Arsene Wenger WANTS work permit system Scrapped

The Gunners  manager is keen to sign Brazilian Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal this month but the deal could be scuppered by red tape.

Asked for his solution to the work permit issue, Wenger said: "Ideally it would be to open it completely, anyone can come in.

"Because 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 saw him in an international competition and 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.

"That means you can only get him to England once he is worth a huge amount of money.

"What does it mean if he comes into the country anyway, just with a huge amount of money. That is the only difference.

"And who do you pay this huge amount of money to? A club like Real Madrid. They don't need the money."

Current work permit regulations state a player must have been involved in 75 per cent of his country's senior international matches over the last two years to qualify for a work permit.

Centre-back Paulista, 24, has yet to be capped and does not hold a European passport, meaning his case is likely to be heard by an appeals panel.

But Wenger has gone against FA chairman Greg Dyke's plan to tighten the work permit rules in a bid to boost the number of young English players fielded in the Premier League.

Wenger claims there are only two ways to approach problem - let everyone in or only play with English players, something he feels would have a big effect on the global audience watching the top-flight.

The Gunners boss, whose side travel to Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday, added: "The first is you close completely the borders of the country and you play only with English players.

"What will that do? That will kill the attractiveness of the Premier League worldwide.

"The second is to say, 'Look we have the best league in the world, let's produce the best players in the world'.

"This is a job where the competitive aspect is very important, the players all make big money and they have to be better than the others if you want to play in the best league in the world.

"Let's open it completely. We live in a world where artificial protection is negative.

"I work on how can you improve the players. 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.

"That's not the best way to develop the best players here."

Work permit issues aside, Joel Campbell could hold the key to Arsenal's pursuit of Paulista.

Villarreal are holding out for more than the £10m offer the Gunners have put on the table.

But the Spaniash side are interested in taking Campbell on loan and the Costa Rican could become a makeweight in the deal.

David Moyes is also an admirer and wanted Campbell at Real Sociedad but Starsport understands the player prefers Villarreal.

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