Gunners can match City’s big spending, insists chief Gazidis

ARSENAL chief executive Ivan Gazidis claims the club’s record profits mean they can continue to match the likes of big-spending Manchester City on the pitch.

Ahead of today’s home clash with West Brom the Gunners yesterday announced pre-tax profits of £56m (€65.8m) for the year ending May 31, 2010 and that they have paid off all the debt on their Highbury Square development.

The figure has been boosted by their property sales but the football business alone contributed £44.8m (€52.6m) in pre-tax profit, a slight drop due to Arsenal having five fewer home games last season and increased wage costs.

Gazidis said the players’ salary increases had allowed Arsenal to remain competitive on the field at a time when Manchester City in particular have been spending huge sums on transfer fees and wages.

The Gunners’ wage bill rose to £110.7m (€130m), 49% of the football-related turnover.

Gazidis said: “We continue to see upward pressure on player wages. A part of that is because we’ve invested fairly aggressively in our young player pool, and we have secured their long-term future with the club.

“This has been a very successful period of investment but it costs money. A part of it is also driven by the external environment in which we operate where player costs continue to go up.”

Arsenal will continue to pursue their policy of developing players rather than buying big stars, Gazidis said.

He added: “Most of (the profit) goes back into the playing side, whether into player contracts or transfer fees. Now that doesn’t mean we can compete at the level of the Manchester Citys of this world in the transfer market, because those types of fees and those types of salaries are not sustainable for any football business.

“But it still means, I believe, that we can compete with them on the pitch.

“We do have a policy of building and not buying, and that’s a difficult path to tread sometimes, but as a result of that policy we’re seeing a tremendous number of good young players progressing and developing into the finished article and I think our performance against Spurs illustrated this.”

Other figures of interest include:

* Arsenal made a £13.6m (€16m) surplus on player sales – £10m (€11.7m) more than last year.

* Property sales contributed £11.2m (€13.1m) towards pre-tax profits.

* Wages up to £110.7m (€130m), from £104m €122m)

* The Emirates Stadium debt now stands at £239m (€280m) with an annual interest payment of £14.6m €17.1m) and capital repayment of £5.6m (€6.5m) meaning the stadium should be paid off in 20 years.

* Arsenal have cash reserves of £127m (€150m).

The results also showed Arsenal’s group turnover increased to £379.9m (€446m), from £313.3m €367.5m) in 2009, boosted by the income generated from property sales.

Meanwhile Arsene Wenger has dismissed claims Samir Nasri ‘dived’ to win a penalty at White Hart Lane.

“If you look at the replay, you can see that Bassong pulls Nasri’s shirt and the ref gives the penalty. Samir is an honest player and to suggest he dived for the penalty is wrong,” he said.


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