Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has blamed the valuation of players by clubs in Europe for the reason behind his side's failure to add sufficiently to their squad as the summer transfer window prepares to slam shut. Sead Kolasinac and Alex Lacazette have arrived but the off-season has otherwise been dominated by a string of failed pursuits.
The new Premier League TV deal which came into action from 2016 has triggered an upsurge both in spending from England and in the fees demanded for players from overseas. Clubs from the top flight have spent in excess of £2.5bn during the last two summers, with nine days of the current window still remaining.
Activity during this summer has been illuminated by Neymar's €222m move to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona after his release clause was activated - an indication that astronomical spending is not exclusively conducted by clubs from the Premier League. But the Arsenal boss feels foreign sides place a premium on all their players when a club from England comes calling.
"I am very pleased with our market because we bought good players who can integrate with our style of play," he told Swedish broadcaster Viaset, according to The Evening Standard. "That's what we want. On the other hand, it is very difficult. Today, the prices are out of proportion. The transfer market has become very demanding today.
"There is no transfer market anymore because the price depends only on the identity of the buyer and when you are English, you have straight away 50% [extra] on the price of a player and that makes it difficult to act."
Though Wenger does not allude to a particular case, his tale mirrors the reports surrounding Arsenal's pursuit of Monaco's Thomas Lemar. The Gunners have had two bids of £30m and £40m rejected by last season's Ligue 1 champions who want closer to £80m for the France international.
Monaco are keen to stem the flow of departures from their title-winning squad with Kylian Mbappe set to join Tiemoue Bakayoko, Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva in leaving the principality this summer, though they been able to recoup over £150m from the various players who have moved on.
The need for Arsenal to further improve their squad has swelled again after the 1-0 defeat to Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium. The north Londoners were again accused of lacking leadership but Wenger feels he has several players who occupy the role.
"We have many leaders," he added. "The modern life has created maybe a bit less natural leadership because more players are better informed and have a bigger knowledge of the game so everybody contributes.
"It is less centralised on one or two persons. But of course at the moment, I would say Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are the captains with Petr Cech so the natural responsibility goes to them."