments built in the old Highbury stadium. Some media reports had suggested the project was in trouble but Arsenal have now sold 445 of the 655 flats. The debt incurred on the stadium rebuilding has been reduced from £133m six months ago to just £47m, which is repayable in December next year.
The club's chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, told the Guardian: "We anticipate it is likely we will make a profit out of that [Highbury Square] development, which will then be available to the football side. Exactly what the profit will be, and when it will be realised, will depend on the strength of the property market."
Responding to the news that there was more money available to spend on the team, Arsene Wenger was grateful but bullish that he didn't need to avail himself of the funds - believed to be up to £80m - that were being put at his disposal by the club's hierarchy.
"There is money to spend but at the moment I am very happy with the squad I have," said Wenger. "It's not because I'm against spending money; I have nothing against spending money. It is not a personal thing, it is just that I have a squad that is strong enough to compete."
The composition of the Frenchman's squad at the moment is very heavily weighted in favour of homegrown talent developed within the club - almost half of the 29-man first team where brought through the ranks at the Emirates - and some well-chosen foreign talents that justified the outlay on them in Wenger's eyes - Andrei Arshavin and Thomas Vermaelen, to name two.
"I do not spend money because out of tomorrow's squad is [Samir] Nasri, [Theo] Walcott, [Nicklas] Bendtner. And people want me to buy strikers, but where do I put them? I don't know. I have to then lose players who, for me, are world class."
The previous record turnover was reported by Manchester United for the year 2007-08, of £256.2m. Considering the mountain of the Old Trafford club was put under by their owners the Glazers after their 2005 takeover, Arsenal are in a far healthier state than their age-old rivals. ·
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