Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed Manchester United paid a staggering €80m to sign 19-year-old Anthony Martial from Monaco on transfer deadline day and suggested the move is evidence of the lack of talent available in the world game.
Initial reports suggested United paid around €49m to sign Martial in a lavishly expensive deal that has sent ripples through the European game, yet the price Wenger is suggesting they paid out a fee that would make the deal even more remarkable.
“What happened with Monaco, who sold Martial to Manchester United for €80m, I’ve heard,” Wenger told beIN Sports. “Martial scored 11 goals in the French championship - that sums it up well.
“That means it’s not the money that’s missing at the moment, it’s not the desire of investment that is missing, it’s the number of players available who can strengthen the big clubs.
“The problem at the moment is finding the players that guarantees you are a better team after, and that example last night shows you very well.
“Martial is a huge talent - he’s 19 years old. The investment is absolutely huge as well. It shows you that there’s not many players in the world who can strengthen these teams.”
Wenger had come under fire once again for his refusal to invest in the summer transfer market, with Arsenal the only club from a major European league who failed to sign an outfield player.
Petr Cech’s arrival is the only major addition to the Arsenal squad that finished a distant third in last season’s Premier League title race, with the relaxation of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules allowing clubs backed by mega-rich owners to outspend the rest once again.
“I’m not against Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain being able to buy players, but you would like the financial fair play rules to be known before the transfer period starts and the rules have been a bit accommodated during the transfer period,” added Wenger.
“I cannot give you an answer as to what the real significance of financial fair play is. It’s too complicated to be efficient and too complicated for everybody to understand the rules, which is why I think there is a need to simplify the whole process.
“I don’t think clubs like Arsenal are being penalised, but I think well-run clubs should be a normality, that every club should live with the resources it produces. At the end of the day, what is a big club and a small club? A big club should be a club with the biggest fan base and which works best in its decisions.”
Arsene Wenger has been spotted in Paris to fuel a flurry of optimism among desperate Arsenal fans that their transfer business is not ending with a whimper, but possibly with the addition of Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani.