Arsene Wenger queried the arrangement that has allowed former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard to join Manchester City on loan from their sister club New York City.
Aside from Lampard, New York have also loaned Spanish striker David Villa to Melbourne City. All three clubs are owned by the City Football Group, a holding company of City’s owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group.
Wenger, whose side face City in the Community Shield on Sunday, suggested the partnerships could give the Premier League champions an unfair advantage.
Asked for his reaction to Lampard’s move, he replied: “It’s a surprise. But it looks like all these ‘City’ clubs will feed the main club, Man City. I heard that they want to buy five clubs all over the world.
“I don’t know the rules well enough. They bought a franchise [New York City] for US$100 million in the States to play next season.
“At the moment the players they sign cannot play until next year, so they register in the clubs where they put them and they can get out on loan. Is it a way to get around [European governing body Uefa’s Financial] Fair Play? I don’t know.”
Asked if Arsenal would like to set up their own network of clubs, he said: “We’re happy to dedicate the money we make just to run our club. There’s not a lot of surplus to buy other clubs.”