Manuel Pellegrini believes the rules of the transfer window need changing to prevent prominent players swapping clubs mid-season, as Juan Mata is set to do by joining Manchester United from Chelsea.
The Manchester City manager stressed that neither Mata, 25, nor the clubs involved have acted incorrectly, but he feels it is wrong that a footballer can have a significant impact for two teams in the space of a single campaign.
Pellegrini feels players should only be able to move between clubs in the same division if they have made just a handful of appearances before the January transfer window, unlike the Spain international, who has started 11 league games for Chelsea this term.
He said: “I think Juan Mata is a very good player. It is a shame he didn’t play [more] often this year at Chelsea. I think United [will] buy a very good player.
“Personally I don’t agree that the player can go from one team to another team in the same league at this part of the year but rules are rules and he can change clubs.
“I think a player that played more than half a season with one club cannot change in the same year. It is my opinion.”
Pellegrini also believes the current transfer system favours the richer sides, adding: “A club with money can take the best players from the other teams.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger also complained about Mata’s transfer as Chelsea and United have already played each other twice this season, while the midfielder will be eligible to face City as well as the Gunners in the colours of his new club.
Pellegrini, however, insisted he was not echoing Wenger’s views or complaining about the Mata transfer in particular.
He said: “I am talking about general reasons and not the specific reason that they [Chelsea] have played already against them [United].
“I think in this transfer window, players that play more than five or six games for the same club should not change to another.”