Friday 15 December 2017

Wenger accuses Chelsea of 'playing with rules' over Mata sale

Mata: Won't face Chelsea this season
Mata: Won't face Chelsea this season

Matt Law

ARSENE Wenger has accused Chelsea of "playing" with transfer-window rules to enhance their Premier League title challenge.

Arsenal manager Wenger believes the sale of Juan Mata to Manchester United proves Chelsea have finally accepted they cannot keep losing money. But he feels the timing of the deal is designed to help Jose Mourinho's team.

Wenger is still considering spending some cash himself before the transfer window shuts, with Schalke star Julian Draxler keen to move to Arsenal.

It is understood Arsenal representatives travelled to Germany for talks this week, but Arsenal have so far failed to meet Schalke's £37m asking price for the 20-year-old.

Third-placed Chelsea are two points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal and have already faced United twice this season. But Mata will be eligible to play for United in games against Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Wenger has already questioned the fact Chelsea have sent Romelu Lukaku on loan to Everton for the season. The striker can help Everton take points off Chelsea's rivals, but cannot play against his parent club.

Following the victory over United last week, Mourinho claimed he wanted the Old Trafford club to beat all of Chelsea's title rivals and finish fourth.

"He sums up what Chelsea's thinking is," said Wenger. "I can understand that. He has not done anything wrong, no, no. They just play with the rules.

"Chelsea have already played twice against Manchester United, so they don't play again any more. They could have sold Mata last week, but it opens at least the opportunity of the dates of this transfer window. Some teams have already played twice against one opponent and some others not.

"I just think you would want that everybody is on the same level. I can understand completely what Chelsea is doing. Maybe the rules should be a bit more adapted to more fairness. Maybe the transfer window should stop when everybody has played once. That happens in the rest of Europe."

When asked whether Chelsea also played with the rules over Lukaku's loan, Wenger added: "That is as well a rule that is not normal. When you loan a player, they should play everyone."

United have paid a club-record £37m for Mata and Wenger believes that they are trying to balance the books. They have, however, reinvested £12m into signing Mohamed Salah from FC Basle.

"Next season, Chelsea will have to play United again," said Wenger. "So I think there's a financial reason. It means somewhere that Chelsea changes philosophy and they want to get in line with Financial Fair Play. That is a good thing." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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