Arsene Wenger says the transfer fees and player wages that Premier League clubs are currently willing to pay could strangle their financial muscle in the long-term.
Highlighting the ‘huge amounts of money’ being spent on ‘average’ players, the Frenchman cited his concern that failing acquisitions could be stuck on the books for the duration of their contracts because clubs elsewhere, particularly on the continent, would not be able to afford to pay their wages.
Facing the press ahead of Arsenal’s game with Leicester City the boss was repeatedly quizzed on the way money is being splashed by rivals. As usual, he was bullish in his stance.
“You could say that today in Europe you have two markets,” noted Wenger.
“One for the English clubs and one for the rest of Europe. The danger of the English situation at the moment is that the English clubs can suffocate themselves in the long term.
“Why? Because they buy players at a very high price. That means there are very high wages linked with it and if they are wrong, they will have these players with high wages who cannot move anywhere else.
“You start the first period now of English clubs having to pay massive wages. Even when the players go out, they have to pay their wages. In the long term, that will mean that the financial advantage the English clubs have will drop because they will be on their wage list.
“They pay for 10 or 12 players who have gone somewhere else because the clubs they go to cannot pay their wages.”
He continued: “If you look at the whole transfer market, very little happens on the whole. It is about the availability of players. There is a huge amount of money for average players – there are plenty available. But to find the players that will strengthen your squad is much more difficult.”
As usual, the boss dodged talk of specific targets, despite being asked about moves for both Shkodran Mustafi and Alexandre Lacazette.
“We do not talk about individual players. I told you already what the are the criteria for the price of a player but you could add one more: the identity of the buyer.
“When the buyer is English, it is true that it multiplies the transfer by two or three or sometimes by 10 because if for the same player an English club does not come in, he is worth five million. But if an English club comes he is worth 35 or 40 or 50.”
On Sunday some Arsenal fans vented their annoyance at the lack of transfer activity by chorusing, ‘Spend some f*cking money’ as the Gunners slipped to 4-1 down against Liverpool.
It’s not the first time the chant has been directed at the boss, who stressed that he’s still open to opening his chequebook.
“We are working very hard. You are absolutely convinced that I don’t want to spend the money, but I would like to reassure you that we are ready to spend the money we have. As always, not the money we haven’t got [because] it is not my money.
“Buying calms the fans down, but it is important to spend but even more important to spend it the right way.”