Wednesday 13 December 2017

Arsene Wenger has changed his tune on Man United breaking the bank for Paul Pogba

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Tom Rooney

Having recently admitted that the contemporary transfer market fills him with fear, and questioned the sanity of Manchester United’s willingness to pay €110m for Paul Pogba, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger now seems to think that the French midfielder represents value for money.

By any stretch of the imagination this week has proven unprecedented for English clubs splurging outlandish outlays on talent not yet fully realised.

No sooner had Manchester United broken the world record for a transfer in acquiring the 23-year-old Pogba from Juventus for an estimated €110m, then Manchester City parted with close to €55m for the refined but error prone John Stones, who enjoyed a mixed campaign at the heart of a porous Everton defence last season.

Pogba, of course, has blossomed since his acrimonious departure from Old Trafford four years ago, winning four consecutive Serie A titles with the Turin outfit and accruing a reputation as one of the most dynamic midfielders on the continent, but the finished article he is not.

City have bought eight new players since Pep Guardiola assumed the reins, while United have purchased half that number, but spent the better part of €200m in the process.

With their gilded managers at the helm, the Manchester clubs have spared no expense in assembling the squads they believe will reassert their dominance over the English game and, hopefully from their point of view, beyond.

Indeed, Jose Mourinho did not waste time in responding to comments made by Wenger and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp regarding United’s historical purchase and, most recently, the Portuguese claimed neither man would find himself in such a situation because their clubs lack the requisite stature.

Speaking about Pogba today, Wenger, who once again is under fire from his own fans for a perceived frugality in the market, appeared to have performed somewhat of a U-Turn with regards to his countryman.

“The value of a player is dependent on his talent, the expected strengthening of the team, his age and of course his resale value.

"When you speak about Pogba it ticks all these boxes, but we are in a system that we don't master. We have to follow the prices paid by other people.”

Never before have so many of England’s top flight clubs possessed the financial clout they do now, thanks to a near €6bn TV deal that has come into affect.

As such, Wenger believes that the new found wealth will have adverse, or a the very least, vexing consequences for Premier League clubs seeking to lure talent from other countries.

“It makes the market more unpredictable. Where you could approximately value a player before, today the identity of a club that comes in for a transfer is more important than the rest.

“If you go to Spain and you're an English club - straight away the inflation comes in. In France the clubs, among themselves, are very reasonable. If an English club comes in, the price goes up straight away because they know there is money in England.”

Today Arsenal were reported to have had a sizable bid for Riyad Mahrez turned down by Leicester City, while their move to buy Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette has, thus far, been unsuccessful. 

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