By Nick Harris
21 October 2010
Arsene Wenger confirmed at Arsenal’s AGM today that the club has “resources available to bring one or two players in if needed in January,” and an analysis of the club’s most recent account by sportingintelligence suggests his potential transfer kitty is at least £40m, possibly higher.
The recently announced financial results for the year ending 31 May 2010 showed group turnover up to £379.9m, operating profit in the football business down slightly to £56.8m, but record group profits before tax of £56m.
The club’s cash reserves at 1 June 2010 were £127.6m, up from £99.6m a year earlier, and while the club is legally obliged under its lending agreements to keep a lot of that money in the bank (for interest and debt repayment), there is still tens of millions available for transfer fees and wages.
Wenger being Wenger, there is no guarantee he will spend in January, but the money is there if he wants it. He confirmed he has resources without specifying the amount in remarks made at the AGM and reported on the club website.
Wenger also addressed issue of Cesc Fabregas, saying he hoped his Spanish captain would remain at the club for “many years”. Fabregas, 23, wanted to leave in the summer for Barcelona, who made a £35m bid and had it rejected. Wenger persuaded the player not to leave. There is a strong suspicion among fans that Wenger agreed a private deal with Fabregas that he should stay one more season and then go to Barca with Wenger’s blessing in summer 2011, if Barca can table a decent offer again.
Neither Wenger nor Fabregas nor anyone at Arsenal has confirmed the existence of such an agreement, and if Arsenal win silverware this season, and Arsenal invest in talent, there must remain the possibility that Fabregas will indeed stay at the Emirates longer. His current contract runs until 2015.
Addressing the issue of how long he will stay, Wenger today alluded to the idea that Arsenal’s performance will be one factor involved: “For how long [will he stay]? You never know, but hopefully for many years. It is about our potential to win also, how well he can do. I am not pessimistic about him, and I am confident we will keep him for a few more years.”