LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 3 – Neymar’s imminent mega-transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain is “beyond calculation and rationality”, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Thursday.
In a reference to PSG’s super-rich Qatari backers, Wenger said the 222 million euros ($260 million) deal was a consequence of what happens when “a country owns a 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,” he told a press conference at the Emirates Stadium.
“Once a country owns a club, everything is possible.
“It becomes very difficult to respect the financial fair play 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 Qatar’s use of football as a vessel for soft diplomacy meant PSG’s owners did not need to worry about whether the transfer represents value for money.
“We are not in a period anymore where you think, in some places: ‘If I invest that, I will get that back.’ We are beyond that,” said the Frenchman.
“The number today involves a lot of passion, pride, public interest and you cannot rationalise that anymore.”
Citing the 1979 transfer from Birmingham City to Nottingham Forest of Trevor Francis, who became Britain’s first £1 million ($1.3 million, 1.1 million euros) player, Wenger said fees were now out of control.
“It also looks like the inflation is accelerating,” he said.
“We crossed the 100 million (euros) line last year (when Paul Pogba joined Manchester United from Juventus) and, only one year later, we’re crossing the 200 million line.
“When you think that Trevor Francis was the first £1 million player and that looked unreasonable, it shows you how much distance and how far we have come, how big football has become.
“It’s beyond calculation and beyond rationality.”