Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hit back at Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after the German criticised his policy of signing players from overseas at a very young age.
In an interview with Sport Bild magazine, Rummenigge attacked the way the Gunners have recruited players from abroad such as Cesc Fabregas who was poached from Barcelona when he was 15.
But Wenger insisted Bayern used exactly the same tactics, citing the example of Paraguayan striker Roque Santa Cruz who moved to Germany from South America when he was still 17.
“It is an old speech,” said Wenger “Look at Santa Cruz at Blackburn. Ask him what age he came to Bayern Munich. Then you have an answer for Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.”
Rummenigge told Bild: “Wenger seems to take a host of players from France or wherever else each year and this has got to be prevented.
“The best example has got to be Fabregas. He transferred to London from Barcelona as a 15-year-old for nothing because he could only be contractually bound at the age of 16.”
Wenger has a strong tradition of recruiting young players from across Europe, having also signed a 17-year-old Nicolas Anelka from Paris St Germain for £500,000.
More recently, the club brought in Armand Traore from Monaco as a 16-year-old, Gael Clichy from Cannes aged 18 and Denilson from Sao Paulo also aged 18. Mexican striker Carlos Vela was 18 when he first signed for the Gunners from Guadalajara.