Sir Chips Keswick has been keen to play up Arsenal’s spending as the club’s financial results were released, but also to clear up any misunderstandings about the strength of the club’s cash reserves.
Pointing out the 2016 acquisitions of Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka, Lucas Perez, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding, Takuma Asano and Kelechi Nwakali, he said the club made sure not to overspend, leaving them room to make further signings should they so desire.
In the full statement released by the club today, he said, “Our cash reserves at the end of the year stood at £226.5 million and this figure will doubtless attract the usual speculation from fans and commentators.
“That being the case, it is my duty to point out that after excluding debt service reserves and amounts owed to other clubs on past transfers the balance reduces to £149 million.
“This figure is in itself inflated, due to the seasonality of our cash flows, by advance sponsorship and season ticket receipts for the new season.
“Against the underlying balance of available funds we have, as mentioned above, invested strongly in player acquisitions during the summer at a total transfer in cost of more than £90 million with additional significant commitments to player wages, agent’s fees and performance related contingencies on top of that.”
He continued by insisting this would remain the club’s approach in the future.
“Whilst we have spent strongly we have not over stretched,” he said. “It would have been bad business practice not to have retained some small degree of flexibility to allow us to invest again in the right player and / or to maintain the current squad as and where we want to offer improved and extended contracts for key players.
“We make our investments on a prudent and reasoned basis which is something the Club does well and which is even more important in a competitively inflated marketplace.
“This approach has served us well and it will continue.”