The Arsenal Supporters' Trust have controversially claimed that the club could have as much as £42 million to spend in the January transfer window.
Arsene Wenger has reportedly been handed a £20 million budget for new signings with the Frenchman targeting at least a new defender when the window reopens. Those reports came on the back of claims from chief executive Ivan Gazidis, who insisted the club were not "sitting on a huge cash pile that it is refusing to use”.
However, the AST, who are frequently at loggerheads with the Arsenal board, insist that their independent analysis of the club's accounts have come up with wholly different results. They say Arsenal could afford to spend as much as £42 million and still stay in the black.
A report from the AST, sent to the Evening Standard, read: “Whilst we appreciate the commercial sensitivity surrounding spare cash for transfers, its inevitable fans want to understand what funds are available and we try and do this in an informed a way as possible, based on the actual report and accounts.
“The AST estimates that the spare cash available for investment in the squad in January is approximately £42m. Further additional investment will be possible in the summer of 2015 as long as Arsenal qualify for the Champions League for the 2015-16 season."
The AST remains very frustrated that with such resources available further additions weren’t made to the squad in key positions. - AST statement
Arsenal's manager has come under fire early this season after failing to sign adequate cover in both defence and defensive midfield. A torrent of injury problems have amplified the problems and, naturally, questions have been asked as to why Wenger failed to build a bigger squad.
With just £20 million to spend in January, it is unlikely Wenger will be able to solve all of the problems in his squad with many believing a quality defender and midfielder is needed at exceptional cost. The likes of Sami Khedira and Mats Hummels have been linked with a move to north London, but both appear to stretch outside of Wenger's budget.
The statement continued: “The AST remains very frustrated that with such resources available further additions weren’t made to the squad in key positions. It now remains to be seen whether running such a small squad in these positions will prove costly to Arsenal’s title ambitions this season.”
Having seen Jeremy Wilson, who is fast becoming to go-to-journalist when it comes to reliable information on Arsenal, claim that Wenger will indeed have just £20 million to spend in January, it appears frustrations will only grow further. That is, of course, unless Arsenal starting winning games.