Arsene Wenger has eternally been the most eloquent and cogent voice on the big issues on football. He was the first to call the paradigm-shifting wealth of Chelsea and Manchester City "financial doping", and has addressed the biological form of that word which football seems intent on ignoring.
Wenger was speaking to the media today ahead of the weekend's Community Shield final against Chelsea, and was naturally asked for his opinion on Neymar's record, €222 million step down to Paris Saint-Germain. Wenger did not demur from giving his full opinion on the issue, saying that it is "beyond rationality" and said that the issue comes down to the fact that the club are owned by the state of Qatar.
For me, it is the consequence of the ownerships that have completely changed the whole landscape of football in the last 15 years. Once a country owns a club, everything is possible.
With regard to the final line, Wenger said that it is a prestige signing for Qatar, a club currently under a blockade enforced by their Gulf rivals.
As a result, things like Financial Fair Play and prudent financial management do not apply.
It becomes very difficult to respect financial fair play because there are different ways for a country to have such a big player to represent a country.
The number today involves a lot of passion, pride and public interest, and you cannot rationalise that anymore. You cannot justify the investment, it looks unusual for the game. That’s why I always [support] football living with its own resources. Apart from that, we are not in a period anymore where you think ‘If I invest that, I will get that back’. We are beyond that.
Elsewhere, Wenger has said that Alexis Sanchez will stay at the club for the season ahead, in spite of his desires to play in the Champions League.