Arsenal 'could afford Rooney'
Arsenal now have the financial power to sign top players like Wayne Rooney, chief executive Ivan Gazidis has declared.
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Gazidis claimed the Gunners were entering a new era of "financial firepower" meaning they could afford to pay a transfer fee of more than £20m and wages in excess of £200,000 a week for the Manchester United star.
The Emirates chief used Rooney as an example but manager Arsene Wenger, known for prudence in the transfer market, has already admitted he would not turn down the chance to sign the unsettled England international.
Questioned about the potential to break a rigid pay structure for big-name deals, Gazidis said: "We could do that, we could do more than that.
"It is going to be the players that Arsene believes in. He is pretty blind to price tags, he looks at what he sees with his eyes and makes judgements based on that, and not on reputations and prices.
"We have a certain amount which we've held in reserve and we also have new revenue streams coming on board. All of these things mean we can do some things which would excite you. We can think about all kinds of things."
Asked directly if the club could afford Rooney, Gazidis added: "I don't know what his fee would be.
"I'm talking about an extra £70m of additional, high-margin revenue - so of course we could do that."
Deloitte's Annual Review of Football Finance 2013 showed the Gunners were
behind only United and Chelsea in terms of revenue with £235m for 2011/2012.
But with the club able to tap into additional revenue from new commercial deals, they are expected to gross more than £300m by 2015, moving them into the same territory as Barcelona and European champions Bayern Munich.
"This year we are beginning to see something we have been planning for some
time, which is the escalation in our financial firepower," Gazidis said.
"That is going to happen partly into next season, it is part way available now in the summer, but the following season as well.
"It is a progression over the next two seasons and is quite significant for the club. We should (eventually) be able to compete at a level like a club such as Bayern Munich.
"I am not saying we are there by any means, we have a way to go before we can put ourselves on that level, but this whole journey over the past 10 years really has been with that goal in mind."
The Arsenal chief also says he wants Wenger to continue to lead the Gunners and is adamant the Frenchman has the backing of the board to continue beyond next term.
"We think we have got a fantastic manager," Gazidis said. "We hope that he wants to do what he is doing for the long term. I believe he does.
"I think he is still ambitious, still driven and sees the potential of the club as he looks forward and I think he is very excited by that.
"We have a great relationship and he has a great relationship with the board as well. So, quietly and at the right time, I think we will make an announcement on that when things are all put in place.
"This is going to happen very quietly behind closed doors, privately and then there will be an announcement.
"I don't even want to say (if we have discussed a new deal). We have got a lot of confidence in Arsene that he is the right person to take the club forward and I think he will want to do that."