Soccer

Arsenal thriving on and off the pitch

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LONDON (AP)

Arsenal is thriving on and off the pitch again.

Reversing the trend of slow starts in recent seasons, the Gunners are top of the Premier League after winning four of their five games.

And another set of healthy annual financial results were published on Monday, with fans having been appeased this month by owner Stan Kroenke dipping into the cash reserves and spending 50 million euros ($66 million) on signing Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid.

Arsenal said on May 31 - before the club-record Ozil signing - it had cash reserves of 119.7 million pounds ($192 million), the highest for any of the league's 20 clubs.

Although pre-tax profits dropped to 6.7 million pounds ($11 million), turnover in the 2012-13 financial year rose to 243 million pounds ($390 million).

''This signing (Ozil) was a direct result of all the hard work we have put in over recent years to build the commercial capability of the club to deliver the consistent revenues and financial strength required to compete for the world's best players,'' chief executive Ivan Gazidis said.

And further cash is available to ensure the investment in Ozil isn't a one-off as the team chases its first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.

''We have made a significant statement (signing Ozil) and when Arsene decides the time is right to invest again, Stan Kroenke, myself and the rest of the Board will be delighted to support him,'' chairman Chips Keswick said.

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