English Premiership

Wenger bemoans bloated English market

Arsène Wenger (Getty Images)
Arsène Wenger (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Arsene Wenger has hit out at the rising cost of players for English clubs as Premier League spending looks set to reach new heights.

The Arsenal boss, who is a notoriously reluctant spender, much to the chagrin of the club's supporters, says prices for players are being inflated as much as 10 times for teams in England.

Wenger is in desperate need of a centre-back as well as a striker with both Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi and Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette reportedly close to joining the club, although with these concerns, the pair may just be another in a long line of transfer targets the club has allowed to get away.

Reports suggest Valencia have raised their asking price for Mustafi from £15m to £30m with Lyon turning down a £30.9 million bid for Lacazette as they seek compensation closer to £60m.

The prudent Frenchman told the Telegraph: "Today in Europe you have two markets. One for the English clubs and one for the rest of Europe.

"The danger of the English situation is that the English clubs can suffocate themselves in the long term. Why? Because they buy players at a very high price. That means there are very high wages linked with it and, if they are wrong, they will have these players with high wages who cannot move anywhere else."

Wenger added: "I have told you before the criteria for the price of a player but you could add one more: the identity of the buyer.

"When the buyer is English, it is true that it multiplies the transfer by two or three or sometimes by 10. If an English club does not come in, he is worth £5 million but, if an English club comes for the same player, he is worth £35 million or 40 or 50."

Auditing firm Deloitte confirmed in the Telegraph that Premier League clubs have already spent £800m, and with the transfer window still open, that figure is expected to rise to £1 billion, especially when you consider the revenues for Premier League are more than the Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A combined.

Senior manager at Deloitte Sports Business Group Alex Thorpe said: "The increase in central Premier League distributions for the 2016/17 season of around £30-50 million per club is likely to fuel a new record high of over £1 billion for gross player transfer spending in the 2016 summer transfer window.

"The majority of the big-money transfers will likely conclude in the second half of the window."

Wenger added: "You start the first period now of English clubs having to pay massive wages. Even when the players go out, they have to pay their wages. In the long term, that will mean that the financial advantage the English clubs have will drop because they will be on their wage list. They pay for 10 or 12 players who have gone somewhere else because the clubs they go to cannot pay their wages."

But the seasoned campaigner has despite all of this insisted that he will spend if he has to in order to land the club's transfer targets this summer.

"I would like to reassure you that we are ready to spend the money we have.

"Buying calms the fans down. It is important to spend but even more important to spend it the right way.

"We have no limit in age. If it is a guy of 32 and we think he has the quality then we will do it. This club has been built around the quality of the signings. I have to make decisions that are right for the club."

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