Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick has said the club must “spend effectively” as they battle the challenge of inflated transfer fees, wages and agent payments to compete at the top level.
Speaking after the club’s latest financial results were announced, Keswick also conceded that this season had not been easy on the pitch.
The figures, up to Nov. 30, 2017, show that Arsenal Holdings plc now has cash reserves of £137.6 million – up £37.1m on their 2016 results.
Although football turnover decreased £23.4m, this was attributed to Arsenal falling out of the Champions League and instead competing in the less lucrative Europa League this season.
The summer sales of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Gabriel and Wojciech Szczesny helped to bring in almost £60m, while the club confirmed that the largest contributing factor to an increase in running costs stemmed from higher player wages.
Only the then club record signing of Alexandre Lacazette was offset against the departures as the January window, which saw Arsenal break their transfer record again to bring in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and sell a host of squad players, is not taken into account.
With more money than ever available to clubs, particularly in the Premier League, Keswick remains keen to keep Arsenal self-sufficient against growing costs.
“Breaking our transfer record twice in one season and the player contracts we have signed shows our commitment to getting the club back competing for the Premier League,” he said.
“However, our strategy remains self-financing and we must accept all the challenges that brings at a time when the inflation of transfer fees, player wages and the fees demanded by agents has become super-heated.
“We need to spend effectively and be the best we can across the whole of our football operations if we are to compete at the level our ambitions for the club demand.”
After manager Arsene Wenger was given a new two-year contract last summer, chief executive Ivan Gazidis challenged him to get Arsenal back to a position from which they can challenge for the Premier League title.
Ahead of Thursday’s meeting with Manchester City, who beat the Gunners in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, Arsenal are 27 points adrift of Pep Guardiola’s side at the Premier League summit.
“This has not been the easiest of campaigns,” Keswick said. “But we are all working hard to ensure we have a strong finish.”