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Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge

50-50 Challenge

Gazidis: Arsenal can afford Rooney

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis insists his club have the financial firepower to sign a player of Wayne Rooney's stature, hinting the Gunners are finally willing to revamp their much-maligned wage structure this summer.

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Cynics scoffed at reports earlier this week that manager Arsene Wenger was lining up an audacious bid to sign Rooney from Manchester United, with the wage policy followed by the north London club in recent years making the stories seem implausible.

Yet Gazidis has fuelled the hope of Arsenal supporters that the club are about to deliver on the promises of Wenger and enter the financial big league in a bid to compete with their Premier League and European rivals for top talent.

When asked whether Arsenal would now consider sanctioning a bid for Rooney if it involved a £25 million fee and £200,000-per-week wages, Gazidis was emphatic in his positive response.

"Of course we could do that, we could do more than that," he told reporters. "We have a certain amount which we've held in reserve. We also have new revenue streams coming on board and all of these things mean we can do things which would excite you.

"We can think about all kinds of things, but we don't think about what's going to excite our fans for the next couple of weeks, we think about what's going to excite them when we start playing in August and hopefully when we're in March and April and competing.

"For Arsene, it's a question of getting the right players, the ones he believes in, not necessarily the players the fans want. He's very disciplined about his beliefs and how he wants to structure a team. He has new tools available to him financially and I think he'll make good use of them.

"What you will see is certainly an Arsenal team that is getting better over the next couple of years unless we make big mistakes, but historically we have got a manager who has got a proven of doing this extremely well over a long period of time.

"I think we deserve a little more credit than we've been given. Having said that, we've got more financial capability now and I'm sure that will help us to be able to secure the targets that Arsene wants."

Gazidis admitted Arsenal are unable to compete with club who are being backed by owners providing "unlimited resources", but he is convinced they can end their eight-year wait for silverware next season if they get their planning right this summer.

"My own view is we are moving into a new phase where if we make our decisions well, if we get the right chemistry, and if we do a variety of other things as well, not just the new players that come in but the right kind of things on the football side, that we can compete with any club in the world," he added.

"We've seen two clubs this year in the Champions League final and both of whom run responsible financial models. They are pretty fantastic teams and very exciting to watch. There's no reason why we can't do that."


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