ARSENAL last night faced calls from fans to spend more money on the team after halfyearly figures revealed a profit of £17.8m generated by player sales – and cash reserves of £123m.

The profit, achieved effectively by the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United, covers the six months up to the end of November 2012.

The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) said the figures highlighted the need for the club to spend more money on team strengthening. They believe the Gunners have not replaced players such as Van Persie and before him Cesc Fabregas by those of similar quality.

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Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood insisted, however, the club was determined to keep their stars.

He said in a statement: ‘‘Let me be quite clear that our intention is to keep our best players and recruit new talent to make us stronger.

‘‘Although we were disappointed to see Robin van Persie leave the club, we have taken steps to secure our best players going forward and have recently signed Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson to new long-term contracts.

‘‘During this financial period we also invested £40.9m in the acquisition of new players, and the extension of other player contracts. More recently we added Nacho Monreal to our ranks from Malaga.’’ Hill-Wood said that the Premier League clubs’ agreement to bring in financial fair play-style spending controls would help Arsenal.

He said: ‘‘These new rules will be good for us, good for the Premier League and good for the game as a whole.

‘‘It is important that we maintain the quality and level of competition if the game is to continue being a compelling spectacle and we believe the introduction of tighter financial regulation will assist all clubs to compete while remaining financially responsible.

‘‘Our ability to compete at the top of the game here and in Europe is underpinned by our financial performance which gives the club strength and independence.

‘‘Our desire is to make everyone connected with Arsenal proud of the club. We know that comes through winning trophies but also through the way we do things and that will remain our constant guide.’’ Arsenal’s football turnover dropped from £113.5m to £106m as a result of four fewer home fixtures compared to the same period the previous year.