Arsene Wenger: 'Something will happen' to regulate transfer market
LONDON -- Arsene Wenger wants to tie Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck down to new deals to avoid them going into the final year of their contract -- and predicted that football's transfer market will soon be regulated by politicians to stop fees from spiralling out of control.
Arsenal could lose Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil on free transfers next summer when their contracts expire, and Wenger wants to avoid a similar situation with the players whose deals run out the following year.
Asked ahead of Monday's game against West Brom if he was already looking to offer Ramsey and Welbeck new contracts, the Gunners boss said: "Yes. That's what we want to address, yes. Both of them are in a good moment for us."
But Wenger also warned that clubs will increasingly be forced to let players run down their contracts because of the inflated demands on both player salaries and transfer fees.
"Because you will be in a position where you [either] extend for money that you cannot afford, or you let them go into the final year of their contract," Wenger said.
"This season, 107 players in the Premier League go into the final year of their contract, for the first time. And I think you will see that more, because the clubs want too much money for normal players. ...
"So what happens is, the club cannot sell and doesn't extend the contract."
Wenger recently made a complete U-turn on his stance regarding UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules, saying they should be completely scrapped after a summer in which Paris Saint-Germain shattered the transfer world record with their deal for Neymar from Barcelona and then signed Monaco starlet Kylian Mbappe as well.
The Arsenal boss also took note of German chancellor Angela Merkel's recent entry into the debate over transfer fees, saying it's a clear sign that political forces will soon force UEFA to take action.
"Something will happen. For the first time, politically, the German prime minister came out and the president of UEFA came out," Wenger said. "So I think politically, something will happen in the next 12 months to regulate and limit the transfer amounts.
"You have to go [one of two] ways. Leave it completely open, or regulate it really. But you cannot be in-between, and that's what happens at the moment. That means it's only to the advantage of some clubs, who can just deal with the rules in a legal way.
"I believe the regulation has to be stricter and clearer, or open it completely and say: you do what you want, if you inject the money and you guarantee that you pay. But at the moment we are a bit in-between and that doesn't work."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.