x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Transfer talk: Arsene Wenger can cash in this time for Arsenal

Arsenal have given the French manager complete backing to make whatever transfers he deems necessary, regardless of cost.

Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis, left, says Arsene Wenger,right, will have the ability to spend as he sees fit in this summer's transfer market.
Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis, left, says Arsene Wenger,right, will have the ability to spend as he sees fit in this summer's transfer market.

Arsene Wenger will pay no attention to "price tags" when he looks to strengthen the squad with a bumper transfer fund this summer, according to Arsenal's chief executive Ivan Gazidis, but the former Gunner Stewart Robson says the coach cannot be trusted to spend wisely.

Arsenal are determined to improve the side ahead of next season to mount a sustained assault on the Premier League championship, and have been linked with signings such as Wayne Rooney, should the England striker be sold by Manchester United, and the Real Madrid frontman Gonzalo Higuain.

The Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2013 showed the Gunners were behind only United and Chelsea, in terms of revenue, with £235 million (Dh1.34 billion) for 2011/2012.

Arsenal also have commercial deals coming online which could be worth as much as £70m, moving them into the same territory as the European champions Bayern Munich.

When added to the already healthy cash reserves following the sales of Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie in successive summers, Gazidis stated Arsenal can more than compete in the transfer market.

"It is going to be the players that Arsene believes in," Gazidis said on Friday. "He is pretty blind to price tags. He looks at what he sees with his eyes and makes judgements based on that, and not on reputations and prices."

When asked by reporters if meeting a transfer fee of some £20m salary was now within the club's budget, Gazidis said: "Of course we could do that. We could do more than that.

"All of these things mean we can do some things which would excite you, [but] what excites Arsene isn't necessarily what excites you."

Arsenal are thought to be interested in the Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, the goalkeeper Julio Cesar and the defender Ashley Williams, as well as the forwards Rooney and Higuain.

Arsenal's wage bill of some £143m was around 61 per cent of their overall revenue, but is set to be reduced this summer by the departures of Andrey Arshavin, Denilson and Sebastien Squillaci.

Gazidis said Arsenal's careful commercial strategy will ultimately provide dividends on the pitch.

"This year we are beginning to see something we have been planning for some time, which is the escalation in our financial firepower," he said.

"That is going to happen partly into next season, it is part way available now in the summer, but the following season as well. It is a progression over the next two seasons and is quite significant for the club."

Robson, a pundit and former analyst on Arsenal TV, said Wenger's record of signing players suggests he will not get value for money.

"There is a lot of talk about it, but I don't know if I would trust Arsene Wenger with that money," he said. "Over the last few years some of the players that he has said were going to be world class haven't ended up like that, people like Philippe Senderos, Denilson, Marouane Chamakh, Armand Traore, Sebastien Squillaci, Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela, Emmanuel Eboue, Park Chu-young, Lukasz Fabianski, Gervinho and Andre Santos.

"Over the last two seasons they have spent some money on Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski, Mikel Arteta, Nacho Monreal, Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos. They haven't been top-class players.

"Arsene Wenger doesn't appear to want to sign the top-class players, or what other people would describe as top-class players. He goes out and says: 'I can buy you cheaper players for a better price who are going to be world-class players in the future', but that hasn't been the case in the last few years."


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