Wenger said about the Paulista transfer: “It’s 50-50 at this moment, yes. We respect the rules in England. When you buy a player who does not fulfil the criteria and needs a work permit, you go in front of a commission and they tell you yes or no.
“We will accept that, we have to respect the rules that are in this country. After, are the rules right or not, that can be discussed. At the moment the rules are like that, you have to go in front of a committee for a work permit.
Although Arsene Wenger has identified Gabriel Paulista as the answer to our defensive problems this January, Arsenal will have to throw themselves at the mercy of Britain’s strict work permit regulations before they can confirm the signing of the Brazilian defender from Villarreal.
Wenger is unhappy with the difference between the UK rules and those of other European countries like Spain or Portugal, and wants the rules changed accordingly. “Ideally I would want to open it completely. Anyone can come in,” he said on Arsenal.com. “At the moment, we are in a position where they force you to spend money on a player who sometimes you have identified.
“We had identified Angel di Maria when he was 17. We wanted him to come here. So he goes to Portugal, from Portugal he goes to Spain. Why? Because he could not get a work permit.
“Let’s open it completely. We live in a world where artificial protection is negative. If you want to be the best league in the world, you have to accept that you have to produce the best players in the world. The question is, ‘How can you produce the best players?’
“There’s two ways to approach the solution of the academies. The first is you completely close the borders of the country and you play only with English players. The second is to say, ‘Look we have the best league in the world, let’s produce the best players in the world’.
“One thing is for sure, if you put a young player with top-level players he has more chance to develop. If you put him with average players he has more chances to remain average. We have to accept that.
“Indian people watch Arsenal v Manchester United and you have more chances to do that if you have an Indian player in one of the two teams. That is the target of the Premier League, to be the best league in the world. So you have to open it completely.”
So Wenger has made his point, but he also raises the issue of home-grown English players. If we completely open the borders to let any promising young footballer from anywhere in the world join our academy, then will that stop us from developing more young English players to the detriment of our national team?