LONDON (AP) — Topping the Premier League, chasing a first title in a decade seems even more gratifying when Arsenal sees itself as taking on an entire nation.
The Gunners are a point ahead of Manchester City, which has benefited from more than $1.5 billion of investment from Abu Dhabi in a little over five years.
"You can't compete against that," Arsenal chief commercial officer Tom Fox said Wednesday. "We're a football club in London and we are a global brand, but we would never try to compete against the financial resources of a country.
"I just don't think that's a very realistic thing for us to do ... trying to chase those types of owners. Obviously it's just not possible."
City was bought in 2008 by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family, through an investment vehicle. The team went on to win the league in 2012.
For Arsenal, doggedly adhering to a policy of long-term financial sustainability has meant a frustrating lack of silverware since the 2005 FA Cup.
Now Arsenal seems to have the best chance in years to end a trophy drought that has been a millstone round the neck of manager Arsene Wenger.
The London club is also in the last 16 of the Champions League, where holder Bayern Munich awaits next month, and the FA Cup, with lowly Coventry up next in the fourth round.
"Winning and doing it on our terms, in a self-sustaining way, I think (would be) incredibly powerful," Fox said after addressing a Leaders Sport Network breakfast in London.
"We believe that we will be successful running the football club the way we're running it — despite a whole host of other issues, whether it's the economy at large, whether it's the make-up of the ownership," added Fox, a former NBA director.
Arsenal isn't exactly owned by a pauper, with American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke's fortune estimated by Forbes magazine to be $5.3 billion.