Arsenal are a real force - Gazidis

24 November 2012 07:47

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis believes Arsenal can compete in the transfer market and "pay the biggest wages" after the Barclays Premier League club announced a £150million extension of their sponsorship deal with Emirates.

The airline will continue their shirt partnership until the end of the 2018/19 season, while also holding naming rights on the Gunners' 60,000-seater stadium at Ashburton Grove until 2028. The £30million-a-year contract represents a significant increase in additional revenue for Arsenal, who have not won a trophy since 2005 and have seen several leading players sold.

Gazidis said: "What we can do is to develop a really strong financial platform for the club which give us the ability to compete for top players, both that we want to bring in and whom we want to keep."

Most recently last season's captain Robin van Persie joined rivals Manchester United for £24million instead of agreeing a new deal and England forward Theo Walcott is the latest Arsenal player to stall over a contract extension.

Part of Arsenal's new deal will see a significant portion of cash paid within the current financial year, increasing manager Arsene Wenger's transfer warchest. Many of Arsenal's commercial deals tied with helping the club's move from Highbury in 2005 are close to their renewal date - including the current shirt manufacturer contract with Nike, which is up in 2014.

While Arsenal may be committed to planning for life within the new Financial Fair Play regulations, Gazidis insists the club can hold their own in the market.

Gazidis added: "We will be able to be more financially competitive, which will enable us to push forwards on the field. We can pay bigger salaries and I think we can invest more in transfer fees.

"How we make those decisions will be based on a manager whose judgement over the years has been shown to be absolutely outstanding. There is nobody else I would want to be thinking about those types of decisions on behalf of this football club."

Gazidis, though, maintains just simply ploughing money into the team for the sake of it is not the way to go, saying: "It is very easy to spend a lot of money and not get a lot of benefit from that on the pitch. We have had a manager who has done an outstanding job through a difficult period and he will do an outstanding job investing this money, I have no doubt about that.

"We do have cash coming in from this Emirates deal, because we wanted to start to invest in the team a little more now, so we will have that capability by the summer. But we also kept some powder dry, so we have got the ability to invest if the manager finds the right opportunities in January."

Source: PA