Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he was amazed at UEFA president Michel Platini’s criticism of his club for signing some of Europe’s most promising young players.
Platini said last month: “I do not like the system of Arsene Wenger. In France, Italy or Spain, it is easy to buy with money the best players at 14, 15 or 16. I don’t like that.”
Wenger, who has built a side around young talent – notably outstanding Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who joined as a 16-year-old in 2003.
“I am quite amazed because it is in total contradiction to the policy of UEFA because they try to bring in the home-grown players,” Wenger told a news conference.
“I cannot see how UEFA can, on the one side, instigate a rule that favours that and, on the other side, criticise the clubs that do it.
“I don’t understand because our purpose is to give a good life to a player who wants to become a good football player. I don’t see what is wrong with that.”
Asked about Platini’s concern at the growing investment in English clubs by foreigners, his fellow Frenchman Wenger said: “Of course, the concern is understandable.
“But it is down to football bodies like FIFA and UEFA, and the FA, to make sure people who invest money do it with the right purpose and respect the rules. It is down to them to make sure the rules are respected.”