Player contract negotiations have often been a theme of Arsène Wenger’s press conferences this season - and the written journalists quizzed the manager on the theme once again in his dailies section on Tuesday.
Here’s what he had to say.
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on if the club are in a different position with transfers to four or five years ago…We are of course in a position... I think these kind of players they can raise a little bit above the financial aspect of the game because they are not poor and they have to look really on the football side. Do the club meet their needs on the football front? If 'yes’, then a Premier League club can find an agreement with the players. We still keep values we have at the club -we pay what we can afford.
on if the art of a contract has changed…Yes, basically when you sign a contract for four years, you sign for two. Because of the simple fact that just to keep the value of the player you have to extend the contract. It is a little bit illogical because that means that it is inflationary, because never you extend a contract to offer less. That means the status of a football player today creates inflation inside the clubs just because of the commercial value.
on if that’s frustrating…Look, I find when you start a contract, you agree to commit for the length of the contract for the money you have signed for - but that is basically not the case because of the fact that you only retain the value of the player [as] you extend the contract two years before the end of a contract, or sometimes one year before. Then you are always in a delicate situation because now do you sell with one year to go knowing you will get less money than when he has two years? Basically you have not much choice.
on if players will want to match team-mates’ wages…Yes but we have still a scale of wages. It has become a bit more individual than when I arrived 20 years ago because every case is a bit special.
on if it used to be a ‘top, middle, bottom’ scale…Exactly. It has changed a little bit but anyway you don't need to worry - they are all paid well!
on if players ask for the wages other clubs offer their players…I don't know, you should ask them. Personally, I never looked too much at what the others earn and I always in my whole life never renegotiated a contract. When I sign, I think it is for the length of the time that I sign, so I never felt like that. Do the players feel like that? Maybe. I didn't speak to them about that.
on if he blames the players…I blame nobody. If you were a player you would try the same. You try to earn as much as you can. Honestly, my whole life I fight to get the players paid as much as I can. I want as well to be responsible, to pay them the money you can afford to pay.
on one of his first acts being to get players a pay rise…Yes. It is not to get them on board. I think the best way to get them on board was to play the football I like, but it helps. It was at a period of change, a change of TV income, and we moved very quickly from 250 to one million per player. Of course what helped the players even more was that they were all 30, so for them every year was a big bonus, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34. Before 30 they didn’t earn that kind of money.
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