It is not uncommon for a sport publication from other countries to interview a player that is from their countries especially when the player is part of a first team squad and plays in a foreign league, but it common for a player in a club’s youth team to be the subject of an interview from a publication in his country. That is exactly the case with Arsenal’s reserve midfielder, Jon Toral who is currently on loan at Brentford.
The 19 year old joined Arsenal from Barcelona’s La Masia Academy in 2011, and it was a move that did not go down well with Barcelona’s then president, Sandro Rosell at the time. And since then, he has been part of the Arsenal’s reserve squad. But he has been on loan with League Two side, Brentford. As a result of his association with the Catalans, he was interviewed by the Catalan newspaper, Sports, it is not common for them to descent so low in going back to interview a player who is no longer at the club especially when is a player in the lower leagues.
As part of the interview, he was asked whether he has a dream of going back to Barcelona, he said
“Yes, it is. It’s my dream and I work hard for it.” but added, now I am focus on Brentford and Arsenal next year.”
The Catalan press has developed a niche over the years of tapping up Arsenal players. And with Barcelona banned from making any signing for a year after their ban was confirmed on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), the club seem to have deployed a novel way of dealing with the time their suspension would last.
The youngster, Jon Toral made a decision like most players before him to join Arsenal, and he has decided to stay put with the club, why the Catalan press continue to lament how Arsenal has signed several young players from their squad from La Masia Academy, yet, they do not have the right to question Arsenal’s signing of these players.
These signings have been done within the rules and regulations of the game, and there was never a time that Arsenal bend the rules to get these players, a point Arsene Wenger mentioned when he responded to the criticism that trailed the signing of Jon Toral.
“We have done what is just and legal. If we had done something illegal, I will say ‘sorry’, my boy, we cannot do it’, If you go in the academy at Barcelona and you look where all the players come from, come back to me and we can talk about it.”
It is the second part of Arsene Wenger’s response that clears the air why Barcelona should not engage in criticism of Arsenal. The Catalans have over the years signed players in their young teens from South America because of the immigrations laws in Spain, it was what has led to the one year transfer ban from FIFA.
The Catalan’s do not exactly have clean hands for them to engage in a dance of moral high ground. And the case of the one year ban clearly shows that.
The Catalan Press, just like the Sports newspaper have done, would look for ways to be busy for as long as the transfer ban would last, and going as down to the English Championship to get an interview from a player who has been away for three years is a start.