Date: 17th December 2016 at 1:04am
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With plenty of press talk about player contracts over the last week and a bit, in Arsene Wenger’s pre Manchester City press conference that was a topic up for discussion.

It wasn’t the only topic open for debate though as Wenger also spoke about the financial gap between what our weekend’s opposition have spent over the past few years compared to our own spending and of course the financial gap with City’s spending compared to the Premier League in general most transfer windows is an old but regular debate thesedays.

The use of video replays in matches – a two year trial in Italy that I believe started this year, and the topic got a boost given the Club World Cup matches going on at the moment where the technology was used in both semi finals matches and on Ronaldo’s goal for Real Madrid to decide on whether he was offside.

Opening with talks about Manchester City and money, Wenger told the Official Site in his media meet and greet that he felt the gap had in fact reduced in recent times especially owing to the introduction of the Financial Fair Play regulations, but obviously it still exists – however he was quick to point to the fact that money doesn’t necessarily dictate the final result.

‘It has reduced but it is still there. I believe we have the needed quality not to look at the financial differences as the reason why we should not win the game.’

With plenty of business done between the two clubs in years gone by, Wenger was asked about that and rather than it being a problem given the group he’s helped assemble on the back of those transfers, he’s come round to quite enjoying the uplift.

‘Yes, they are good clients!’

Arsenal are now in a different position financially themselves, and Wenger admits that makes it easier to resist inflated offers for players thesedays.

‘Yes, because today I feel we can give financial satisfaction and support ambitions and values that can make the players happy at this club. Before, perhaps the financial gap was too big a difference to keep our players. We could not compete, we had to sell players.’

With the Chinese football market ever growing and links last summer with players from the Premier League making the switch – one of the highest figures being Watford’s Odion Ighalo who was on the end of a reported £32-35million offer (some suggested as high as £37.5m from a quick search) from Shanghai SIPG – and there are already unsourced rumours about January interest in a number of players in our top flight again, Wenger was asked how that changes things in the English game as China has no Financial Fair Play and seem to be in a position to spend whatever is necessary, and being honest at this stage he didn’t know what the fallout might be.

‘I don`t know. If people want to go to China, they go to China. You can understand that I have completely different worries than China today ahead of the Manchester City game.’

Pressed further, he was asked about the potential for a player to use Chinese interest as a negotiation tactic in contract talks but Wenger wasn’t going to be baited into an answer – as clearly tricks like that go on anyway with other clubs being interested.

‘Look, I think I closed that subject. I believe that there is nothing more to add to that.’

Naturally following that was a line of questioning about new deals for our players.

Giroud and Coquelin.

‘As soon as we have some news, we will inform you.’

Gibbs.

‘It`s the same case. We cannot make a case of every single contract negotiation. Personally I think that Gibbs should stay here.’

He added that contracts would sort themselves out, he had nothing else to offer other than to say he didn’t expect contracts talks to effect anybodies form on the pitch and he was clearly bored with the questions.

‘There is no concern, not at all. You waste your time because these players have 18 months on their contracts and I don`t see why there is any urgency in every press conference to have that question. Maybe you lack a bit of creativity in the newspapers and you always come up with the same subject. I don`t see why that should turn up in every press conference.’

Moving the chat on, the Club World Cup came up and the subject of video replays to aide referee’s in their decision and Wenger was fully on board with it.

‘I`m a long-time fan of it and, looking at the referees, their quality and the speed of the game, I think they need help and that video can be of a very good assistance. I would like to see it tomorrow morning.’

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