Thursday 17 January 2019

Wenger's fears over inflated Chinese offers

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger has warned of the "danger" of astronomical wages being offered by Chinese Super League clubs becoming the benchmark for the Premier League's top talent.

Chelsea striker Diego Costa has been linked with a move to the Far East with an offer of £600,000-a-week reportedly on the table for the Spain international.

Two of his former Stamford Bridge team-mates, Oscar and John Obi Mikel, have already moved to Super League outfits, while former Premier League striker Carlos Tevez became the highest-earning player in the world when he joined Shanghai Shenhua in December.

Arsenal manager Wenger is facing questions on a weekly basis over the future of both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, as the pair reportedly seek parity with the best-paid players in the Premier League.

But the Frenchman fears the ever-increasing pay packet of a top-flight star could soon end up being compared to the money on offer in China.

"That's the danger, that the Chinese offers become the benchmark for Europe," Wenger said, when asked if the money on offer in China could complicate negotiations with top players.

"You cannot compete with that but I still think that, when you're a footballer, the first thing is that you want to play against the best players in the best teams.

"Of course it's a worry but it happened in Europe before. It also happens when you're at a smaller club. Sometimes we had periods where we could not financially compete with the bigger clubs who took our players away from us. It can happen inside the country."

Despite his fears, Wenger believes many players will want to stay put in the Premier League and Europe rather than uproot for financial gains.

"My thought is that when you want to be a football player, your first aspiration is to play in the best league, against the best players," he added.

"That has to be the first target, after that when you are a professional football player you want to combine the fact you can play in the best league, against the best players, for the maximum amount of money."

Other than signing full-back Cohen Bramall from non-league Hednesford, Arsenal have done no other business and Wenger admits he expects the remainder of the January transfer window to be "very quiet".

He did announce the club have taken up a one-year option to extend the contract of captain Per Mertesacker.

The 32-year-old's deal was due to expire at the end of the campaign but he will now be staying until at least 2018.

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