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Arséne Wenger On The Future Of The Transfer Market

 • by Nick Callow
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Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger wants Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey to sign new contracts, and soon.

He is keen to avoid last summer’s window madness when Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil headed a list of his players going into the final year of their existing deals and potentially leaving for free at the end of the season.

But he fears the current trend of the rapidly escalating transfer market needs to be stopped and there is a real risk we are entering the last days of the transfer fee.

Wenger was one of many football folk horrified by the £400million summer spending of Paris Sant-Germain, which includes the loan to permanent £165million deal for Kylian Mbappe, and Manchester City’s £215million outlay.

The £198million deal for Neymar from Barcelona made ridiculously high contract release clauses look even more ridiculous.

It even caught the attention of Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, who turned her thoughts from Brexit to ask UEFA and FIFA to address a potential crisis of financial disparity.

Wenger welcomes his German ally and when asked if he thinks this could herald the death of the transfer fee he said ominously: “Something will happen.

“This is the first time that politically the German Prime Minister came out and the President of UEFA came out and I think politically something will happen in the next 12 months to regulate and limit the transfer amount.

“You can go one of two ways – regulate it properly or leave it completely open. But you cannot be in between – that is where we are at the moment.

“That is only to the advantage of some clubs who can deal with rules in a legal way. The regulation has to be stricter and clearer, or open it completely: you can do what you want, provided you can guarantee you have the money to pay.

“At the moment, we are a bit in between and that does not work.”

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The French coach then explained the difficulties Arsenal and other clubs now face in persuading their players to sign long-term deals.

Discussing Welbeck and Ramsey specifically, he said: “Yes, that is something we want to address. Both of them are in a good moment for us.”

But he warned: “With the amount of transfer levels and the expected amount of contracts the players want, you will have more and more players going into the final year of their contract.

“You will be in a position where you either extend for money you cannot afford or you go into the final year of their contract.

“This season there were 107 players in the Premier League who got into the final year of their contract for the first time and you will see that more.

“The clubs want too much more for normal players. Because they say if one player is worth £200m, then this player is worth £50. But everybody knows for that player £50m is too much and they cannot afford it.

“So what happens? The club cannot sell and doesn’t extend the contract, so more and more players are going into the final year of their contract.”

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