Arsenal fills war chest

[MONEY MATTERS] Arsenal may be struggling on the field, but it's doing well on the bottom line, reporting pre-tax profits of more than $78 million for the first six months of the fiscal year. The Gunners have cash reserves of more than $182 million and no short-term debt. The club's chief executive, former MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis, insisted that will be enough of a war chest for the summer transfer market if the Gunners fail to return to the Champions League, where they've competed for the last 14 years.

Most of the Arsenal profit stemmed from the sale of Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Samir Nasri (Manchester City) and Gael Clichy (Manchester City).

Qualification for the Champions League proper is thought to be worth more than $60 million a season to the Gunners, who are tied with Chelsea for fourth place in the English Premier League. (The top four teams qualify for the Champions League.)

"We don't have the kind of money that other clubs have," said Gazidis, "but we have enough, I believe, if we do it right, to be able to compete at the very highest levels of the game. Our manager [Arsene Wenger] has a fantastic track record of getting those decisions mostly right. There's an expectation at the club that we are in the Champions League every year but we can't gear our entire financial model around that, as that would place the club in jeopardy if we didn't qualify. So we have always got to keep something in reserve."

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