As Arsenal close in on the transfer of the uncapped Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista from La Liga club Villarreal, Arsene Wenger knows that he will have to go to a tribunal hearing to ask for a work permit for the 24-year old to be able to play in the English Premier League and that has brought up a sore subject.
Because the boss has been complaining about the rules on work permits for players in Britain, as an ESPN explains and has revealed that these rules cost him the signature of the Man United and Argentina international star Angel Di Maria. It was when the winger was a very promising 17-year old and the permit situation meant that he ended up with Benfica in Portugal for three years before Real Madrid swooped and then sold him to United for nearly £60 million.
Wenger said, “We had identified Di Maria when he was 17. We saw him in an international competition and we wanted him to come here, but he goes to Portugal, and from Portugal he goes to Spain. Why? Because he could not get a work permit, so that means you can only get him to England once he is worth a huge amount of money.
“What does it mean if at the end of the day he comes anyway into the country [at a later date] for a huge amount of money? Who do you pay this huge amount of money to? A club like Real Madrid, they don’t need the money. We have to be conscious of that.”
Di Maria is not the only world class player that the Gunners have missed out on in recent years, for various reasons. In fact, when you look at the list of players, in a Daily Mail that Arsenal could have had at the club, it makes very painful reading for us Gooners and, I’m sure, Wenger himself.
The list includes the two best players in the world, Messi and Ronaldo, as well as the most expensive player, Gareth Bale. There are names like Yaya Toure, Ibrahimovich, Drogba and Petr Cech. Oh well Arsenal fans, we didn’t need them anyway did we?