For a man who admits to not being a fan of far ranged pre-season tours, Arsene Wenger is doing a good job of selling his Arsenal side’s clash with Manchester City in Beijing.
Roberto Mancini will lead his side out against the Gunners in the Chinese capital on July 27 and may not be too pleased with the Emirates Stadium chief’s latest comments regarding their Premier League triumph last season.
Arsenal will also have a friendly with Kitchee FC of Hong Kong a couple of days later and was speaking to the city’s version of TimeOut when he question how much praise Mancini should be given be given for finally taking his squad of expensive stars to the title.
“I don’t want to go into excuses but you want a business to be run properly and I believe that to lose £150million a year, you don’t deserve a lot of credit to win a competition,” he said in the interview.
Wenger didn’t just take a swipe at City, he also claimed that Arsenal could still win the title without being able to compete financially with the big-spending sides.
The Frenchman also admitted that the Gunners were counting on UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules to be enforced properly, claiming his club would benefit greatly following their move towards creating an entirely self-sustaining company.
“If the rules are well introduced, it will be a massive advantage to Arsenal Football Club, of course, and we will be well positioned for that,” he claimed.
“I think that it is right that you balance your books – to accept the one basic principle for every company – and that’s that you can spend the money which you make.
“That principle just seems to be a common sense and logical one.”
That is all well and good, but it is plainly obvious that the biggest football clubs are not normal businesses – one example being the Act of Sport in Spain, which allows clubs like Barcelona to operate with negative equity and not be forced into rebalancing their assets.
In fact, a number of Spanish clubs owe tax to the Spanish government but are not being forced to repay it – a staggering combined total of £625million in March of this year.
La Liga tax issues, added to the likes of City, PSG and Chelsea regularly soaking up huge losses to finance on-field success because of mega-rich owners, all sounds a little unsavoury.
However, until FFP comes into play, none of these teams are breaking any of the rules that apply to football clubs and complaining about them is like Blackburn Rovers complaining that they can’t get as many people in Ewood Park as Manchester United do at Old Trafford.
Do Chelsea deserve less credit because they are situated in an area that has a population with a much higher average income? Is any success they achieve less valid because they have access to a far greater population base?
It may feel wrong to some, but City are only operating within their own parameters and their owners can do what they wish with their money and the clubs they own.
What is really wrong is that which has happened at Leeds United and Portsmouth, where fans have worried if they will be able to even turn up to watch their club at all.
Football is a profession and those clubs that can provide greater salaries and benefits will always attract the best talent; there are no two ways about it.
Richer clubs have always experienced a greater ratio of success due to being able to buy the best players, we just haven’t ever seen it on the scale and speed that PSG, City and Chelsea went about it.
Complaining about disproportionate financial muscle being wrong or right are arguments that need to be saved for when FFP comes into play.
If a club contravenes the rules, then restrictions on their dealings and punishments can be put in place, but the current set up allows them to spend as they have and there is nothing anyone can do about it.
Wenger and many others might not like it, but they are just going to have to lump it.
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