By Keith Weir
LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Premier League leaders Arsenal are prepared to spend more on their squad after the record signing of German playmaker Mesut Ozil, the club’s chairman said on Monday.
The arrival of Ozil for 42.5 million pounds ($68 million) at the start of the month has lifted the mood among supporters angry at the departure of striker Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas over the past two years.
Arsenal have not won a trophy since 2005 and some fans of the north London club had questioned the club’s ambition under Stan Kroenke, the American sports entrepreneur who is its majority shareholder.
Chips Keswick, whe became Arsenal chairman in June, said manager Arsene Wenger would be given more money to spend as he reported another season of financial profit off the pitch.
“With the Ozil transfer I believe we have made a significant statement 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,” Keswick said in a statement.
Keswick said Arsenal would stick to their principles of running a financially sustainable club and developing young players but said their ambition should not be questioned.
“We have a controlling owner in Stan Kroenke and a Board which is united in our resolve to keep Arsenal Football Club at the pinnacle of the game both here and in Europe.”
The sale of striker Van Persie to Manchester United helped Arsenal remain in profit in 2012-13. On the pitch, United won a record 20th English league title, helped by 26 goals from Dutchman Van Persie.
Arsenal finished fourth to clinch a spot in the lucrative Champions League for a 16th successive season.
Profit before tax was 6.7 million pounds in the year to the end of May, down from 36.6 million a year earlier, Arsenal said.
The club made a 47 million pound profit on the sale of Van Persie and Alex Song, the midfielder who moved to Barcelona. However, the club said it had invested 58.7 million pounds on buying new players and extending contracts, before the addiitonal spending on Ozil.
Arsenal currently lead the Premier League on goal difference from arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur.