Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has never been one to hold his opinions back when it comes to the transfer market, unafraid to stray from the pack and think on his own, but his latest idea that clubs should be limited in the future during January to no more than two signings per side is so far outside of the box it literally beggars belief and leads to the question, just when did he become so out of touch?

It’s become increasingly clear that the 63-year-old has some kind of aversion to spending money these days, with the club’s £8million move for Nacho Monreal on deadline day in the wake of Kieran Gibbs’ hamstring injury causing many supporters to hail the move for a player they didn’t really need as some sort of masterstroke, coming as a major surprise to most that the club had signed anyone at all. You see, Wenger is on a crusade when it comes to Financial Fair Play (FFP) in such a zealot-like fashion, that even a modicum of movement is hailed as the dawning of a new era.

Wenger took particular umbrage at the volume of Newcastle’s dealings this month, telling reporters: “I think it should be all completely cut out or limited to two players. It is unfair for the league that some teams who have played for example now Newcastle twice already have an advantage on teams who play Newcastle now they have bought six or seven players. You do not face exactly the same team so I believe the number of players you could buy should be limited.”

The world according to Wenger is a very interesting place to be and unless you conduct your business by the values that he’s come to adopt in recent years then you are both reckless and irresponsible. Nevertheless, with just 14 Premier League games to go now in the campaign, just how much of an influence does he expect January acquisitions to have on the fate certain sides and the overall feel of the league table? How does it even directly effect him? To call the competition of the market place ‘unfair’ just shows how detached from reality he has become. Would it even be legal to limit freedom of movement in such a fashion?

Of course, this is not the first time that Wenger has gone off at the deep end over finances this month, when faced with questions on Theo Walcott’s future on January 5th at a press conference when discussing the topic of the club’s wage structure: “We pay well. We pay very well. I’ve spent all my life making sure people who work for us are paid well and I believe if you can do it, you do it, to pay something that makes sense and is defendable in front of every single player.

“We make exceptions sometimes but they are not maybe so high. If you want to keep making profit you have to respect that. We have no players on £200,000 a week and I think other clubs will come down to us with financial fair play. We have a more socialist model.”

Only at Arsenal, currently a club with the fourth-highest wage bill in the entire country, the most expensive average ticket price for fans, and where Walcott earned a £40k-a-week wage hike for dragging his heels, would Wenger call their wage structure a ‘socialist model’. It’s like a Peter Sellers movie; the deluded man at the helm spiralling out of control due to his own insistence that his is the right course of action. This stubborn stance in the face of an undeniable reality and an acceptance of where the game is at, is what has seen the club in irreversible decline under his stewardship in recent years. The real draining force on the Premier League is wages, not transfer fees.

His close alignment with the board has caused problems in the past and it will continue to do so in the future. The club are gambling on their future but in a completely different way to some of the richer clubs in Europe. However, you could argue that it’s just as reckless, by placing all of their eggs in one basket regarding FFP being enforced strictly by Uefa. Many see it as simply the latest step to ensure the status quo is kept at the top, with ambitious smaller clubs prevented from joining the cabal of the elite and spending their way to the top, while the sheer volume of ways at getting around the rules is sure to cause problems further down the line.

Try telling QPR, Fulham, West Ham or Reading fans that what their club have done this month constitutes being ‘unfair’. The January transfer window offers the last chance for many to ensure their top flight status for another year and putting a limit on comings and goings would rob them of the chance to be competitive and address the gaps in their squads. The poorer teams in the division simply wouldn’t stand a chance of turning their fortunes around, punished for not quite getting it right first time around in the summer. Now that would be unfair.

It’s notable that many of the teams above Arsenal in the league did very little in January despite possessing the budgets to adjust their apparent failings. Manchester City signed one youngster, Manchester United clinched a deal for Wilfried Zaha and then immediately loaned him back to Crystal Palace in the Championship for the rest of the season, Chelsea signed just one player, Demba Ba, while Tottenham signed two players for a grand total of £4.5m, with Everton bringing in Barnsley youngster John Stones for £3m. Ironically, Arsenal were the only club to spend upwards of £8m on any one player set to have an impact in the top six for the rest of the season, should we put a limit on how much a club can spend now too?

The bean counters have been in control at Arsenal for quite some time now, which has just so happened to have coincided with the club falling from the pinnacle of the English game and struggling to make the top four. Arsene Wenger is a man with a wealth of experience in the game but his recent memory is tainted by seeing star players leave for bigger clubs in the pursuit of silverware year after year and his idea is merely a sign of a man trying to make sense of his lack of control and the chaos around him.

Punishing smaller clubs in the name of fairness is not a logical or rational plan by any stretch of the imagination and the self-proclaimed Socialist manager couldn’t have got it more wrong this time around.


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  • Adam
    2 years ago

    “Try telling QPR, Fulham, West Ham or Reading fans that what their club have done this month constitutes being ‘unfair’. ”

    I don’t think you have really got to grips with what FFP means. All these clubs have had to spend money to try and stay in the premiership. One or more of them will succeed, but for those that have spent the money and end up still getting relegated (remember, three clubs will get relegated, regardless of how much January transfer window business was done)… that is where the real problem with this lies.

    Reply
  • Alan
    2 years ago

    It seems you’ve missed Wengers point entirely. I think it is you that is out of touch. Wenger was asked for his opinion and gave it.

    Reply
  • Brian
    2 years ago

    Indeed, what will happen to QPR if they get relegated? they can’t pay their players on premiership money! If they get relegated they will face a scenario like Leeds or any other club that has crashed an burned in recent years. unlesss tony fernandez does keep his end up.
    Furthermore it may be fair to Arsenal but what about the club that maight get relegated in QPR’s place? The one that wasn’t bought with indian money so they could spend well above their means and their supporters you are going to explain to them how fair this transfer window and an ffp premiership is?

    Reply
  • Harry
    2 years ago

    If QPR (likely) are relegated then frankly they could well be another Portsmouth. Gambling with clubs’ future by spending more money than you earn is madness and although some fans may be happy when they see signings, unfortunately they don’t realise that there club is being put in jeopardy.

    A club is more important to people than just what they do over one season or two. Try asking Portsmouth fans whether that FA Cup win was worth all the pain they’re suffering now… ditto Leeds and Rangers.

    People need to wake up and smell the coffee. Wenger is only talking hard facts. It would be far easier for him to lobby Arsenal to take out loans and blow on players that they can’t afford to keep up with the sugar daddy clubs (like Liverpool did which nearly had them in administration) but he does what is best for the long term interest of the club, rather than his own glory.

    Reply
  • richard
    2 years ago

    James not sure what your post other than an attack on Wenger is about. You took Wengers comments on transfer window of being unfair out of context and used them to suit your own needs. Secondly our wages don’t exceed our income and the recent select committee recommendation is that all clubs be sustainable just like the model we run and better governance and if fa fail to get these things into place then the government threaten legislation to get these things into place.Thirdly monreal was needed Gibbs our first choice left back is out for six weeks and santos is deficient in the defending area that leaves either playing vermalean out of position or playing coquelin or meade in that role coquelin may do ok but is better in midfield and meade lack experience so monreal a spanish international player for 8 million is not a bad bit of business. Lastly i will put wengers comment about fairness into context some teams have played each other twice before this window closed now if like newcastle and you have added six new players half a team it means those teams who have played newcastle twice have an advantage as it is like playing a new team. However, wenger does not like the january transfer window and believes it should go and so do other people even michel platini. So stop spouting your vitrol and try and write a decent objective piece of writing

    Reply
  • Scott (USA)
    2 years ago

    Portsmouth, Leeds, QPR etc……..do I need to go on. Good business in January for Arsenal. A player we can put into the squad. Nacho is a very good player.

    Reply
  • MG
    2 years ago

    James Mcmanus,

    You are clearly out of touch, maybe you think santos’s defensive contribution are good enough?

    Maybe you think Gibbs doesnt need better competition for his position?

    And maybe you think buying a player naturally suited to the left side of midfield (Which will allow another striking option in the form of Podolski up front) is not required when we have only two players for that position for the rest of the season?

    Maybe you didnt take the time to think about what you were publishing?

    Reply
  • MG
    2 years ago

    As for the unfair comments hah well Wenger says a lot of things, he will have had a reason for saying them, wether we agree with it or not wont make any difference.

    All managers try to ‘manage’ thats how the politics of life works.

    Maybe you take everything a bit too literally, surely you know when it comes to football managers statements a pinch of salt is often required.

    Reply
  • superfly
    2 years ago

    Please point out how he can be out of touch if his last 4 signings are the top goal scorer in france lasf season 2 a spanish international midfielder 3 a german international that has had the most caps for his age And. 4 another spanish international who is quality oh and it only cost 44 million where as chelsea paid 50 mil for torres

    Reply
  • Norfolk&chance
    2 years ago

    Anyone who really believes that Barcelona, who are going for the treble,would sell one of their best strikers is a fool. Wenger knew he would never get him, made a tentative phone call, got rejected and released the information to the press. Knowing that gullible fans would lap
    It up.
    2, Two days before the end of the transfer window Arsenal announce next seasons tickets prices have been frozen. In 25 years of having a season ticket this is only the second time they have announced the prices before the last home game of the season. Trying to appease fans as they knew they wouldn’t buy anyone significant.
    All you johnny come latelys, who have only followed Arsenal since their move to the Emirates, when will you realise you are being mugged off?
    Thank you Arsene for the past, time to move on

    Reply
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