Arsenal Manager, Arsne Wenger, believes that the sale of Juan Mata from Chelsea to Manchester United shows that the UEFA policy on Financial Fair Play (FFP), is working.
Wenger said he believes that Chelsea’s decision to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United for £37m is a sign that clubs are adhering to the FFP.
But Wenger also questioned the timing of Mata’s move and stated that he feels the timing of the deal is designed specifically to help Jose Mourinho’s team in the pursuit of the EPL crown, as Mata might help United take points off Chelsea’s rivals, Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool, just as he earlier questioned the loan of Romelu Lukaku on loan to Everton for the season, as the striker can help Everton take points off Chelsea’s rivals, but cannot play against his parent club.
Chelsea has already played United twice this season in the league, United are out of the Carling and FA Cups and Mata is Cup-Tied in the Champions League. So he presents no danger to Chelsea on any level.
It also has to be asked if United are panic buying in order to quiet down the restless natives in the Stratford End and the equally restless natives in the Old Trafford Home dressing room.
Don’t get me wrong, there is no doubt that Mata is a sublime player and definitely world-class, but has he improved so much in the past two and a half years with Chelsea, that his value has jumped from the €28m (£23.25m) Chelsea paid for him, to £37m? For that matter, is he the player that United need to turn the club around? I don’t think so.
I have watched United on many occasions this season and if I was a United fan, I would be more concerned with the overall level of the squad than with acquiring a Marquee signing.
The aging Ferdinand, the poor form and uncertain future of Vidic, the inexperience of Smalling, and the tendency of the da Silva twins to get involved in rash challenges, which earn cards and suspensions, is of MAJOR concern at the back.
Nani is injured and one wonders why he was given a new contract at all. Valencia is below par, Fletcher is bit-part, Cleverly is not up to scratch, Fellaini is a distant memory, Kagawa and Jones are playing out of position, Young is an embarrassment with his constant diving, Welbeck looks like a different player from last year and his strike partners, V. Persie and Rooney, are out so long together that it’s rumored that they share a double bed in the treatment room.
The only reliable players they have, in my opinion, are De Gea, Evans and Chicarito (and he rarely starts) I look at the rest of the squad and I say, who? And can someone please explain to me why United bought Zaha for huge money and then don’t even play him? Was it just because Arsenal was rumored to be interested?
In regard to the Mata move, Mourinho said after the victory over United last week, that he wanted United to beat all of Chelsea’s title rivals and finish fourth.
In response to this, Wenger commented:
He sums up what Chelsea’s thinking is. I can understand that. He has not done anything wrong, no, no. They just play with the rules.
It may be within the rules, but is it fair? Could City not take the same tact and buy up world class players only to loan them out to various mid-table clubs in the hope that they help take points away from top of the table rivals? Any moneybags club can do this and because the player is effectively out on loan, his parent club is not breaching FFP and the player’s present no danger to the parent club as they cannot play against them.
This is a loophole that needs to be closed by FIFA.
I admire Jose as a manager in the football sense, but he often messes around on the edges of the rules and nobody takes him to task over it.
At the close of the summer transfer window, after hearing that Arsenal had signed Ozil, Mourinho refused to sanction Demba Ba’s move to the Gunners as he said that he was not going to hand the title to Arsenal on a plate. So this is indeed the level that he thinks on.
I believe that the Mata sale is a very shrewd move by Mouinho, which was taken for football reasons rather than financial reasons. In regard to FFP, I don’t believe that the big Clubs with sugar-daddy owners with bottomless pockets give a Rats-Ass about the petty fines that UEFA might impose on them, as the gains will way outweigh the losses.
Wenger spoke further on the issue. He explained, as quoted by Sky Sports:
I think it is a purely financial reason. That is the first time I come to that conclusion with Chelsea. It means somewhere that Chelsea changes philosophy and they want to get on line with financial fair play.
For me that is the main reason, and that is a good thing. They had a surplus with Mata, so they sold him to Manchester United – yes it is a surprise, but they got a good price.
I think in this case that Wenger is either being naive or just playing the diplomat.