Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said that Manchester United’s world-record signing of Paul Pogba “ticks all the boxes,” but he is worried that managers still have little control over insane transfer fees, according to an interview with Sky Sports.
United confirmed a deal with Pogba on Tuesday worth £89 million ($116 million) — £4 million more than the previous world-record Real Madrid paid Tottenham for Gareth Bale in 2013.
Wenger said that from a technical point of view he could see why United wanted Pogba: “The value of a player is dependent on his talent, the expected strengthening of the team, his age and of course his resale value. When you speak about Pogba, it ticks all these boxes.”
But the Premier League’s longest-serving boss was adamant that the buying power of big teams is getting out of control, and that players are now way overpriced.
“We are in a system that we don’t master. We have to follow the prices paid by other people. That has gone up because the availability of money is much higher. That’s why we may have crossed the £100m bar for the first time. It makes the market more unpredictable. Where you could approximately value a player before, today the identity of a club that comes in for a transfer is more important than the rest.”
Wenger added that other clubs in Europe took advantage of English teams looking to sign their players because they perceived them as richer:
“If you go to Spain and you’re an English club – straight away the inflation comes in. So I would say, in France the clubs, amongst themselves, are very reasonable. If an English club comes in, the price goes straight away up because they know there is money in England.”
While Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool have all gone on big spending sprees this summer, Arsenal’s transfer window has been relatively quiet.
The club’s only big signing has been Granit Xhaka from German side Borussia Monchengladbach for £34 million.
This could be down to the simple fact that Arsenal does not have that much money to burn on new players. Its chief executive Ivan Gazidis admitted to The New York Times last month that the club could not afford to ‘outgun’ its competitors and had to be very careful when making large deals.
Wenger, who has been at Arsenal for 20 years, has one more season at the club before his contract runs out. In July he was reportedly in contention for the England manager job, before Sunderland’s Sam Allardyce was given the job.
Arsenal’s first Premier League game is at home to Liverpool on August 14, while Pogba could be in action with United against Bournemouth on the same day.
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