Cape Town - Arsene Wenger has called on a restructuring of the current Premier League work permit regulations after revealing they prevented him from signing Angel di Maria as a teenager, reports Football411.
The Gunners are currently working on a deal for Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista, although the fact he is not an international footballer means they may end up missing out on the signing of the Villarreal centre-back.
And Wenger has revealed the same issue thwarted Arsenal's attempts to bring Argentina international Di Maria to north London when he was a 17-year-old, and the French tactician is hopeful a change in rules can soon be implemented.
Wenger said: "Ideally it would open completely and anyone can come in.
"We had identified Di Maria when he was 17. We saw him in an international competition and we wanted him to come here, but he went to Portugal and then to Spain. Why? Because he could not get a work permit for England.
"What does it mean if he comes into the country anyway, later on? It means you can only get him to England once he is worth a huge amount of money and who do you pay this huge amount of money to?
"It goes to a club like Real Madrid and they don't need the money. We have to be conscious of that."
There has, however, been a new rule proposed which would see any player who costs over £10m automatically granted permission to work in the UK.