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By ESPN Staff

Wenger defends signing of Toral

Arsene Wenger maintains there is nothing wrong with Arsenal signing promising dual-nationality teenager Jon Toral from Barcelona.

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Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has described the Gunners' pursuit of the 16-year-old as "a little immoral", with the youngster set to follow current captain Cesc Fabregas from the Nou Camp to north London.

Reports in Spain suggest Arsenal paid around 350,000 Euros (£296,000) for Toral, who was free to sign with any professional club.

Wenger, however, moved to defend Arsenal's policy, the Premier League club having also signed both Fran Merida, now at Atletico Madrid, and 18-year-old centre-half Ignasi Miquel, who made his first-team debut in the FA Cup tie at Leyton Orient last Sunday, from Spain in the past.

"You forget that this boy is English. He has an English passport, his mother is from England and hopefully he will join us in the summer," Wenger said. "We have players who leave us for other professional clubs in England. We have done what just is legal.

"I love Barcelona, I love Catalonia - I have nothing against them, but when a player who is half English and Spanish wants to join us, why should we turn him down if its all legal?

"If we have done something illegal, I will say 'sorry, my boy, we cannot do it'. Plenty of players leave us under exactly the same rule."

Wenger, though, would not be drawn on Rosell's comments.

"I do not want to go further on that front because it is very difficult," he said. 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."

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