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Full Time

Europe’s big leagues being destroyed by cash, warns Wenger

By Jim Van Wijk

Competition in Europe’s biggest leagues is being “destroyed” by clubs who have “huge financial power”, says Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

Frenchman Wenger pointed to examples in France, Germany, England and Spain.

Paris St-Germain are 11 points clear in Ligue 1, Bayern Munich have a 16-point advantage in the Bundesliga and Manchester City are 15 points ahead at the top of the Premier League.

Wenger said it was clear that “unpredictability has gone down”.

He continued: “When you look at the five big leagues in Europe, in December we already knew four champions.

“That means something is not right in our game. The huge financial power of some clubs is basically destroying the competition.”

In Spain, Barcelona have an 11-point lead over Atletico Madrid. Defending champions Real Madrid — suffering a surprisingly difficult season — are 19 points behind Barca in fourth place.

Meanwhile, Wenger has called on Mesut Ozil to be the leader of his new Arsenal generation.

With Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud all departing during the January window, Ozil bucked the trend by signing a new three-year deal.

The German World Cup winner is reportedly being paid £350,000-a-week — a record wage for an Arsenal player.

He is expected to line up with Henrikh Mkhitaryan — who joined from Manchester United in a swap deal for Sanchez — and summer signing Alexandre Lacazette when Everton visit today.

There could also be space in the side for club-record acquisition Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who came in on deadline day from Borussia Dortmund.

Aubameyang is more likely to start on the bench given his recent arrival and a bout of illness but Wenger — despite seeing his top goalscorers from the past five seasons depart — maintains an embarrassment of attacking riches.

Now the Frenchman wants to see Ozil, signed from Real Madrid for a fee now eclipsed by both Lacazette and Aubameyang, take control of the group.

“Many predicted that he will not commits,” Wenger said. “When you look at the transfer market, the fact that you can keep a player of that calibre is good news.

“The fact that he committed for a longer period shows as well that he will have to do that as well on the pitch and lead the team.”

Belfast Telegraph

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