By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger is concerned that the Premier League's new squad rules will "paralyse" the transfer market.
New regulations have been imposed on top-flight clubs this season: their squads must not exceed 25 players and no more than 17 of those can be non-homegrown. Players born on or after January 1, 1989 do not need to be registered as part of the 25-man squad.
Wenger has opposed the quota since it were first mooted and the issue dominated his first pre-match press conference of the season.
Quite simply, the Frenchman does not believe the rules stand up to scrutiny and he believes that English football is in danger of ruining its standard-bearing product.
"Of course it is," said Wenger. "Now you've got what you've got because you had some forward-thinking people who created the Premier League.
"But now? I opened up the paper today and read that Stephen Ireland wants to leave Manchester City. That means the new rule transforms the agents into more mercenaries.
"It is absolutely ridiculous and it is paralysing the market. Nobody buys to make it 26 [in a squad] because I have to integrate the player I buy by paying some other player off, the player I want to get out of the squad.
"It is absolutely a joke. They will create more rules like that for homegrown players... it's all rubbish."
What's more, Wenger believes that England's self-imposed ‘homegrown' rule will give its European rivals an edge when it comes to squad improvements.
"We are sitting here now and we cannot get Asian players or American players, we cannot get African players," said the Arsenal manager.
"But all the other countries look and say ‘Oh you have a good youngster here, he's Japanese, yes we will sign him'.
"Do you think the Premier League will remain the best league in the world [with a rule like that]? No chance.... you have no chance."