Arsenal's long run without a trophy, any trophy, may run to a full decade, if quotes from the Gunners' chief executive are to be believed. Ivan Gazidis, speaking to BBC Sport, told the Emirates club's fans he was confident the years of careful planning and financial prudence were building up to a strong and sustainable title-challenging platform. The last time the club won a trophy was the 2005 FA Cup, when they beat Manchester United on penalties.
The chief executive outlined an ongoing two-step plan business plan for the club's sporting future and claimed the first step had been completed with the move to the Emirates Stadium. The club's accounts reveal a consistent increase in turnover (from the footballing segment), rising from £115.1m in 2005 to £235.3m in 2012, leading to a reported £34.1m profit, before tax, for the present year.
"At times it's been a challenging project, but we will have catapulted ourselves into the elite clubs on the European scale and that, for us, has been what the last 10 years has been about," Gazidis explained, adding, "Very clearly, it will push the club forward and put us into the top five clubs in the world in revenue terms, which will be a fantastic position to be in."
However, Arsenal fans are unhapy with the fact little, if any, of those growing turnovers and profits seem to be re-invested in acquisition of world-class football talent to reinforce and complement their young squad. Manager Arsene Wenger has only been recently moved to make high-profile signings, deviating from his normal practice of recruiting talented but young and inexperienced players and grooming them. But the signing of Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski is only a start and the Frenchman should know that. Even with the trio of internationals from Spain, France and Germany respectively, the Gunners are still 11 points of United at the top of the table and the Daily Mail reported earlier that a bid for Napoli forward Edinson Cavani would happen in January.
Meanwhile, the club's annual financial report notes the 2011/12 season, for which the club reported £36.6m profit, before tax, for the Arsenal Group, was the first season to be included in UEFA's FFP calculations and also that the fact of a significant profit boded well for the future. The second part of the plan, Gazidis continued, was to work on expanding and increasing the commercial deals "tied into the construction of the stadium".
"When that happens, we will take the second big step forward and that will be comparable in magnitude to moving to the stadium itself," he said.
Meanwhile, the 48 year old Johannesburg-born administrator also touched on UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, which will come into full effect next season, and said the club's financial planning would mean the Gunners will be in a strong position to deal with other clubs.
"As our financial capability develops, as economic rationality enters the world of football, our ability to compete at salary levels for the very best talent will be enhanced," he concluded.
Wenger, meanwhile, is busy preparing for what will be a tense north London derby with Tottenham. Spurs are presently in seventh in the Premier League, a point above the Gunners and with the financial implications of playing in Europe, never mind the Champions League, becoming ever more crucial to a club's profile, the pursuit of West Brom in fifth (the final European qualifying slot for next season) starts now.
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