By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger does not blame Chelsea for using a loophole to ensure they can buy players in January.
In September Chelsea were banned from the transfer market until January 2011 after being found guilty of inducing the French youngster Gael Kakuta to break his contract with Lens in 2007. But the Blues appealed and their FIFA ban was suspended by the Court of Arbitration for Sport pending a final review.
The decision means Chelsea can now sign players in January when they will lose Michael Essien, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and John Mikel Obi to the African Nations Cup.
Wenger believes that Chelsea have manipulated the system to their advantage but he is not concerned about the impact their transfer freedom might have on the Premier League title race.
"The process suits them well," he said.
"They used a loophole in the rules. You cannot blame them for that. It's more intelligent. But certainly it can be a little bit detrimental to them in the summer. But I think they used that loophole in the rules because of the African Nations Cup.
"It is no punishment. I believe that FIFA never stopped anybody from moving, no matter what you do. They just can suspend the player after or the club. I didn't know that the appeal was working but maybe Chelsea has appealed and until the appeal court comes forward they can buy.
"You cannot blame them. If it's legal, it’s legal. What can you do about that? I believe also that it's not for us to dream that Chelsea is handicapped [when it comes to] buying players. It's more about us turning up with proper performances. At the end of the day they will always have 11 good players."
Kakuta hit the headlines for the right reasons when he made an impressive Premier League debut against Wolves last week but Wenger thinks it's too early to get carried away about the 18-year-old.
"He's very young and nobody makes such a big story of him," said the manager. "You also have to be a little bit cautious. He has played half an hour against Wolves! Before you needed to play five years, after that one year, now ten minutes [to make your reputation]."
"He's a guy I don't know. I know his name and I know that he played in the same squad as [Gilles] Sunu in the French national team. We knew him but he was in Lens and I thought he was well protected there. I was surprised when he went to Chelsea."Copyright 2014 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 27 Nov 2009