Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Gunners' Toral pursuit irks Barca

Sandro Rosell

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has hit out at Arsenal over their pursuit of academy player Jon Toral, describing it as "a little immoral".

Midfielder Toral, who turned 16 earlier this month, has been brought up through Barca's famous La Masia youth system now looks set to follow in the footsteps of Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas and swap the Catalan giants for the Gunners.

Rosell said in an interview with Catalan television on Wednesday night: "We told the Arsenal directors that we knew they were after Toral and we told them we didn't like it - as any president would have said. Legally they have done nothing wrong but it's a little immoral."

He added: "For us it's very important to keep this group of kids who have grown up together in La Masia.

"We don't like it that clubs come in with offers of money just before they turn 16. There are two philosophies; ours is to invest in La Masia and the other is to fish all over Europe for kids of 15 like Arsenal."

Fabregas also left Barca for Arsenal at the age of 16 and has developed into one of the game's leading midfielders.

Barca have long been linked with a move to bring the 23-year-old back to the Nou Camp and last summer had a big-money bid for the Spain international turned down by Arsenal.

Speaking about their interest in Fabregas and whether any possible future negotiations might be affected by the Toral situation, Rosell said: "I don't think it will affect it because one matter has nothing to do with the other.

"Arsenal already know how we feel and that's it.

"If our coaches are interested in Cesc, then we'll see what happens in the summer."

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