This article titled “Arsène Wenger blasts Chelsea for hypocrisy over £75m transfer spree” was written by Dominic Fifield at the Emirates Stadium, for The Guardian on Wednesday 2nd February 2011 00.33 UTC
Arsène Wenger last night accused Chelsea of hypocrisy after questioning the logic of Roman Abramovich’s lavish £76.5m outlay on Fernando Torres and David Luiz despite the Russian owner claiming to support Uefa’s policy of financial fair play.
“Chelsea supported Uefa’s financial fair-play proposals but in the morning they announced a £70m loss and in the afternoon they buy £75m worth of players. Where’s the logic in that?” Wenger said after Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat of Everton. “It’s hard to guess. Officially they vote for financial fair play but they can explain why they have done this much better than I can.”
The Arsenal manager anticipates the Premier League champions will spend heavily again in the summer following their mind-boggling huge outlay on transfer deadline day, with his clear distaste all too evident last night.
Asked whether Chelsea’s decision to spend almost as much money in one day as they have since José Mourinho departed Stamford Bridge in September 2007 was a sign that the champions were concerned at falling behind the other challengers, Wenger said: “He [Abramovich] can tell you why but that’s how you can read it from the outside. If you don’t invest for a while, it looks as if you’re not as involved in it any more. That he doesn’t like it as much. But £75m means more will come.
“Abramovich was a bit in no man’s land where nobody could guess if he wanted to still invest or not. He has been like that for a long time but that has changed. He has decided to put big money in again and that tells you in the summer more will come. He is back to full investment.”
Wenger has been critical of Chelsea under Abramovich in the past, accusing them of “financial doping” during the oligarch’s early tenure at Stamford Bridge when the Russian instigated regular overhauls of the Londoners’ squad. The Arsenal vice-chairman at the time, David Dein, famously claimed Abramovich had “parked his Russian tanks on our lawn and is firing £50 notes at us”. Old wounds appear to have been reopened by the latest bout of spending.
Uefa released a statement yesterday noting the frenzy of transfer activity on deadline day – Chelsea and Liverpool alone spent close to £140m on four players – with a view to the adoption of their fair-play regulations, which will come into place for season 2012-13. “Uefa is aware of the recent transfer activity across Europe,” it read. “It must be noted, however, that the financial fair-play rules do not prevent clubs from spending money on transfers themselves but rather require them to balance their books at the end of the season.
“We have full confidence that the clubs are increasingly aware of the nature of the financial fair-play rules, which aim to encourage clubs to balance their incomes and expenses over a period of time covering four to six transfer windows.”
Wenger’s line-up last night cost £40m to construct, around £10m less than Chelsea have paid for Torres alone. “That’s why I sat back in my armchair on the bench and watched with satisfaction,” the Frenchman said. “Chelsea and Manchester City are obviously special cases. It looks like Chelsea are back on the market, which they weren’t for a while. But they have the financial potential to do this.”
His opposite number, David Moyes, Everton’s manager, spent no more than a nominal fee on the Greece Under-19 forward Apostolos Vellios, signed from Iraklis Thessaloniki, during the window but had his own warning on the ramifications of the deadline day frenzy. “If you were the dad of a young player at one of the clubs who have spent so much, you’d be asking how your son was ever going to get a chance there,” he said.
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