Arsenal transfer review requested by club supporters
By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Arsenal supporters have called for an independent review of the club’s transfer strategy ahead of the annual general meeting on Thursday, Football Insider sources understand.
Shareholders who are also members of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust are keen to quiz directors on why the club did not sign a single outfield player in the summer despite having cash reserves of £193million.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech was the only addition as Arsenal became the only club in Europe’s five major League’s not to recruit an outfield player.
Supporters will ask the board, including majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, at the AGM why more money cannot be spent on either improving the squad or lowering ticket prices.
“If a club exists to benefit supporters, why sit on a cash pile that grows larger every year, and is disproportionately large compared to every other Premier League club?”
Arsene Wenger had a vast kitty at his disposal in the summer and could have spent well over £100million on transfer fees and salaries had he wished. Instead, Cech was the only recruit in an £11million transfer from Chelsea.
Arsenal’s financial results last month revealed the club’s cash reserves amount to £193million, up £20million from the previous year, of which they have set aside £65.6million to pay on transfer installments for players already at the club.
The year end bank balance also includes working capital to cover costs for the 2015/16 season.
Nevertheless, the financial results for the year ended 31 May 2015 are strikingly healthy and puts into sharp focus once again Wenger’s reluctance to strengthen his squad.
Turnover is up to £344.5million, compared to £301.9million the previous year, with pre-tax profits rising from £4.7million to £24.7million.
Wenger spent much of the summer pursuing a £40million-plus deal for Karim Benzema but the deal broke down because its total cost, including wages over the course of a five-year contract, would have been £91million.
Wenger has repeatedly said that his reluctance to sign players this summer was down simply to availability and his belief in the existing squad.