Wenger defends Arsenal’s pursuit of Barcelona starlet

Arsenal manager rejects claims of wrongdoing in Gunners' pursuit of Barcelona youngster Jon Toral

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
arsene wenger
Arsène Wenger hopes Jon Toral will join Arsenal this summer Photo: via Flickr - R Macdonald

arsene wenger

Arsène Wenger has defended Arsenal’s interest in signing Barcelona teenager Jon Toral.

The Gunners all but sealed the 16-year-old midfielder’s £296,000 switch earlier this week, with the highly-rated teenager—who has an English mother—now poised to move to north London in the summer.

Barça president Sandro Rosell described Arsenal’s pursuit of Toral as “a little immoral”, but Wenger insists the Premier League club have not broken any rules and therefore have nothing to apologise for.

“You forget that this boy is English. He has an English passport, his mother is from England and hopefully he will join us in the summer,” Wenger said at his press conference on Friday.

“We have players who leave us for other professional clubs in England. We have done what just is legal.”

The Arsenal manager added: “I love Barcelona, I love Catalonia – I have nothing against them, but when a player who is half English and Spanish wants to join us, why should we turn him down if it’s all legal?

“If we have done something illegal, I will say ‘sorry, my boy, we cannot do it’. Plenty of players leave us under exactly the same rule.”

Rosell criticised Arsenal’s approach to their transfer dealings and accused the English club of “fishing” for promising young talent at other clubs to lure them to north London.

“There are two philosophies,” said Rosell. “Ours is to invest in La Masia and the other is to fish all over Europe for kids of 15 like Arsenal.”

But Wenger refused to engage in a war of words with the Barcelona president. “I do not want to go further on that front because it is very difficult,” Wenger responded.

“If you go in the academy of Barcelona and you look where all the players come from, come back to me and we can talk about it.”

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