Transfer system turns players into 'mercenaries' - Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has vented his frustration over the transfer system, saying it encouraged footballers to become financial "mercenaries", the AFP reported.

The London club have already lost the services of star midfielder Mathieu Flamini, who turned down a new pay offer in the close season before moving to AC Milan on a free transfer.

"If I had the power to change anything basic in football, it would be the transfer system which makes mercenaries of players," the French boss was quoted by the News of the World as saying.

"If they are bad ones, they stay and, if they are good, they think only of leaving."

He added: "I have fought for them to earn a very good living, but I impose respect for their contract upon them."

Wenger's words come as the club are working hard to retain the services of Emmanuel Adebayor and Belarus star Alexander Hleb, both recently linked with big-money moves to Italy and Spain.

Last month Adebayor warned the Arsenal board that if they wanted to keep him they would have to increase his salary, saying: "I am still under contract to Arsenal but it's up to the directors to satisfy my demands or I'll leave."

Wenger will no doubt find some support in the unlikely form of rival Alex Ferguson, whose top Portuguese star Ronaldo been linked with a move to Real Madrid for an estimated 86 million euros (135 million dollars).

But the Frenchman warned that due to cost of the move to the Emirates Stadium two years ago, Arsenal have now become a selling club.

"The strategy of the club is to sell every year and to buy less expensive players," he said on Sunday.

"We manage at Arsenal to maintain all our football ambitions - national and European - while having to free up - for 17 more years - an annual surplus of 24 million poundsto pay for our stadium.

"The club's strategy is to favour the policy of youngsters ahead of stars and to count on the collective quality of our game."

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