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Wednesday, 9 August, 2000, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Wenger's horse play
Arsene Wenger comes under fire from Nimes
Arsene Wenger comes under fire from Nimes
Arsenal have been accused of "kidnapping" 19-year-old French midfielder Guy Demel from Nimes.

Demel, described by Gunners manager Arsene Wenger as "the Patrick Vieira of 2005", was recruited from the French Second Division side on a free transfer during the summer.

In the same way that they signed Nicolas Anelka from Paris St Germain, Arsenal swooped on Demel as he was preparing to sign his first professional contract with Nimes.


I find it revolting. I'll eat a horse if Demel plays in the first team in the next two years
  Nimes football director Pierre Mosca
The Gunners took advantage of rules in France that allows trainees to skip the obligatory first contract with the club of origin if the player moves abroad.

Such a swoop can be a financial disaster for the trainee's original club.

Arsenal sold Anelka for 23m three years after signing him from PSG - and the French club have just splashed out 22m to buy him back from Real Madrid.

Anelka (left) was also snapped up by Arsenal as a teenager
Anelka (left) was also snapped up by Arsenal as a teenager
Pierre Mosca, Nimes football director, said: "It's not a transfer, it's a kidnapping. I find it revolting that so-called big clubs use such methods to attract young talent."

Mosca, quoted on website onefootball.com, also poured scorn on Demel's quality, saying he was not as good as Jeremie Aliadiere, the 17-year-old French striker signed by Wenger.

Mosca said: "I'll eat a horse if Demel plays in the first team or in the Champions League in the next two years. Last season he played twice in the second division. He's not Anelka or Aliadiere. We'll see in a year or two but I'm sceptical."

Despite Mosca's belittling remarks, many others believes Demel is comparable to Vieira, a virtual unknown when Wenger bought him from AC Milan.

The man who coached Nimes reserves last season, Bernard Boissier, said: "Guy is a very good player. His game and his physique remind me of Patrick Vieira", while former Nimes player Omar Belbey described Demel as "very strong technically with a great engine."

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See also:

05 Aug 00 |  Arsenal
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04 Aug 00 |  Arsenal
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31 Jul 00 |  Arsenal
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