Wenger pinpoints India as next big transfer powerhouse

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Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger. / AFP PHOTO / Ian Kington

China’s Super League clubs may have been grabbing the headlines in the huge transfer fees they have been paying for players but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes India could become a serious player.

The 67-year-old Frenchman said he hoped India would emerge as a contender in the transfer market but added they should not expect immediate success.

“I expect India to come to the game — and hope it will happen,” said Wenger.

The Indian Super League — which was founded in 2013 — has attracted ageing former stars such as Norwegian defender John-Arne Riise who played last year at Chennayin FC — which is managed by Italy’s World Cup winning defender Marco Materazzi — and Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan who played at Mumbai FC in 2016.

However, Wenger said based on his experience of managing in Japan progress would not be quick.

“Professional football was created in England 150 years ago and we still struggle,” said Wenger, who coached Nagoya Grampus Eight from 1995 to 1996 when Arsenal came calling.

“It’s a slow process of creating a football culture.

“When I went to Japan it was 1995 and their professional league had been created in 1993.

“You expect reflexes that are not there because (players) don’t have the culture of professional football.

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