Wenger admitted the possible disruption of team cohesion in case of one player significantly out-earning his teammates, even on roster
such as that of Arsenal.
“Always,” he replied, “but we must also accept that modern life has changed a little bit. We always had a wage schedule that was respected but players earn so much money now that the cases have become much more individual than global.
“You have many different opinions. Some people tell me: ‘Just give him what he wants.’ But then you cannot respect any more any wage structure and you put the club in trouble as well. You have to make the decision in an objective way. The club always has to be the priority. I understand top players are a big priority but, even for important players, you can only pay as much as you can afford.”
As Sanchez hinted in his comments about moving to a more successful club, his frustration is not solely about money. Many fans share his frustration and have targeted it at Wenger, who has only a few FA Cups to show for his work going back more than a decade. So far, the club has ignored the “Wenger Out!” movement that has sparked protests at each match and public displays outside the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger has steadfastly refused to sign a new contract and reveal his intentions. Many observers suspect he’s waiting until the club’s European fate is determined. Arsenal has qualified for the Champions League consistently for 17 consecutive seasons. That streak is in jeopardy, with the Gunners in sixth place, and seven points behind fourth-place Manchester City.
Wenger has reiterated his stance that the Chinese league is not a viable option for Sanchez, who leads the Gunners this season with 22 goals in all competitions. Among the many problems such a move would entail is the travel distances to play international games for Chile. He has scored 37 goals in 108 appearances since his debut in 2006.
But Sanchez is clearly a highly valued player surely to be in demand in many locales, not just the Far East.
“Every club and every player has to make decisions,” Wenger said. “Where are your priorities? Where do you want to play? The first priority for top players is to play with the best players and in the best league. After that, it is not about choosing to go to China because you earn big money. You make big money in England as well. You have the best combination of playing at the top and big money is in England, at the moment. So, for me, China is not a debate.”