Arsene Wenger believes the financial ramifications from the COVID-19 pandemic present a tipping point in the world soccer.
In a wide-ranging interview with beIN SPORTS' Richard Keyes, the legendary Arsenal coach said that the global game has lost $20billion in revenue since the beginning of the pandemic and players' wages will inevitably be affected as a result.
"I am convinced that in the future the variable of wages has to be much bigger than it is now," Wenger said, "and that you have to put uncertainties into the contract... that means we cannot guarantee as much in the salaries as we have until now."
Wenger, who now works as FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development, says players are right to want what they’re owed, but believes that in the future clubs should “limit the percentage of wages compared to the turnover” to avoid potential financial ruin.
Barcelona's financial recklessness came under criticism, with Wenger calling the Catalan club's pursuit of short-term success at the expense of running up a $1.5billion deficit "unacceptable".
"Every player born in Catalonia dreams to play for Barcelona but still it is unacceptable that clubs have that kind of deficit."
Leaving Arsenal and the current state of the Gunners
Naturally, the conversation turned to the Frenchman's time at Arsenal, where he rebuilt the north London club in his own image - building a new training ground and stadium, changing the club culture, and spending 20 consecutive years as a top four side - as well as the timing and nature of his departure.
"When I arrived I built a training ground, we bought the land, I build the training ground... and we built a stadium that cost over £400million that we had to pay it back.
"Despite that I think we remained in the top 4, in the Champions League places, for 20 consecutive years.
"We finished first three times, second five times, third six times and fourth six times.
"I wish within the next 20 years Arsenal finish 20 consecutive years in the Champions League and in the top four.
"Of course people get used to it [success] and they always want more, which I accept, but I think that the most difficult thing is consistency."
Relationship with Ferguson and Mourinho
Despite his epic battles with Alex Ferguson - including the infamous ‘Pizzagate’ incident - Wenger insists he never disliked the former Manchester United manager - it was more of a case of ‘me or him’ that fed into the pair's mutual antipathy. But time heals old wounds.
Similarly, things got personal with Jose Mourinho on occasion, but reflecting on how he used to react to losing games to the 'Special One', the former Arsenal coach accepts that every manager has ups and downs.