Arsenal have announced building work will restart on their new ground at Ashburton Grove within two months.
The new stadium would massively increase Arsenal's revenue
Keith Edelman, managing director of the club's parent company Arsenal
Holdings, said the company needed to raise £200m to fund the building of the 60,000-capacity stadium.
The club have yet to reach full agreement with their lenders but are hopeful of completing the financing of the deal within two months and hope to have the new ground ready for the start of the 2006/07 season.
"Although we are making progress, we have not yet got banks' and
financial institutions' final signatures," said Edelman.
Work at the stadium, which will replace Arsenal's current home at Highbury, has been delayed while local property is bought up through compulsory purchase orders and the road network is altered.
The club's bank debts rose to £45.8m in the year to 31 May, mainly due
to the cost of buying properties it has been forced to acquire for the stadium
development, along with other project costs.
But Edelman claimed that building the new stadium will eventually allow Arsenal to become more ambitious in the transfer market.
"If we are successful in developing the stadium, it will release
more funds to the club. If we are not, then the club will have to exist on its
own," he added.
And Edelman's sentiments have been echoed by Gunners non-executive chairman Peter Hill-Wood.
"It is clear that the development of the new stadium is important to the long term success of the group and we are vigorously progressing all of the issues which lie on the critical path of the project," Hill-Wood said in a statement.
The North London club returned to profit in the year to the end of May 2003, announcing on Tuesday an operating gain of £700,000, after recording a £10.8m loss in 2001/2002.
Group pre-tax profit for the year was £4.5m compared with a deficit of £22.3m over the previous financial year.