The London derby and potential title decider will become the most expensive game of top-tier English football ever played.
The Gunners’ profits from last term of £50million do not include their summer sales of Robin van Persie (£24M) to Manchester United, nor Alex Song (£15M) to Barcelona.
Their income from Saturday’s game at the Emirates could see their matchday gate receipts hit £6million in their sold-out 60,000-seat Ashburton Grove stadium.
Arsene Wenger expressed his delight upon announcing such a healthy financial term,
“They are pleasing, yes. Very pleasing. Our numbers are good which under the actual circumstances, is quite positive when the whole environment is not positive. We are lucky because we have a good support and the income of our gates is high.”
But the Arsenal manager whose side has failed to win a trophy in seven seasons, has faced criticism in recent campaigns for what discontented share-holder Alisher Usmanov called a “lack of investment” in the team, despite having made a profit in the transfer window.
"This policy is leading to the loss of our best players, often to main competitors, and even causes the players themselves to question their future at the club and the club's ambitions. The situation with Robin van Persie sums this up."
Arsenal reportedly spent a combined £23M on strikers Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski to replace their want-away former captain van Persie, followed by the £16million signing of Santi Cazorla in an aim to fill the voids left by the £35M sale of Cesc Fabregas and £25M sale of Samir Nasri the previous summer to Barcelona and Manchester City, respectively.
Last season chants of “spend some f***ing money” could be heard on occasion at the Emirates with some fans feeling the money they’ve paid to see their team is not being re-distributed effectively.
This season, however, the Gunners have yet to lose a game – their new signings proving to be worth every penny with a combined goal tally of 5 goals in all competitions.
Perhaps a win on Saturday against the big-Blue-spenders would silence Wenger’s critics whilst, synonymously, a defeat would surely only add fuel to the malcontents' fire.
What do you think about the high ticket prices? Can they be justified?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald