Almost anybody who is developed under Wenger’s tutelage is likely to reach their full potential: as in getting the very best out of themselves. A lot can be said about Arsene, but most will agree that he is brilliant at developing individual players to a very high standard. It does not always work out and there are plenty of players who do not make the grade, but this is to be expected at a top club. However, even if they have to leave Arsenal, they will know that they have had a first class football education, and that in the end they really were not good enough to make it at Arsenal.
Polishing raw diamonds into top class gems is a painstaking process, and many top clubs don’t bother with it but rather buy ready-made, experienced players who can be slotted into the first team straightaway. The only way to compete with those who can afford to make massive losses in order to ‘win’ silverware, is to develop your own top players and then hold on to them.
Ajax have developed so many fine talents over the years, but just cannot keep hold of them; and as a result they have suffered in Europe, and even domestically. Barcelona are able to keep hold of their youth development gems and nobody can be in doubt how powerful and successful their strategy has made them.
Arsenal are in danger of becoming more like Ajax and less and less like Barcelona, and as per previous posts, the most important thing is for Arsenal to hold on to their best players from now on. This has to be priority nr.1 for the foreseeable future.
During and after the building of the new stadium, Arsene had no other choice than buy cheap but talented raw diamonds with the hope that he could turn them into good-to-great players for Arsenal. It is not a cheap system, as talents will have to be offered good contracts, both in terms of length and wages; and there will always be a significant number of players who do not make it into the first team.
Selling players to make space for new talent, and to fund the expensive youth/raw talent development programmes is by itself not a bad thing to do, but key is not to sell your very best players. Dortmund appear to have found the right balance in that respect.
Letting Adebayor and Toure go for a lot of money to MC did not hurt us too much. Adebayor was decent but not great and Toure did also not leave a huge gap behind. Letting Nasri, Clichy and Fabregas go simultaneously in 2011, however, hurt us a lot more, and this summer’s departure of Song and Van Judas has also hurt us significantly.
Tomorrow, we face Manchester City; the club that made huge losses every season since the arrival of the oil sheikhs. Arsenal cashed in significantly on player exchanges with the Northern Oilers over the last few years.
All four players involved were missed at some point, though. We could have done with Clichy last season, when all our left backs were injured for a long period. Toure could have helped us on numerous ocassions when we were low on quality CB-cover during the last few seasons. We also missed Nasri when both Jack and Diaby were out for the season, and we could have done with Adebayor as back up striker to Van Judas during the last two seasons.
All four players went for money and, to a certain extent, for glory. Clichy, Toure and Nasri have a PL winners medal and their pockets are full of gold coins. Adebayor’s career, once looking so promising, has gone totally cold. He is now at the Spuds and that says it all really.
Clichy has played 53 games in one and half season, and it is fair to say he made the best of his switch to MC. However, his recent form has not been brilliant and I would not be surprised if he will become a regular bench warmer anytime soon. At 27 years old that would be a real shame.
Toure has been a bench warmer for quite a while now, as both Lescott and the formidable Kompany are Mancini’s preferred CB-pair. Kolo has played only 29 times in all competitions over the last 1.5 seasons, and those last two years have been his prime years, as he will become 32 in March this year.
And then there is Nasri; not so long ago a promising talent, but with 9 goals in 61 appearances for MC, and regularly not in the starting eleven this season, it looks like his career is also fizzing out rapidly at the moment. Once he was being compared with the great French players Zidane and our own Pires, but now pundits and fans question his drive and general attitude.
Leaving Arsenal for bags full of cash very often comes with a price to pay, and that is slowly but steadily disappearing into obscurity: from a first eleven player; to a bench warmer; to a fringe player; to going out on loan; and eventually to being paid off and dumped to a secondary club.
Of course things can still change again for Nasri, Toure, Adebayor and Clichy but to me it looks like four once talented players – chosen and developed to very high standards by Wenger – are all going on a downward spiral; one more rapidly than the other, but down they go. What a waste of talent.
Written by: Total Arsenal.