Arsene Wenger on signing Jon Miquel Toral Harper from Barcelona

February 26, 2011

Arsene Wenger has confirmed the signing of Jon Miquel Toral Harper from Barcelona’s youth setup.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Wenger expressed his delight in signing the highly rated youngster who is half-English (English mother) and half-Spanish and has an English passport with the manager expecting him to arrive in the summer.

The news of his signing surfaced a few days back that left Barcelona fuming and which led Barcelona’s president Sandro Rosell calling the move ‘a little immoral’.

On Rosell’s comment, Wenger responded by saying that he doesn’t want to go any further on it as he explained how there isn’t anything illegal in signing a player who wants to join Arsenal in the first place. The manager further added that many of their payers leave under the same rule and if it weren’t legal he would have himself not signed the player.

On signing Jon Miquel Toral, Arsene said:

“You forget that this boy is English. He has an English passport, his mother is English, and hopefully he will join us in the summer.

[Rosell’s Comment]I do not want to go further on that front because it is very difficult. If you go in the academy of Barcelona and you look where all the players come from, come back to me and we can talk about it.

We have done what is legal. I love Barcelona, I love Catalonia. I have nothing against them. But when a player who is half-English and half-Spanish wants to join us, why should we turn him down if it’s all legal? If we have done something illegal, I will say ‘sorry, my boy, we cannot do it’. But plenty of players leave us under exactly the same rule.”

Arsene Wenger: Van Persie will be the Captain, Fabregas out for two games and Walcott likely to miss Barcelona game

February 26, 2011

With Fabregas out of the Carling Cup final, Van Persie is going to lead Arsenal on Sunday against Birmingham city.

Arsene Wenger at his pre-match press conference on Friday confirmed that Van Persie will be the captain for the Carling Cup final as the manager was delighted with his return and added that the team is determined and will do everything to win the final.

On an update on Fabregas’ return, Wenger said that the Spaniard will miss at least a couple of games due to a small injury which could have been worse as he added that how it is important he doesn’t miss more games with so much to play for still.

As for Walcott who will also miss the final, the manager added that he is out for two to three weeks and admitted that he is likely going miss the Barcelona return leg.

Wenger concluded by saying how it is imperative now for the squad to focus on the final on Sunday as injuries are part and parcel of the game and added that even without Fabregas, Walcott and Vermaelen they have enough quality players to deal with the game.

On Van Persie, Fabregas and Walcott, Arsene said:

“The vice-captain, who is Robin van Persie [will be captain]. He is back and I’m delighted. We have belief, confidence, we are committed and we are determined to get over the last hurdle of the Carling Cup and will do absolutely everything to achieve it. That’s what we focus on.

He [Cesc Fabregas] is injured and is out. We had a scan yesterday. He is out for one or two games, maybe. Cesc is sad and disappointed of course. It could have been worse and the injury is a very small one. But we have so many targets in front of us, it is important that he is not out for longer.

Theo Walcott will be two to three weeks for an ankle problem. I would say today it will be very unlikely he will be fit for the second Barcelona game. I imagine the worst so maybe I will be surprised in a positive way but I just give you the gut feeling at the moment that I have.

What is important now is that the team and the squad focuses on the game we want to play on Sunday. Ideally you want everybody fit but before the season starts you know you can have some players injured. We can deal with that.

You never want accidents to happen but we can deal with the fact that Cesc will not be there, Walcott will not be there and, of course, Vermaelen will not be there. When you look at the squad we have and the number of players we have available, we have enough quality players.”