Arsène Wenger believes relaxing the work permit-rules for overseas players would be to the benefit of English football.

The regulations currently state that players without an EU passport can only play in the United Kingdom if they have played 75 per cent of a Fifa top-70 ranked international team’s games in the previous two years.

Arsenal have had to send the likes of Joel Campbell and Carlos Vela out on loan before they could play in England, and Wenger believes the Premier League should welcome young overseas talent with open arms.

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

Arsène Wenger

“Ideally I would want to open it completely. Anyone can come in,” he said. “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 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.

“Let’s open it completely. We live in a world where artificial protection is negative. If you want to be the best league in the world, you have to accept that you have to produce the best players in the world. The question is, ‘How can you produce the best players?’

“There’s two ways to approach the solution of the academies. The first is you completely close the borders of the country and you play only with English players. The second is to say, ‘Look we have the best league in the world, let’s produce the best players in the world’.

“One thing is for sure, 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.

“Indian people watch Arsenal v Manchester United and you have more chances to do that if you have an Indian player in one of the two teams. That is the target of the Premier League, to be the best league in the world. So you have to open it completely.”

Joel Campbell
Joel Campbell

Copyright 2016 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
Max Jones 22 Jan 2015