As well as Lampard's move to the Etihad Stadium, 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 next weekend's Community Shield, suggested that 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 $100 million (74 million euros) 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 responded: "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."

Wenger was speaking at a press conference after his side's 1-0 loss to Monaco in the Emirates Cup friendly tournament at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.