I'll only spend if we sell, says Wenger… despite Arsenal announcing record profits
21:42 GMT, 27 September 2012
Arsene Wenger defended his transfer policy, claiming he was not afraid to spend Arsenal's growing fortune as the club recorded pre-tax profits of nearly 37million.
The Gunners are in rude health, thanks largely to player sales with transfer fees for Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy included in the financial results released on Thursday for the 12 months to the end of May this year.
Match-day income is up slightly, to more than 95m for the year and promises to keep rising given that the cheapest tickets for Saturday's Chelsea game at the Emirates were priced 62, making it the most expensive game in Barclays Premier League history.
Cash-flow: Arsene Wenger defended Arsenal's transfer policy on Thursday
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis felt the need to stress in his report that the money was available for Wenger to invest in new players if he considered it necessary.
'Our numbers are good,' said Wenger. 'They are pleasing, very pleasing. We are very lucky because we have good support and the income of our gates is very high.
'We have to maintain that by keeping our fans happy and to continue to manage well in the way we do it.
'We are not scared to spend the money but we feel that even if we spend our money we can't compete with some clubs on certain players.
'We have good players and to buy one more, we have to get one out. We want to spend our money in the right way.'
Arsenal's wage bill is the Premier League's fourth biggest but their top rate does not rival Manchester City, Chelsea or Manchester United and Eden Hazard is among those the Gunners were unable to land.
Hazard was courted by many clubs including Arsenal before opting to join Chelsea, who paid Lille 32m.
'All the big budgets in England were after him,' said Wenger. 'The transfer price was fixed, because he had a clause, so everybody was at the same level.
'I cannot tell you how close we were because I don't know what Chelsea paid in the end.'
The joy of six: Arsenal romped to victory over Coventry on Wednesday
Having started impressively at Stamford Bridge, Hazard is expected to play at the Emirates tomorrow but the Gunners are relieved there will be no more punishment at the hands of Didier Drogba.
Drogba scored 13 goals in 14 games against Arsenal but left Chelsea after eight years in the summer to join Shanghai Shenhua.
'I don't know how much they miss him but we don't,' said Wenger. 'He did a lot of damage against us every game. I feel last year, honestly, he had an average season in the Premier League but in the cups he was absolutely influential and decisive.
Welcome return: Jack Wilshere is back in training
'He was a big part of their success in the FA Cup and Champions League because he was massive. He has that quality and even when he was on a bad day for 80 minutes he didn't give up and kept his focus and his desire to be efficient. He was an exceptional player.
'Chelsea have gone with a different style, they have rejuvenated because they bought some very young players with maybe a more technical style. They have gone a little bit more creative.'
Wenger confirmed Jack Wilshere will make his long-awaited comeback after injury in Arsenal's development team at West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
He also warned Roy Hodgson not to expect Wilshere to be reporting next month's international games, before joking: 'Who does England play San Marino I think he can play in that game.'