Wenger on Chelsea, Mata & financial fair play: 'like taking a gun to a tank fight'

Arsene Wenger Big Coat

The sale of Juan Mata from Chelsea to Manchester United shows UEFA ruling is working, claims Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

Arsene Wenger, an economics graduate, has operated on a budget for the vast majority of his managerial career - particularly in the aftermath of Arsenal's house-moving project from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium - but, doing so, he has recently claimed, is akin to taking a gun to a shoot-out with a tank as others, such as, presumably, Chelsea, scoped elite-level talent on a seemingly infinite funds.

UEFA's ground-breaking financial fair play (FFP) regulations were ratified with the intention of ensuring football clubs do not spend outside their means and, while it is still in it's infancy, Wenger believes that Chelsea's decision to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United for £37m is vindication that clubs are adhering to the policy and that it is working.

For Wenger, the sale represents a triumph for UEFA.

'I think it is a purely financial reason,' he explained, as quoted by Sky Sports. 'That is the first time I come to that conclusion with Chelsea. It means somewhere that Chelsea changes philosophy and they want to get on line with financial fair play.

'For me that is the main reason, and that is a good thing.'

When it comes to the accounts, Arsenal are arguably one of the most well-ran football clubs in the industry. But Wenger has likely been frustrated when he is balancing his club's books while his rivals compete to outspend each other in the transfer market - hence Arsene's apt comparison (even borrowing Gunners parlance) of attempting to fight off an armoured tank with nothing but a pistol.

'We [Arsenal] didn't need the rules of financial fair play to be dictated to us because we imposed it on ourselves, like what should be the case for everybody. It is difficult because you fight with a gun against people with a tank.

'Today, everybody now fights on more even ground. Chelsea sold Mata because they had plenty of players who are very young - Eden Hazard, Oscar, Ramires, David Luiz, they are young. They are not in a big need to buy.

'They had a surplus with Mata, so they sold him to Manchester United - yes it is a surprise, but they got a good price,' he concluded.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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