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City globalisation a worry for Wenger

ESPN staff
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Arsene Wenger is a Financial Fair Play advocate

Arsene Wenger is worried Manchester City's policy of buying up clubs around the world could see them sidestep Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard will play as a loan player for City next season after completing a move from Chelsea to New York City, a Major League Soccer franchise owned by those in charge of the Premier League champions.

After falling foul of UEFA's FFP regulations, City have been restricted to a 21-man Champions League squad this year, with eight home-grown players required in their Premier League squad.

Former Barcelona and Spain striker David Villa has also signed up to play for New York City next season, but has moved on loan to another club owned by the same group, Melbourne City in Australia's A-League.

Frank Lampard signed for New York City FC during the summer © Getty Images
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City manager Manuel Pellegrini has announced that Lampard will occupy one of the home-grown player berths after the England midfielder sealed a shock return to the Premier League just months after leaving Chelsea as a free agent.

But Wenger, who has always been a staunch advocate of financial fair play, believes the move could unfairly benefit City at the expense of Arsenal and their fellow title rivals.

"It is a surprise," he said when asked about Lampard's loan move. "After the statements we hear it is a surprise but it looks like all of these 'City' clubs will feed the main club Manchester City. I heard they want to buy five clubs all over the world.

"I don't know the rules well enough but they brought a franchise for $100 million (£59m) to play in the States next season.

"At the moment the players they sign cannot play until next year so they will register them in the clubs where they put them and they can get out on loan.

"Is it a way to get around the fair play? I don't know. We are happy to dedicate the money to just run our club; there is not a lot of surplus to run other clubs."

Wenger was talking after his side's 1-0 Emirates Cup defeat to Monaco, a result which saw Valencia walk away with the pre-season trophy.

Former Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho featured for Monaco and admitted he would rather see Lampard at his old club.

"I'm a supporter of Chelsea. I like Chelsea and they are strong," he said. "Of course I would prefer to see him in a Chelsea shirt rather than a Manchester City shirt but you have to respect his decision.

"He's a great friend of mine and a great person as well. I will wait and see how he does but like I said, I'd prefer to see him back in a Chelsea shirt rather than a Manchester City shirt."

Wenger handed a first start to big-name summer signing Alexis Sanchez in the 1-0 defeat, with Radamel Falcao's first-half header enough to give Monaco a win.

It followed a free-flowing Arsenal display in Saturday's 5-1 victory over Benfica but Wenger admitting playing twice in two days took its toll on his players.

"We have made a demonstration that in 24 hours a lot can change in football," he said. "As much as our performance was sharp, creative, dynamic and mobile yesterday, today it was static, lethargic and not convincing at all.

"I feel many players had not recovered physically and we not completely ready. Congratulations to Monaco. They were better than us today, sharper and stronger. We lost the game because we deserved to lose it."

Arsenal last won their own competition in 2010 and looked likely to break that run with success this time around, but a 3-1 win for Valencia over Benfica followed up their 2-2 draw with Monaco to hand them the trophy.

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