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Gazidis promises Arsenal boss transfer funds from sponsorship cash

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis (left) in the stands with manager Arsene Wenger. Photo credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis (left) in the stands with manager Arsene Wenger. Photo credit: Nigel French/EMPICS

Friday, November 23, 2012
4:41 PM

Ivan Gazidis maintains the club’s £150million extension of their sponsorship deal with Emirates airline is “all about football”.

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Emirates are to extend their shirt partnership until the end of the 2018/2019 season, while also continuing with naming rights on the Gunners’ 60,000-seater stadium at Ashburton Grove until 2028. The £30million-a-year contract represents a significant increase in additional revenue for the Barclays Premier League club, who have not won a trophy since 2005.

Gazidis insists the funds will be ploughed back into Arsene Wenger’s squad.

He said: “The deal is all about football. It is all about giving us the resources in what we believe is a responsible and well managed way, to be able to invest in what we put onto the pitch for our fans.

“We have been able to talk to Emirates about the payment terms and bring some of them forwards, so that we will have additional money in this financial year which will be able to invest in the summer.

“Those decisions on investment are made by our manager, and he has done an outstanding job of managing the resources of the club over time, and we expect that to continue, but he will have more resources available.”

Emirates is also an official partner of the FIFA World Cup, and have a wide-ranging sports portfolio.

Head of Emirates’ corporate communications Boutros Boutros feels the new deal with Arsenal can help them achieve success on the pitch again.

“Arsenal are becoming a truly global club, so for us in itself, this is winning,” he said.

“We would love them to win and we hope this amount of money we are paying now will help them to invest more and hopefully with Financial Fair Play as well, we strongly believe the club is in a strong position now to excel.”

Many of Arsenal’s commercial deals tied with helping the club move from Highbury in 2005 are close to their renewal date - including the current shirt manufacturer contract with Nike, which is up in 2014.

Gazidis added: “Our strategy, which has been driven and supported by [owner] Stan Kroenke and our board, is to grow our commercial revenues so we can have more money to invest in the playing side to drive the club forwards.

“That has been part of a long journey, the move to the new stadium was the first step in that journey, the expansion of our commercial deals is the next step.

“This is as dramatic as the move to the new stadium was in driving the club forwards.

“Our revenues will grow to put us in the top five clubs in the world, and that will give us the platform to reinvest in the team, and push the team forwards - that is what we all want, the board, our fans and everyone who loves Arsenal.”

Theo Walcott has yet to agree a new deal to keep him at the club past the end of the season, and so could open talks with foreign clubs in January.

Negotiations are continuing, with both sides aiming to reach an amicable compromise over terms.

Wenger yesterday called on the 23-year-old forward to soon make a “concrete” commitment if he wants to stay.

While refusing to be drawn on specifics, Gazidis maintained the funds were available should the manager feel Walcott worth the continued investment for a bumper pay deal.

The Arsenal chief executive said: “I am not here to talk about any individual player contract discussions, but obviously we have got funds to be able to make the right decisions for the football club and we will do that based on Arsene’s judgements.”

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Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners.

Ground: Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361).

Founded: 1886.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2004.

FA Cup: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

League Cup: 1987, 1993.

Fairs Cup: 1970.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994.

Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry, 228.

Leading appearances: David O’Leary, 722.