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Wenger defends signing Barcelona youngster Jon Toral

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Wenger is pleased with the signing of teenager Toral

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has defended the decision to sign teenager Jon Toral from Barcelona's youth academy.

Barca president Sandro Rosell described Arsenal's capture of the 16-year-old midfielder for a fee reportedly worth about £296,000 as "a little immoral".

But Wenger said: "You forget that this boy is English. He has an English passport, his mother is from England.

"We have done what just is legal. Plenty of players leave us under exactly the same rule."

Toral, who was free to sign with any team, is set to join the Gunners in the summer.

If you go in the academy of Barcelona and you look where all the players come from, come back to me and we can talk about it

Arsene Wenger

He follows a number of players who have made the move to north London from Barcelona's famed La Masia youth academy.

As well as club captain Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal have, in the past, signed Fran Merida - now at Atletico Madrid - and 18-year-old defender Ignasi Miguel, who made his first-team debut in the FA Cup tie at Leyton Orient last Sunday.

Wenger added: "I love Barcelona, I love Catalonia. I have nothing against them, but when a player who is half English and Spanish wants to join us, why should we turn him down if it's all legal?

"If we have done something illegal, I will say 'sorry, my boy, we cannot do it'.

"If you go in the academy of Barcelona and you look where all the players come from, come back to me and we can talk about it."

The agent who engineered Toral's move is Pere Guardiola, brother of Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, who has signed a one-year contract extension.



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see also
Fabregas ruled out of cup final
25 Feb 11 |  Arsenal
Wenger defends signing youngster
25 Feb 11 |  Arsenal
Wenger in fresh Fabregas pledge
21 Oct 10 |  Arsenal
I'm staying at Arsenal - Fabregas
06 Aug 10 |  Arsenal
Fabregas defends Barca shirt joke
14 Jul 10 |  Arsenal
Arsenal lose Merida to Atletico
25 May 10 |  Arsenal


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