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By ESPN Staff
Sep 24, 2007

Arsenal profits to provide £70m transfer warchest

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been promised a mammoth £70million transfer kitty after Arsenal revealed themselves to be one of Europe's richest clubs.

Figures unveiled this morning show the Gunners' move to the Emirates Stadium has driven a near 50% increase in turnover to more than £200million for the year ending May 31, 2007.

That sum means they are only edged into second place in the continent's money league by Real Madrid.

But with operating profit of £51.2million, up an amazing 274%, the Premier League club now have a level of profitability far in excess of Real.

Match-day revenues of £3.1million per game at their new 60,000 home are double those generated at Highbury, and have seen the Gunners leapfrog main domestic rivals Manchester United and Chelsea - whose respective turnover for the same period was £167.8m and £152.8m.

The revelation of Arsenal's wealth is an ample response to those critics who questioned the effect the cost of relocation to Ashburton Grove would have on the club, and in particular Wenger's transfer funds.

But after reiterating that Wenger did not spend all his budget this summer, delighted managing director Keith Edelman claimed the Frenchman would now have previously unheard of sums available to reinforce his squad.

'I think we are in a very good position,' Edelman said. 'Clearly Arsene's performance and the team's performance on the pitch has been outstanding, obviously backed up by our very strong financial position.

'We gave Arsene a budget in the summer and he didn't even spend all of it on transfers and hopefully we'll be able to carry that forward into future years.'

He added: 'We have got plenty of financial firepower to makes the transfers Arsene wants to make.

'We had over £70million of cash at the end of the year and if Arsene wants to spend that money we will make it available.'

The results posted this morning have been achieved despite the lack of a mega-rich foreign owner, the source to which most rivals have turned to increase their clout.

With Red and White Holdings Limited, backed by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, recently increasing their stake in the club to around 21%, rumours have abounded of a possible takeover bid.

But Edelman insists the results show there is no reason to change the way in which the club is run.

'We think it's very important as a board that the club develops revenues it generates itself and is not dependent on people putting money in every year, because that's not a very stable basis on which to run a club,' he told the Arsenal's website.

'We regard ourselves as custodians of the club and fans as well. It's important that the club does have a stable financial base.'

He added: 'If you look at the shareholders and the look at the board, we are all here because we love the club. Yes we want to run it well as a business, but only because we want to be a great club.

'That could be contrasted with what could be called financial owners, who come to purchase clubs to make money out of them and they don't have that affinity to be a rabid fan - to live, breathe and eat Arsenal Football Club.'

With the new Premier League TV deal yet to be reflected in their figures and the Gunners also set to launch their own TV channel in the new year, it seems everything is in place for the financial success to continue.