By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger believes Arsenal is the best place for young players to develop - because any shortcomings at the top clubs are quickly exposed.
The Frenchman was pressed on his club's policy of recruiting fledgling talent from overseas when he faced the media ahead of this weekend's game at Manchester City. The topic has been a hot one since Chelsea were banned from signing players for 18 months after being found guilty of inducing Gael Kakuta to break his contract with Lens in 2007.
Wenger staunchly defended his own club's transfer policy and explained why talented foreign kids have the best chance of realising their potential if they come to Arsenal. According to the manager, the conditions at London Colney eclipse those elsewhere in the world. And if they didn't, the media and Fifa would be the first to find out.
"Fifa can come here and immediately I open the door for inspection to show them what we do and how we treat the boys," said Wenger. "That's not the case everywhere.
"There are some places in Brazil where the boys do not have the same conditions or treatment we have here. It is less well medically, psychologically and footballistically. Here, if we have any little problem, you [the media] are here to punish us.
"What I mean is you cannot escape. If you don't treat the boys well you would know about it."
Some of the figures bandied about since Chelsea's ban suggest that Arsenal import a swathe of foreign talent every year but Wenger completely rejects that notion. The Frenchman is focused on finding and nurturing the very best, not clogging up the Club's academy and blocking the path of local youngsters.
"It is ridiculous because I heard some people say we sign here 30 or 40 players," said Wenger. "We have no room for 30 to 40 players; we sign one or two. And if you look today at the home-grown players nobody has more than us in the Premier League. We are ahead of everybody.
"If we buy a young boy - because there is compensation there - we give him a programme and give him a chance to play. We promote, we educate and we integrate. That is why we have success in the way we do it."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source