Delayed moves earn players and agents more: Wenger

LONDON • Arsene Wenger believes that players will increasingly seek to run down their contracts into the final year so that they and their agents can earn more money.

The Arsenal manager said that players who near the end of their contracts, thus decreasing their transfer value, will demand a chunk of money from suitors who will be paying a smaller transfer fee to their current club. He added that the problem had been fuelled by the escalation in transfer fees and that the demands will increase as the clock ticks down on their deal.

Chelsea had a £35 million (S$63.5 million) fee accepted by Everton for Ross Barkley in August but the player made the move for £15 million last week when the champions were said to have agreed to pay the agent, the Wasserman company, £7 million.

Wenger fears the knock-on effect will mean more money will go out of the game into the hands of agents. He noted that players have been basing wage demands on their calculation of increased transfer fees and the rise in a club's possible income because of future television deals.

"What is the player's calculation? Okay the club wants £50 million, £60 million, because they want to replace me they have to spend £50 million or £60 million, it will not happen, so I wait and take a chunk of that contract in signing-on fee," said the Frenchman, who completes a three-match touchline ban at Bournemouth today.

"The agents say to the club, 'I bring him at the end of the contract, but you give me a big agent's fee.' That, slowly, is killing the transfers.

"You will have more and more players going to the end of their contract. The players anticipate inflation so their wage demands are what could happen if it continues to go up."

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At Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere are out of contract this summer.

Ozil remains out of today's Premier League game with a knee problem while defenders Laurent Koscielny, Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal are still sidelined.

But Wilshere could play against the club he played for on loan last term after a quick recovery from an ankle problem. Bournemouth hope to have forwards Joshua King and Junior Stanislas available.

Wenger feels the trip to the south coast is crucial as he returns to the league following a disappointing FA Cup exit to third-tier side Nottingham Forest and a goal-less draw at Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final first leg.

"We have been distracted a little bit by the Cups but now we have to come back to the Premier League," he said. " It's a very, very big game."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 14, 2018, with the headline 'Delayed moves earn players and agents more: Wenger'. Print Edition | Subscribe