Arsene Wenger has hit out at Jose Mourinho for noting that nobody can compete financially with prospective champions Manchester City, noting that such a deficit is something he has had to contend with for some time.
Manchester United stumbled to another disappointing 2-2 draw in the Premier League after falling two goals behind in the first half against Burnley.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho pointed out that Man United needed to spend way more to compete with Man City, who he claimed have spent on full-backs what other clubs commonly spend on star strikers.
And Wenger, in response, was quick to remind Mourinho that other clubs – more so than United – have suffered from this problem for years.
“I have been in that position for 21 years so I can’t start to complain now,” he said. “There have always been three or four teams richer than I am. I’ve learned to cope with that.”
“We deal with our own situation as well as we can. Man City, Chelsea and Man United are all richer than us. You have to find ways to be successful.”
Mourinho’s comment about full-backs isn’t responsible for the fury and hysteria that has followed, mainly because he is completely right.
City spent over £130m on full-backs over the summer – a financial commitment usually reserved for firepower up front. But his regeneration of that area has essentially produced the same effect, pushing them further up the pitch and giving players inside more time on the ball in better areas.
No, what has irked people is Mourinho saying that £300m is not enough. This is the perfect fodder for those who like to equate spending big with immediate success – a notion best reserved for Football Manager that fails to understand the complexities of personnel, hierarchical structure, internal evolution of not just United but any club.
The fact of the matter is that United’s poor recruitment – or lack of it – dates back to Sir Alex Ferguson area and, specifically, the famous 2007/08 side. While the stars from that line-up dwindled, no attempts were made to fill the gaps, and Ferguson’s genius was enshrined by winning under those circumstances.
As we have seen, the current squad is still suffering from this deficit of ambition – something magnified by the mob across town.