- Premier League
Wenger pulls the purse strings at Arsenal
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has lifted the lid on the club's contentious transfer policy and revealed the remarkable power he wields at the club.
There has long been conjecture over Wenger's involvement in the financial structure of Arsenal, but the Frenchman has confirmed he will be fully involved in transfer negotiations during the January window.
While the likes of Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez and Manchester City's Roberto Mancini have a limited role to play when players and their agents sit down to thrash out contracts and pay packets, Wenger has confirmed he is involved in every deal at Arsenal.
"I don't know how it works at other clubs, but the wages at Arsenal are decided in consultation between me and the board," Wenger said. "There is an amount of money that is dedicated to the wages every year. Within that budget, we try to come up with payments that are sensible and defensible.
"As long as the economical balance within a club is respected and you pay the people with the resources that make economical sense, then it is fine. If I want to pay a player a little more than the budget, then I ask for the authorisation from the board.
"The setup we have means sometimes you have to let one player go to make space for someone coming as the squad is limited and sometimes you need to knock out some good players to make room for others."
Wenger went on to reveal his wages policy is different to many of his Premier League rivals, with the Arsenal boss confirming there is a balance within his squad that ensures none of his players are paid vastly more than their team-mates. While some of Manchester City's stars may be pocketing more than £200,000 every week, Wenger insists on following different rules.
Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie are among the big names who have walked away from Arsenal after Wenger and his board refused to shatter their wage structure to satisfy the demands of their stars and, while the same scenario may not be true when it comes to making a final offer to current contract rebel Theo Walcott, Wenger is unrepentant.
"People neglect the reality that Arsenal pays very well and all my life I defend to pay well people who work for us," he said. "If I believe we can afford to do it, we do it, that is the policy. Do we change? No.
"What we do not do is pay one player £200,000-a-week. We have kept it closer for all the players, so I guess you can say we have a socialist model and maybe this makes us more vulnerable (to losing players or failing to make star signings).
"We have kept to a structure that makes sense when it comes to dealing with every single player. We make exceptions, sometimes, but those exceptions are not too often. If we want to continue to make a profit, we have to respect our structure."
Wenger's comments crystallise the debate over who is pulling the strings at Arsenal, with the club's manager clearly as much a part of the club's transfer decision-making as any member of the Gunners' much-maligned board.
The loan moves of high earners Marouane Chamakh, Johan Djourou and the imminent departure of Sebastien Squillaci should create space in the budget for the arrival of a big name in the January transfer window, with Barcelona's David Villa and Atletico Madrid's Adrian Lopez continuing to be linked with a move to Arsenal.