Arsenal will continue to pursue a policy of being self-financing as they battle “super-heated” transfer fees, wages and agent payments, chairman Chips Keswick said on Wednesday. Keswick was commenting on the club’s latest financial results that showed a 23.4 million pounds ($32.24 million) drop in turnover after Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years. The Premier League club recorded a pre-tax profit of 25.1 million pounds ($34.6 million) for the six months ending Nov. 30 and their cash reserves grew to 137.6 million pounds, up 37.1 million from 2016.
The club made a profit on player sales amounting to 58.4 million pounds after a number of players including Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs and Gabriel Paulista left in the close-season. The results, however, did not include Arsenal’s January transfer spending, which saw the club break their transfer record to bring in striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund for around 56 million pounds. Keswick said it had not been an easy period for Arsenal on the pitch. The club are sixth in the Premier League and look likely to miss out on Europe’s money-spinning elite club competition for a second season. The chairman reiterated, however, that under the ownership of largest shareholder Stan Kroenke Arsenal will aim to only spend what they earn to achieve long-term stability.
“This has not been the easiest of campaigns but we are all working hard to ensure we have a strong finish,” he said in a statement.
“Breaking our transfer record twice in one season and the player contracts we have signed shows our commitment to getting the club back competing for the Premier League. “However, our strategy remains self-financing and we must accept all the challenges that brings at a time when the inflation of transfer fees, player wages and the fees demanded by agents has become super-heated.” With the club having not challenged seriously for the title for a number of years, pressure has been growing on manager Arsene Wenger and Sunday’s tame League Cup final defeat to Manchester City has drawn heavy criticism from many fans.
Arsenal, who have not won the league since 2004, are 10 points adrift of fourth-placed rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Their best chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, therefore, could be through the Europa League. They have reached the competition’s round of 16 where they will face AC Milan in a two-legged tie. ($1 = 0.7254 pounds) (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis). (Reuters)