Arsene Wenger today admitted his bemusement at Chelsea’s imminent sale of Juan Mata to Manchester United.
Asked if he is surprised by the move, Wenger told the media: "Yes I am because he is a great player and they are selling a great player to a direct rival.
"I think if you want to respect the fairness for everybody the exact same, it should not happen."
It is a bold statement from a man that, in the last eight years, has done the exact same.
It begun with Patrick Vieira joining Juventus, not a domestic rival, but one on the European front.
The situation at Arsenal grew steadily worse, with Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri all jumping ship for Manchester City.
It compounded with the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United last summer.
If Manchester United were matching Arsenal this campaign, then the comments would appear justified.
But, with the Gunners sitting happy at the top of the Premier League table, 14 points ahead of United and over 100 points ahead in terms of performances this campaign, they appear foolish.
It is a statement that reeks of bitterness – for a number of reasons.
Jose Mourinho failed to sanction the loan of Demba Ba in the summer, given his reluctance to sell a player that could strengthen their title-challenging squad.
Also, Mata has always been a player admired by Wenger. He opted for Stamford Bridge rather than the Emirates when he left Valencia in 2011. So, seeing him leave for Old Trafford will certainly irk him.
Wenger has also never been a fan of the Portuguese, having failed to beat his side once over the course of their managerial battle.
The comments will do no harm to Arsenal, nor to Chelsea or to Manchester United.
They lack sense, and lack substance. Arsenal could win the title, and Wenger should focus on that.
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