Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger feels Neymar’s €222 million ($263.56 million) move from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is beyond rationale, and added this happens when “a country owns a football club”.
“For me, it is the consequence of the ownerships and that has completely changed the whole landscape of football in the last 15 years,” Wenger was quoted as saying by ESPNFC on Friday.
Qatar Sports Investments became the majority shareholder of PSG in 2011. Since then, they have spent exorbitant amounts on new recruits.
“Once a country owns a club, everything is possible. It becomes very difficult to respect the financial fairplay because you can have different ways or different interests for a country to have such a big player to represent a country. It can’t justify the investments and looks unusual for the game,” Wenger said.
“Apart from that, we are not in a period any more where you think, in some places ‘If I invest that, I will get that back.’ We are beyond that. The number today involves a lot of passion, pride, public interest and you cannot rationalise that any more.”
“It also looks like the inflation is accelerating. We crossed the €100m ($118.72 million) line last year and, only one year later, we’re crossing the €200m line,” the coach noted.
Citing the example of Trevor Francis, Wenger said football has come far in terms of financial might.
“When you think that Trevor Francis was the first £1m player (when he joined Nottingham Forest from Birmingham City in 1979) and that looked unreasonable, it shows you how much distance and how far we have come, how big football has become,” he said.
“It’s beyond calculation and beyond rationality,” he added.
Wenger also said the money being on offer is beyond “normal life” and likened it to NBA in the USA.
“You don’t look at the numbers in their absolute value any more,” he said.
“Football has been for a long time out of normal society and the numbers are like the NBA in basketball, so it’s not comparable to normal life anymore.”
“It was already out of context of society so, after, it just becomes a bit extra. You cannot calculate what it brings in anymore. It’s just a number. We still live with rationality. We are not the only ones. I think 99 percent of the clubs do that but, of course, we cannot compete at that level,” he said.
“Today, a player is worth what the club can afford to spend and I would say that the price of a player depends on the identity of the buyer. You cannot put it in the context of the market. It is the financial potential of the buyer that decides the price of the player,” he added.