By Chris Harris
The manner of Cesc Fabregas' move to Arsenal was and is "part of the game", according to Arsène Wenger.
With Barcelona in town for a mouthwatering Champions League clash at Emirates Stadium, much of the pre-match build-up has centred on Fabregas and his reunion with the club he left in September 2003 at the age of 16.
Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has criticised the deal that brought the World Cup winner to north London, claiming that English sides "fish" for talent in Spain before adding that it would be "justice" if Fabregas returned to the Nou Camp.
Laporta's claims were put to Wenger at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday and he pointed out that Arsenal's pursuit of the teenage Fabregas was no different to Barcelona's own recruitment policy.
"It’s part of the game," said Wenger.
"Where do they [Barcelona] get their players? Where does Messi come from? Barcelona? At what age did they take him [from Argentina]? [He was] 12 years old.
"There’s no reason for any bitterness because we did nothing illegal. Everything was legal. We did not force a gun somewhere. We respected the rules. They could come and take our players, we accept that as well. They take their players from all over the world.
"Don’t expect them only to get players from Catalonia. And you must remember that every young player in Catalonia wants to play for Barcelona. Not every young player in London wants to play for Arsenal. Some want to play for Tottenham, some for West Ham, some for Chelsea and some for QPR. In Barcelona they don’t have the same choice."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