Sport Soccer

Saturday 16 February 2019

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger calls for UEFA to scrap spending caps on clubs

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal host Bournemouth this weekend
Arsene Wenger's Arsenal host Bournemouth this weekend

Arsene Wenger has called for an end to Financial Fair Play rules despite the Arsenal boss spending the summer adhering to them.

Fans of Arsenal were fuming at the close of the transfer window after the Gunners shifted out several players without bringing in any new talent during the final days of August.

Sead Kolasinac was signed on a free at the start of the summer, with Arsenal then breaking their transfer record to recruit Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon.

That was the end of the club's incoming deals and, even though they managed to hand on to talisman Alexis Sanchez, supporters were left unimpressed at Arsenal's business.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was sold to rivals Liverpool on deadline day, while Kieran Gibbs, Lucas Perez and Joel Campbell also left in the final hours of the window.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and defender Gabriel were sold earlier in the summer as Wenger insisted his squad was too big and he needed to balance the books.

Sanchez was almost sold to Manchester City on deadline day but the move failed to materialise as Arsenal's move for Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar fell through.

It was reported Arsenal had offered £92million for the France international despite Wenger's often frugal approach to transfers.

With Paris St Germain recruiting Neymar for a world-record fee of £200.6million and also bringing in Arsenal target Kylian Mbappe, the 67-year-old Wenger has now called for financial regulations to be loosened around Europe.

Asked if he wanted to see an end to UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, Wenger said: "I think so because there are too many legal ways to get around Financial Fair Play.

"At least the question has to be raised. I'm convinced that at the moment the rules are not strong enough to make that respected."

Wenger suggested the Premier League could also suffer if it continues to follow FFP by the book.

"Financial Fair Play raises new questions," he said.

"Today I am not very convinced that we can maintain it. We have to maintain the control of financial management of the clubs. Football is maybe only at the start of a huge financial investment. It has become the most powerful sport in the world.

"That means, do we have to open the door completely? To investments? That is a question we have to raise, because at the moment it looks like we have created rules that cannot be respected.

"Nothing works when you create rules that cannot be respected. Maybe we are at the crossroads and have to think, do we open it completely?

"Freedom to investment for people like the Chinese or Americans who want to invest here? Why not? If you want to remain the best league in the world, that is certainly the way we have to go."

Wenger was speaking on Thursday morning, ahead of the Premier League's decision to close the summer transfer window on the eve of a new season.

The Frenchman was all for the move to avoid players being "tapped up" on the day of a game.

Oxlade-Chamberlain moved to Liverpool before the summer window closed, just three days after turning out for the Gunners in a 4-0 defeat at Anfield.

"Many things happen in the last second (of the window), which I regret," Wenger said.

"That's why I believe it's important that we change that and close all that stuff before the championship starts. Even in the games, you sit there before the games and even in players' minds they have no clarity.

"Are they in? Are they out? Are they half in? Are they half out? Are they tapped up in the afternoon of the game by people who want to get them out? It's not the way to work and it's uncomfortable.

"Every single manager in the league would agree that it's time to kick that out before the season starts and not continue to have players in the dressing room who are half out and half in.

"You are not naive enough to think that (tapping up) will not happen. Have they been tapped up? Of course. But on the day of a game? I don't think so, I hope not.

"But it's inevitable. That's why you have to scrap it before the season starts."

Press Association

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport