The Arsenal manager believes financial interests are being put before players’ development at some clubs
Arsene Wenger has branded the system used by clubs such as Chelsea of stockpiling a large number of young players and repeatedly loaning them out as one of football’s “big problems”.
The Blues currently have 30 players out on loan to other clubs, with their top talent – such as Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne – more often sold for a profit than breaking into their first team.
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Wenger is uncomfortable with an approach he sees as concerned with protecting a club’s financial interests as much as giving the players the best possible path for their development and emergence into senior football.
“It is one of the big problems in the modern game,” he told Arsenal’s official magazine.
“You’ve invested a lot of money into players because we’re paying more and more money, and then at the age of 20 you don’t usually get much money for any of the players, so the reflex is to stockpile the players. That’s not right.
“When you look at the number of loans that happen here and there, the whole system has to be thought about again because we have two kinds of solution in there.
“The first is to continue developing players, the second step is just to make sure your investment is safe – that’s not the right way to think about it but it’s the natural reflex for the clubs.”
When asked how he would improve the status quo, Wenger risked the ire of fans of Football League clubs by suggesting smaller sides could be part-owned by Premier League teams and used as feeder clubs.
“Maybe you could create a possibility for some clubs to own part of a League One club as a feeder club,” he added. “After that, a limitation on the number of players on your books could work.
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“The way a youth team is organised now is that all the best young players go to the richest clubs, which is where they have fewer chances to develop, so you have to make sure the system shares out the best young players equally.
“It’s difficult because the development of the players depends on the concentration of the good players. The more good players you have together, the more chance they have of becoming even better players.”