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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep, 11, 2008

Wenger rails against football's 'supermarket'

Arsene Wenger maintained he did all he could to try to strengthen his Arsenal squad during the final hours of the transfer window - and maintained football must not be treated like a "supermarket'' as cash continue to be ploughed into the game.

With Manchester City now backed by the seemingly bottomless pockets of the Abu Dhabi United Group, the powerbase of spending power in the Premier League has shifted once again as the deadline day swoop for Brazil international Robinho from Real Madrid proved.

Wenger struggled in his bid to attract new talent in the summer - Liverpool's Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso was one reported target - but the Arsenal manager firmly believes all clubs should work within their own "natural resources'' rather than just rely on wealthy backers.

"If you push that too far, there are no rules any more,'' said Wenger. "Once you get to the prices mentioned on the TV or in the newspapers, where is the logic? There is too much destabilisation.

"What is worrying for me is that a player signs somewhere and then the next day he does not even know where he has signed. You cannot say that is a good trend.

Wenger continued: "Football is not a supermarket, we have to all understand that.

"You cannot come out and say 'we pay £250,000-a-week to Ronaldo and £135million', when the player has a six-year contract with Manchester United. It is not possible or acceptable.

"There is money in the game, and I take it in a positive way - but the football bodies have to make sure that money is ruled properly and used well for the ethics of the game.

"I always did fight for my whole life for the players to make as much money as possible, but you also have to respect what football is.

"It came out from the roots of the country through local communities who identified themselves with their team, and we have to be careful not to destroy that.''

While Chelsea may have been left smarting from missing out on long-term target Robinho, defending European champions Manchester United further strengthened their attack with the £30.75million capture of Dimitar Berbatov.

As part of the deal, Fraizer Campbell moved to White Hart Lane for a year on loan and Tottenham will not pursue a complaint against United for making an illegal approach to the Bulgarian striker.

Wenger was left somewhat perplexed by the whole saga - a story familiar to the Gunners following Chelsea's move for then Arsenal full-back Ashley Cole three years ago.

"It's difficult to assess because there was no complaint,'' Wenger observed.

"We faced that problem once and we took it all the way to the end - we complained and we kept it going until the story was judged.

"It looks to me that these complaints are used as a trick for negotiations and to get better prices rather than because there is a genuine complaint.

"Berbatov went to Manchester United but Tottenham ended up not complaining so for me it has to be legal.''

Wenger insists Arsenal worked hard to bring in at least one more player before the window closed.

As well as Alonso, rated at £16million by Liverpool, Rennes midfielder Stephane M'Bia and Juventus youngster Sebastian Giovinco were both reported targets.

The Gunners boss said: "It was not just down to money.

"With some players, their clubs said they would not be ready to sell the player. That is the basic rule of the game.''

Wenger added: "The problem I have at the moment is to convince people that the players I have will develop and that every day we are a stronger team.''

The French coach, though, was quick to dispel rumours of a move for free agent Stephen Appiah, the Ghana captain, following his release from Fenerbahce.

"No, we are not on the case,'' he said.

Arsenal head to Blackburn on Saturday for the first of three tough away games, which includes a trip to the Ukraine for their Champions League opener against Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday.

Theo Walcott, who netted a hat-trick for England in midweek, could be one of the players rested following a hectic international schedule.

"I will have to rotate the squad now in the next three games because you cannot expect the players who have played in their national teams can play three times in a week,'' said Wenger.

"We have a very compact squad and people are interchangeable.''

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