• Arsenal manager claims limit will hit quality and global appeal
• Better coaching not 'rubbish rule' would benefit England team
Arsène Wenger has attacked the Premier League's 25-man squad rule, condemning the legislation as "a disaster for this country", and warned there will be serious repercussions on the quality and global appeal of the top flight.
The Arsenal manager said the decision to limit senior squads to no more than 25, including eight homegrown players trained at a club in England or Wales for three years before the season in which they became 21, will see the transfer market stagnate and expose more players and agents as mercenaries. The Premier League hopes the rule will see managers turning to youth and academy graduates, ultimately to benefit the national team. Wenger called the move "a joke".
"It's very difficult to understand the Premier League's decision because, instead of asking, 'We have the best league in the world but how can we make it even greater?' they have gone, 'How can we make it smaller?'" Wenger said. "The new rules on squads are a disaster for this country. It's ridiculous. The home-grown rule is all artificial. From 1966 to 1996 this country won absolutely nothing, and there was not one foreign player [in the English league]. How has it changed? It is absolutely a joke. hehehehehehehehehe
"They will create more rules like this, and it's all rubbish. We now have a situation where you have the richest people in the world who are investing in football in this country and now they only think, 'How can we keep foreign players out?' If that's the case, why accept the foreign owners in the first place? You cannot say to the richest man in India, 'Come here and be a part of this, but you can do so only with English players.' They want to be part of the best league in the world, so why pull the quality down?
"You've got what you've got because you had some forward-thinking people who created the Premier League. Now the league has to decide, 'Are we here to prepare the national team, in which case let's kick everybody out.' Or 'Are we here to be the best league in the world?' That's the decision they have to make. Do you think you will remain the best league in the world? No chance. You have no chance."
He rejected the notion the rule will eventually benefit the England team, pointing to the high percentage of foreign players in La Liga, with Spain the European and world champions. "Their success is down to coaching," he said.
The ruling is already having a significant influence on the transfer market as managers prioritise their squads and seek to ship out those who will not be named in their 25 in the knowledge they would not be able to play until squad changes are permitted in the winter transfer window.
Wenger was shocked to learn that the Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland had demanded a £2m payoff to be used as a makeweight in the prospective deal to sign James Milner from Aston Villa. "I open the newspaper and read Stephen Ireland wants to leave Manchester City [in return for a payoff], so that means the new rule transforms the agents even more into mercenaries," he said.
"It is absolutely ridiculous and it is paralysing the market. Nobody will buy to make it 26 in a squad because you have to integrate that new player and pay another player off to bring the squad down to size.
"The rule is not linked with quality. If you want to stay the best in the world, every way of thinking has to be linked with how you can make the best even better. You cannot just close your eyes and kick the good players out and produce the same quality [in the league].
"I've been educating players since I was 25 and I know one rule. The first thing you do to develop a player, however good a coach you are, is put him with another good player.
"In my opinion – and it's not [the Premier League's] opinion – if you are a great player, you want to play with great players. If you are a great musician, you want to play in an orchestra with the best musicians. If you offer the guy the chance to play in an orchestra with poor musicians, he will not be happy.
"If I didn't care, I wouldn't speak about it. But you have something here that the whole world watches. For me, to see some people concerned only with putting the quality down is sad.
"I'd jump for joy if England won the World Cup. I'm supporting England in their bid for 2018 when other countries have asked me to support them, and I'm doing it for nothing because I want England to be successful. But they've decided the wrong thing here.
"When the richest people in the world want to come to your country to produce the best league in the world, help them. Or keep them completely out at the start."
in arsene we trust
lots of bolding because everything this man says is relevant and uhhhhmazing.
when are we getting a new goalkeeper
i have nothing else to say so here is arsene in shorts