LONDON // Arsene Wenger maintains it is part of a manager's job to ensure the financial stability of their club. Arsenal's parent holding comp-any yesterday revealed an increase in turnover to £313.3million (Dh1.83bn) and a record profit after tax of £35.2m from results for the year ending May 31. However, with the cost of the £400m move to Emirates Stadium from Highbury continuing to tie up the long-term financial commitments of the Premier League club, there have been suggestions Wenger does not have the cash with which to strengthen his squad should he wish.
Indeed Manchester City raided the Gunners for both striker Emmanuel Adebayor and defender Kolo Toure this summer, while Wenger opted to bring in just Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax for £10m and tie up existing players such as Robin van Persie on new deals. Chairman Peter Hill-Wood was, in his report to shareholders, quick to highlight the board's determination to help Wenger secure continued success on the field and a first trophy since 2005.
Wenger, though, insists keeping his employers on an even financial keel must remain high on the agenda. "I am encouraged by the fact that the financial results are good because I try on my side to contribute to that as well," said Wenger, whose side host Olympiakos in Group H of the Champions League tonight. "You want to work in a company that is in a healthy financial situation. I would not feel that I do my job well if we lost money at the end of the season - never, no matter what happens on the sporting side - because you put the club in trouble and, in my opinion, that cannot be accepted from any manager."
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis feels the club is well set for the challenges ahead. He said: "The club has a philosophy of reinvesting all of the money it makes back into the club. We will only invest, and Arsene will only invest, if it's going to be for players who really add some value and quality to the squad. We are fortunate we've got a manager who thinks about his responsibility, thinks about the long-term implications and doesn't spend money because he's got it."
Olympiakos are on a winning run since the arrival of their Brazilian coach Zico, who replaced Temuri Ketsbaia on the day of their 1-0 victory over AZ Alkmaar in Athens in the first group game. "The clash against Arsenal is a very important game and we have to be as good as in the Greek league," said Zico, whose team has played three league games in seven days. "Fatigue is not a factor in such games."
A disadvantage for Zico will be the absence of the attacking midfielder Luciano Galetti and former Blackburn striker Matt Derbyshire, who are both injured while Arsenal are without striker Nicklas Bendtner, who was bruised in a car accident on Sunday, and midfielder Denilson, who is sidelined for two months with a broken bone in his back. Sevilla are looking for a sixth straight victory when they travel to Scotland to face Rangers in Group G tonight. They beat Athletic Bilbao 4-0 away on Saturday.
Coach Manolo Jimenez expects a more difficult time at Ibrox Park, however, where 50,000 Rangers fans will give his players a hot reception. "Not all games are the same. Rangers will not wait for us to get our breath back so we'll be going to war again," he said. * With agencies Arsenal v Olympiakos, KO 10.45pm, Aljazeera Sport + 3