Lord Harris has revealed that Arsenal have £200m in the bank.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, the Carpetright owner said that manager Arsene Wenger has the club’s backing if he wants to break the bank and sign a marquee name.
“Money was tight when we moved to the Emirates but it’s a lot freer now,” the 72-year-old stated. “We could go into the market and probably buy any player in the world, apart from half a dozen who are un-buyable. In the accounts, there’s over £200m in the bank.
“You could say to Arsène we’ve got no money and he wouldn’t worry, or you could give him £100m and he might not spend it. At the moment there are no plans to sign anyone, unless he finds a real superstar like Mesut Özil or Alexis Sánchez. He’s looking for one of those but there aren’t many available.”
“We would back him to break the club’s transfer record. If he wanted the man, he could have him. Apart from Messi and Ronaldo, he could have any player. We will probably have to break the club record to get the man he wants.
In an interesting insight, his first mention of a potential transfer signing is that of a centre forward, although one isn’t named.
“We get a list of the players that Wenger wants. “On the list is a centre forward, but I’m not going to tell you who he is. You’ve got to get the other team to want to sell him, but I think he wants to come. It basically comes down to whether the other team can find a superstar to replace him, because they don’t have to sell.”
The likes of Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba, Isco, Sergei Samper and Robert Lewandowski have been touted as targets for Wenger, following his €14m purchase of former Chelsea mainstay Petr Cech.
Raheem Sterling was another player who Wenger was interested in, but Lord Harris was pleased the former Liverpool winger joined Manchester City in the end. “Sterling is a very, very good player but I’m very pleased Arsenal didn’t sign him. He’s got a lot to learn. They were looking at him and the way he treated Liverpool wasn’t good.”
While encouraging a spending splurge, Harris also praised Wenger’s philosophy of prudence.
“It’s not all about spending. ‘If you look at Tottenham, they sold a player for £80m and spent £110m and ended up worse off. Generally, Arsene doesn’t think you should fetch more than three first-team players in one season because it takes too long for them to link up. He knows how to produce players, too – we’ve got four or five very good youngsters who are coming through.”