herald

Saturday 23 September 2017

Wenger calls for end to Financial Fair Play

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

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.

Target

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 as he prepares his side for tomorrow's clash with Bournemouth.

"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."

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