Wenger Waits as Arsenal Plan Pounds 100 Million Transfer Kitty - The New Indian Express

Wenger Waits as Arsenal Plan Pounds 100 Million Transfer Kitty

Published: 18th March 2014 06:05 AM

Last Updated: 18th March 2014 06:27 AM

Arsene Wenger will have a transfer budget of pounds 100 million this summer, although the increasing expectation at Arsenal is that he will now wait until the end of the season before signing a new contract.

The club remain extremely confident that Wenger will extend his deal, probably by three more years, but there is a growing acceptance that he will not interrupt his preparations for the final two months of the season to deal with contract negotiations.

Wenger has indicated a definite desire to stay in talks with Ivan Gazidis, the club's chief executive, but has always said that results would determine whether he felt that it was right to sign a deal that would take him into a third decade at the club. Arsenal are favourites to win the FA Cup and so end a nine-year wait for silverware, while the derby win against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday also means that they remain in contention for what would be a third 'double' of Wenger's tenure.

The flip side, however, is that failing to win a trophy from this position would arguably amount to the biggest single disappointment of Wenger's 18 years at the club. Wenger has often suggested that he would not want to stay if he felt that he had underperformed or lost significant support from the club's fan base.

Although Paris St-Germain and Barcelona could be realistic options this summer, it is understood that Wenger's clear intention is to finish the season strongly with Arsenal and lead them into a new era of success.

Wenger reaches the unprecedented landmark on Saturday of 1,000 games as an Arsenal manager. "It is absolutely unique," midfielder Tomas Rosicky said. "I don't think that anyone will repeat something like that again. He is a legend for this club."

Whatever happens this season, there is also a very clear feeling within Arsenal that they are entering a new period when they will be financially equipped to again challenge regularly to win the Premier League.

This is because key sponsorship deals that were crucial to secure the funding for the Emirates Stadium have been renewed and the club's revenue streams will receive a year-on-year boost of around pounds 70?million. The club continue to benefit from property development around the old Highbury Stadium, with sites in Holloway Road and Hornsey Road expected to realise around pounds 10cmillion. Income of pounds 20?million has also been generated last year in relation to the sale of the Queensland Road site. There has been a further three per cent rise in ticket prices for 2014-15.

It also means that, from next year, Arsenal will become one of the select few clubs in Europe to generate more than pounds 300?million a year. This enhanced spending power is reflected in the analysis that was published last night by the Arsenal Supporters' Trust of the club's half-yearly accounts. The AST have called for a freeze on ticket prices and estimate that there will be cash reserves of around pounds 140?million by June this year. It is understood that around pounds 100 million would be available for squad strengthening, although this figure includes wages as well as transfer fees. On a signing of Mesut Ozil's magnitude, the wages over the five years of a contract would amount to a similar commitment to the transfer fee.

It all means that Arsenal can afford a world-class striker in the pounds 40 million price range this summer and still make one or two cheaper but substantial additions in other positions. Arsenal now accept that it would be futile to renew their interest in Luis Suarez but are watching other leading strikers across Europe, including Mario Mandzukic, Jackson Martinez, Julian Draxler and Diego Costa.

Arsenal will also continue to spend on keeping the existing core of their squad intact. Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky signed new deals this month while Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla are also in advanced talks to commit themselves to new contracts.

The only first-team regular whose future is in doubt is Bacary Sagna, who will now wait until the end of the season before deciding whether to sign a new contract amid the potential of a longer deal at Galatasaray.

Arsenal's wage-bill for next season is expected to rise to around pounds 165 million but the club could still increase that outlay by around pounds 20?million and retain a sustainable wages-to-revenue ratio. That would take Arsenal much closer to the wage bill of Manchester United or Chelsea.

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