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The French boss has issued some interesting words on the club's stadium move and their financial position.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has pointed to the misfortune of several sides who have built stadiums recently and struggled, indicating that his team's relative slump over the past four seasons is nothing too concerning.

The long-term benefits of Arsenal's Ashburton Grove stadium move will not yet be known for a number of years, but the main objective during the interim was to keep the team competitive. A Champions League final in 2006 and a title challenge the following year may be deemed satisfactory, but Wenger is also keen to point out that the criticisms leveled against his fiscally frigid attitude in the transfer window belie the financial status of the club.

The Frenchman cited the demise of clubs such as Derby County, Leicester City, Coventry City and Southampton, who have all been relegated following stadium builds, while Millwall and Bolton Wanderers suffered similar fates in the past, too.

He is quoted by The Times as saying, "If I went to Real Madrid tomorrow I would spend at all costs, but what is more important is to look at what you have at your own club and analyze how you can be successful.

"Arsenal will be more successful by building a new stadium, but it is not easy to build a new stadium and remain where you are. Look at all the clubs who have built new stadiums and where they are now: Derby County; Leicester City; Coventry City; Southampton. They all went down."

Arsenal currently owe £400 million in debt, with the lion's share of that figure being the mortgage for the Emirates Stadium, yet the club have made a handsome profit on two past assets, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure, who are now the toast of the town in the blue half of Manchester.

The Gunners, though, have brought in Thomas Vermaelen for £10m and Andrey Arshavin earlier in the year for £16m. Wenger claims this is evidence for the club living within their own means, and not relying on a wealthy foreign sponsor, which is fast becoming the status quo in the current Premier League environment.

"I accept that what I say is in contradiction with our football world because the money looks as if it has gone higher and higher since I have been in the job," he said. "You compare the average wage ten years ago with today and it has gone up. But we live in a competitive world and that is why I say some of what happens now is financial doping. At Arsenal, we live with the money we produce.

"Other clubs have artificial income, from owners," he noted. "They do not live with the money from the game. We have gates, merchandising, sponsorship, television money, but nothing beyond that. What I fight for is to live within the resources we produce and to pay the players according to our real potential, considering the size of the club.

"That, to me, is normal," he concluded.

Alan Dawson,

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