Wenger questions Lampard move

LONDON - Arsène Wenger contemplated the question of whether Manchester City are circumnavigating Financial Fair Play rules by recruiting Frank Lampard from New York City FC.

“It is a surprise,” the Arsenal manager observed. “After the statements we heard it looks like all these City clubs will feed the main club. I heard they want to buy five clubs all around the world. I don’t know the rules well enough. They bought the franchise for $100m [£59.4m] in the States to play next season and at the moment the players they sign cannot play until next year. They will register in the clubs where they will put them and they can get out on loan. Is it a way to get around the fair play?” he pondered. “I don’t know.”

He added that Arsenal did not have enough surplus at their disposal to consider purchasing any extra clubs and was focused enough on bolstering his team with money they earn internally.

The Emirates Cup has given him the chance to take a closer look at the group he has assembled at record expense for the season ahead. It remains a work in progress.

After a bright 5-1 victory over Benfica Arsenal toiled in a 1-0 defeat by Monaco. “We demonstrated a lot can change in 24 hours,” Wenger said.

“As much as our performance yesterday was sharp, creative, dynamic and mobile, today was static, lethargic and not convincing at all. Many players have not recovered physically and are not completely ready.”

Although he declared himself “not especially concerned”, the variety of performance level in his attacking players is an area that merits thought before the start of the serious challenge when the Premier League begins on 16 August.

After Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell demonstrated their taste for goals on Saturday, Olivier Giroud played the first 45 minutes against Monaco laboriously enough for Wenger to withdraw him – “he was not ready at all after three weeks’ rest,” the manager explained with a furrowed brow – before handing the baton to Alexis Sánchez for a cameo at centre-forward.

As focal points up front, the two players could not be more diverse.

There is certainly food for thought in how differently the team functioned when Sánchez moved to the front of Wenger’s team.

Following on from the Giroud school of leading the line, it was as if a committed dog person had suddenly got himself a cat.

Here was a complete contrast. Physically, and in terms of velocity and movement, the two players come from opposite ends of the spectrum.

The runs they make are completely different: Giroud bulky and ambling, Sánchez darting, speedy, low and marked by explosive changes of direction.

Arsenal were unable to claw back the lead Monaco were given by Radamel Falcao, who was overjoyed to relish again the sensation of scoring some seven months after his last goal to conclude a gruelling rehabilitation from a knee injury. – The Guardian

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