Arsene Wenger has revealed that he sets the wage structure at Arsenal which is more akin to a “socialist model”, and believes while it is fair, it may leave the club vulnerable when it comes to other sides tempting star players away.
The Gunners’ financial framework has been under scrutiny from fans as Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Robin van Persie have left the club for bumper deals at Manchester City and United while Theo Walcott is stalling on a new contract.
And while Wenger admits his method means richer clubs have the potential to cherry-pick the north London side’s best talent, he says as long as the club remains sustainable it is a “defendable” position.
“We don’t have a big gap between what our players earn at Arsenal,” he told reporters. “We are more a socialist model and vulnerable because of that.
“We have something that is defendable in front of every single player. We make exceptions, but the exceptions are maybe not as high as elsewhere.
“We have an amount of money that is dedicated to wages. Within that we try to do things that make sense and are defendable.”
While captain Van Persie left to join league leaders United on a deal thought to be around the £200,000 mark, Wenger says nobody at Arsenal is close to a contract of that size.
“I’ve believed all my life to pay well people who work for us. If you can afford to do it, you do it. But we have no players on £200,000 a week.
“As long as our business is organised so we do not need any help from anybody… then it is defendable. Afterwards, you can always say, ‘Is it enough, is it too much?’ That is a more philosophical question.”
The Gunners currently sit in sixth position in the Premier League on 34 points, 18 behind Sir Alex Feguson’s men with a game in hand.