Arsene Wenger has said that Manchester United can pay Alexis Sanchez however much they want and he will always “respect” it, because United, unlike other teams, generate their money through their own success.
Sanchez is on the brink of a move from Arsenal to United, who are willing to pay him more than £300,000 per week, as well as generous signing-on and agent fees that even Manchester City were unwilling to pay. Wenger has long been a critic of inflated spending in football, and admitted that Arsenal can no longer compete with the money that United and City can spend on players.
But Wenger, in a surprisingly liberal moment, said that he had no problem at all with United throwing huge sums at Sanchez. Because their money had not come from a benefactor or a state, but was from their own commercial activity, tickets and merchandising. The contrast with City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain did not even have to be made.
“I wouldn’t like to comment on the numbers because that’s Manchester United’s problem,” Wenger said. “If they want to come out with the numbers they’ve offered to Sanchez, I respect Manchester United because they generate the money they pay to the players from their own resources. You have to respect that. After that, it’s down to them to know how much they want to give to the player.”
United have not challenged for the title since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 but Wenger praised how well-run they are, and their ability to generate enough money to spend in the transfer market.
“Overall, Manchester United is a club that is very well managed financially and on the pitch as well,” he said. “That’s why I don’t have any problems with the money they pay.”
While Wenger is happy enough for United to spend big on players, the reality of City and United offering huge money means that Arsenal cannot compete for the biggest players anymore.
“Financially, yes,” Wenger said, when asked if he could no longer compete for wages. “That doesn’t mean that you cannot compete on the pitch. That will not be an excuse big enough to not compete on the pitch. Of course, there’s no mystery that United and City have bigger financial resources.”
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