Francis Coquelin: The end of another promising youth?

The Curious Case of Francis Coquelin – and our youth academy in general.

Francis on his way to Schalke 04 or will he get a chance in the first team next season?
Francis on his way to Schalke 04 or will he get a chance in the first team next season?

 After seeing Arteta limp off the pitch against Wigan on Tuesday, there have been questions surrounding his fitness for this Sunday’s crucial tie with Newcastle.  Will Arsenal be able to cope without its fearless leader, engine, and one half of the blossoming DM-pivot partnership?  Who will replace him in the starting line-up if he is indeed not fit?

The obvious choice, if healthy, would be Jack Wilshere.   However, Arsene is reluctant to use Jack unless it is an absolute necessity (in which case this may be one), since he is on heavy pain relievers until he goes under the knife to remove a pin in his ankle once the season concludes.

The next logical option would be Francis Coquelin.

Once labelled as the DM of the future, together with Frimpong, the two young Arsenal academy products were seen as the ideal midfield combo to lead our team for years.

So then, what does Arsene now do with Coquelin?  There is plenty of promise to his game, but he is either not receiving the minutes he needs to properly develop his play and confidence, or his progression is simply not living up to the expectations demanded from him.

In my opinion, starting Coquelin in such a crucial game this Sunday would be setting him up for failure.  He has not started a match since mid-February and would clearly be off-form.  His confidence will surely be very low and we cannot afford to allow a player time to “shake off the rust”, with Champions League qualification at stake.

Media circulated rumours are swirling that Schalke 04 have inquired about the availability of purchasing Coquelin on a permanent transfer.  Many Arsenal fans, including myself, are extremely reluctant to let such a promising talent leave the club, only to blossom elsewhere.  However, at what point is a move away from the club for first-team opportunities in the best interests of the player?

We’ve started to see academy players leave our club in search of first-team action, such as Bartley to Swansea, Angha to Nuremburg, Ebecilio to Twente etc.  It remains to be seen if these prospects will ever amount to anything, but Arsenal also seems to lack the presence of a club like Barcelona, where their youth products are always itching for an eventual return to their boyhood club.

One must now ask the unavoidable question: is our youth academy failing to produce the necessary talent for the first-team, or is AW not affording our youth the opportunity to prove themselves at the highest level?

Unfortunately, I do not have the answer to this question, but I do speculate it is a combination of both aspects, with a heavier emphasis on our youth simply not developing at a rate quick enough to match, or better, the level of quality needed to compete at the top.

Now, this is not to say that the youth academy has been a complete waste, since there are some promising players coming through the ranks in Gnabry, Eisfeld, Bellerin, Zelalem, Olsson etc.

However, there are some key questions which need to be explored a bit further:

  • Will these players be given first-team opportunities early, and consistently enough, to satisfy their desires for top-flight football?
  • Or will we continue to see an exodus of our youth, and eventually have a few come back and haunt us as overlooked top talents?
  • What effect will purchasing top quality, established players from other clubs have on our youth and academy in general?

Fine, fellow Gooners, I would now like to open the floor and hear your thoughts.  Would you start Coquelin this Sunday?  Will we regret neglecting our promising youth in search of top quality players that can help us now?

Written by: Highbury Harmony

205 thoughts on “Francis Coquelin: The end of another promising youth?

  • Sadly he’s not getting them at Arsenal, for whatever reason, and IMO should move on. Like Vela, I expect he will do well wherever he goes so long as they do give him game time. It’s a shame because he’s definitely a very good player who will only get better but at 22 NOW is the time when he should be playing fairly regularly and it’s up to him to make that happen. IMO he’s done nothing wrong at Arsenal but he can’t remain a promising youngster forever and needs to be able to test/prove himself.

  • I thought Coquelin had a good enough pre-season to warrant more first team appearances. It looks like at least 25-30 players in our youth system will leave, IF all reports are to be believed. Most of them had no chance of making it here, so I doubt there will be any potential starts leaving us, out of that group. I also thought that Frimpong proved his worth at Wolves last season before his injury, but again, there must be something that Arsene sees, or doesn’t see regarding these two players, that most of us are missing. Granted, Frimpong isn’t getting any match play at Fulham, but don’t forget that he is probably still recovering from his terrible and unfortunate injury.

    Also there are more promising youngsters out there in other academies, or first team set-ups, in the defensive midfield position, such as Geoffrey Kondogbia who was linked with us. My guess is that Wenger will buy a younger player from France, possibly Imbula, to come straight in to the first team set-up. I’ve never seen Imbula play before, but have heard good things about him, and if he is more promising than Coquelin and Frimpong, then who can argue, if we purchase him or Kondogbia, or someone of that nature???

    Don’t forget about Chucks Aneke either, who, if he impresses during pre-season, COULD be the one to fill Diaby’s boots. It all depends on Chucks’ fitness and if he has improved his endurance or not. If he has not, I don’t think he will make it here. Next season is make or break for him!

    I think the academy is becoming more ruthless, and is letting go of players sooner than it was in the past. This is a good thing, as long as we are sure that the players we are releasing will not become regular players at a Premier League or even Champions League rival. The problem is this, there don’t seem to be too many defensive midfield prospects coming through at the moment. Players at this position tend to develop later than others, hence my apprehension in releasing Coquelin, Frimpong, and even Aneke, who is technically superior to BOTH!

    Like I said before, we will probably buy someone to fill this position, and then promote Aneke, which isn’t a poor path to choose, if we take that direction.

  • thanks, HH

    you can add Maede to the likely list of promising youth departures, there seems to be about 16 possible youth departures before the start of next season, hence our recent youth acquisition/s make sense.

    it’s a shame that we were not able to give our youngsters an extended run this season in domestic competitions, i do however feel that next season we might see them given a fair crack

  • I love Le Coq. Just as much as I love finally receiving emails of another bergkampesque post.

    People, media and fans moan now how much youth or lack of experience we have in the first team. Wenger would be ridiculed even further by playing even more youth. It’s that balance yes, but it is unfortunate the quality youth we have cannot get 1st team action. That’s where I believe affiliated clubs come in that follow or aproach our footballing philosophy to take on our youngsters and ensure them regular playing time. When the time to come back into the team, an example is major injuries or when existing experienced players leave and the youth is at a good enough level/age/experience to step in. It is sad to see such talents depart our club because we cannot fit them in the first 11 for obvious reasons but the question,

    One must now ask the unavoidable question: is our youth academy failing to produce the necessary talent for the first-team, or is AW not affording our youth the opportunity to prove themselves at the highest level?

    We are producing the youth with enough talent yes. A brief of what I have already mentioned no matter how good the talented youth is how can anyone integrate them regularly in the first 11? It cannot be done. The only way wenger can give them opportunity is if major injury happens (then everyone will say “this lad will do for now but we must by a beast to replace injured player” then the poor lad gets sidelined”. Loan out the players for a set amount of seasons ensures regular football and can easily slip back into AFC

    I agree too that it is a bit much for Le Coq to be thrown in and deliver on a game with such pressure and valuable importance.

    Vermaelen for me is obvious to fill the role (mentioned in previous post) especially being captain. Not that is the deciding/main contributing factor, but who would be captain if vermaelen didn’t start?

  • HH 🙂

    Excellent, fresh and timely post about a player most of us have (had) high hopes for. Francis has style and desire and it would be great if he could make it. But he has Ramsey in front of him, and let’s face it, Arsene has taken considerable risks in pushing him through into the first-11. Coquelin’s time will come at Arsenal but he will have to both fight for it and be patient. Another loan to a PL team in which he will get plenty of playing time would make sense to me: like Norwich or West Brom.

    But the few times I have seen him play, despite some good moments, or even spells in a game, he has not convinced me as first-team material, YET.

    And with the likely arrival of an experienced, ready to rock DM this summer, it might be best for him to go somewhere else. It remains to be seen whether this would be a big mistake or not…

  • fully agreed, TA

    but if we were to sell him, then inserting a clever (Vela like or Cesc like clause) into his contract might not be such a bad thing also 😉 if he were to be loaned out then i would certainly want him to go to Germany instead of staying in England though.

  • The problem with youngsters is that apart from the obviousy wonderkids like Cesc, Messi, Wilshere, you never know which ones grow into great players. It’s all about mentality and luck, and you need to give them games to show that. The thing is, we are not in the position to experiment with them, and on loan they aren’t given the same chance to prove themselves as they would be, if they played for them long-term.

    There is a 21 year-old Cazorla, and a 21 year-old unkonwn player, and you simply cannot tell which one is going to be a great one, and which will stay unkown. You cannot tell that. We though Merida and Barazite have great ability, yet they failed.

    In the end, the best option is only to give an important position in the squad to the Cescs and Messis, and apart from a few gambles like Ramsey, we should sign players who have stepped up from the youth teams to the big leagues.

  • Apparently Real Madrid wanted Cazorla when he was around the age of 21, so even though it wasn’t obvious to fans like us, there definitely was something special there for most, very close to football, to see! .

  • ‘but he can’t remain a promising youngster forever and needs to be able to test/prove himself.’

    Davi, that’s it in a nutshell. He either gets regular games at Arsenal – right back anyone? – or he goes out on loan, or he is sold. The one thing which would not be good for him is another season like he just had.

  • Milo fine comment at 22.20 and all agreed. Coquelin playing in the spine of the team is not without risk; it is a bit easier to try out youngster in the FB’s or wing positions, or even in attack. But central midfield is the toughest area imo: experience, ability to read the game, physical strength and bags of confidence, AND the ability to hit the ground running from the start, are required.

    If Arsene can get the right DM player this summer, we will see our entire team make a big leap forward. But at least for now, Le Coq is not that player.

  • Hi G49 🙂

    Good to hear the email alerts are working!

    Excellent point about affiliated clubs: that would make total sense.

    And yes who will be captain if TV is not playing on Sunday…. BFG for me! 🙂

  • on a completely different note (apologies HH)

    that chelsea goal keeper on loan to ATM is frighteningly good , scary (what are the odds of petr c actually leaving chelsea ? i would say very high if chelsea were to bring back courtois)

    a very feisty copa del rey final with ugly scenes towards the end…ronaldo getting a shock red.

  • Some fine comments already! I’ll get back to each of you right now 🙂

  • Davi, all agreed mate :). Coquelin has done no harm, but unfortunately has not done enough good to justify a regular spot in the starting 11. Had it not been for his untimely injury against Chelsea, he likely could have made Ramsey’s current spot in the line-up his own, next to Arteta.

    It’s likely best to move on for him, on loan at the very least, so he can increase his stock for the upcoming World Cup and to prove to himself and everyone else that he can fulfill the high expectations that were initially set out for him.

  • Hey TA how’s things?

    I was reading up a post of yours recently (very good obviously) and was thinking why don’t you have an app or something similar and at the very bottom of that post it had a message regarding keeping up to date with new posts. How fitting!

  • Milo, nice to see you back on BK :). I know you are particularly fond of our youth/academy and your additional insight is very welcome and appreciated!

    The question we must ask ourselves then, is why other academies are producing better talents than our own. Is it a matter of AW and his scouts not picking up the proper talent? Or was the financial restraint due to the stadium financing preventing us from being able to bid on the proper quality of youth? Or is it that our academy produces players only capable of shining at the lower levels?

    You are absolutely right that Aneke is another youth to keep an eye on for the future! He is highly regarded as the next Diaby and hopefully he can step in to the first-team relatively soon to give promise to the plethora of other youngsters hoping to crack our squad. I say this because there needs to be some sort of contingency plan or else what hope is there for the rest of youth if there is no direct path to becoming a first-team player at Arsenal?

    I have no issues with the academy becoming more ruthless, but the element of patience and opportunity needs to also exist within our entire organization. We’d be shooting ourselves in the foot if we gave up a promising player because we simply could not fit him into the first-team and believed he was just not ready to compete right now.

  • Cheers G49 🙂

    The app has been there from the start but it is not very obvious, is it? So I decided to point readers towards it, and I will keep doing so regularly from now on.

    Life is treating me very fine, thanks. I don’t like WC/Euro free summers though, and I will have to find something else to watch… 😕

    What about yourself, how has life been treating you recently

  • Great post HH. I agree with you that the reason our youth players aren’t fulfilling their potential is due to a lack of game time. However, it is impossible to blame Wenger for this, especially when he is under huge pressure to challenge for and win trophies. We should not fool ourselves into thinking that we are the only EPL club that is struggeling to produce top quality youth players. In fact, if you look at the majority of top quality young players in this country they have all come from lower leagues where they have been given a considerable amount of game time. In this category I include players such as Bale, Walcott, the Ox, Jones, Smalling etc.. If all of the clubs want to produce top quality youth players they should put pressure on the FA to reform the leagues structure to one similar to the Spanish structure with A, B and C teams, we would then see a dramatic increase in quality in our youth players.

  • G49, nice to see back on BK mate! What have you been up to lately that has kept you off this fine blog?

    I’m glad we see eye to eye in regards to not throwing Coq into the fire on Sunday and that he does have good promise and it’d be unfortunate to lose him to another club, along with other academy players.

    The deal we struck to loan players out to Real Betis should hopefully ease the burden of not being able to deliver valuable first-team minutes to our younger players, while also allowing them to develop and learn in one of the best countries in terms of tiki-taka, proper football. Real Betis will ultimately prosper under such a deal since some youngsters will become fond of the club and look to stay long-term, and if not, at least they’ll get a couple years out of them before they ultimately rejoin our club.

    I guess there is a resounding disappointment with the academy’s ability to churn out youth lately. After Jack and Gibbs, there has not been much in the way of exciting talents who can step in right away, until the last year in players like Gnabry, Eisfeld etc. (who were all bought from other academies though). The quality in the youth is certainly there, but it’s still a massive leap from academy to the top flight, and hopefully Real Betis can be the middle ground in helping to slowly transition players to the highest level.

  • HH.. greatpost..

    I think its a very dilematic situation..
    Wenger had a hard season lately tobe able to give more chance for his youngster..
    Fans had given a lot pressured to Wenger to not playing unstable younggun..
    Because Arsenal is the second richest club in EPL.. and fans want Wenger to do the same as other smaller club who can bring more star to their clubs..

    On the other side.. Academic is a very short period.. 16 to 20 yo is only 3-4 years.. Senior or first team period stay longer.. A 30yo plus player may still playing.. You can’t change your first team every 3 or 4 years..??
    So there’s only a room for 3 youngsters every years.. and that’s the way it is..
    Wenger need to choose from the best of this academic players..
    Only maybe 20% of our youngster will survive..

    And sorry for Coquelin.. I don’t see his future in our team.. I don’t think he’s good enough..

  • JB aka BJ :), you’re welcome mate! Always happy to be blogging with you, as you aid me in driving discussion.

    I agree that it’s unfortunate that our youth are not afforded more game time to show their worth, but at the same time, they struggle in cup competitions since there is immense pressure on all clubs to deliver silverware. They often come up against men with experience from the lower leagues or starters in the EPL, which is not exactly a breeding ground for success.

    As I mentioned to G49, I do feel the deal to loan players to Real Betis will help us out in spades for the foreseeable future.

  • TA :),

    Thank you very much for the kind words and I’m glad I could help you out in writing an article that is pertinent to the current state of the club, in addition to a preview for Oz’s match report tomorrow night!

    All agreed too. As I mentioned to Davi, Coquelin’s injury against Chelsea prevented him from ceasing the opportunity he had to solidify a starting 11 spot. Ramsey took the bull by the horns and has made the DM spot next to Arteta his own and our team has benefitted as a result. Unfortunately for Coq, this means more patience and faith that he’ll eventually get his opportunity or worse, a request to be moved elsewhere.

    We won’t know whether or not selling Coquelin would be a mistake, but I reckon if we could loan him out to Real Betis, we’d have a better chance of seeing what he’s capable of before permanently selling him. Since we are interested in Benat, perhaps we could entice Real Betis to sell and loan them a quality, promising talent like Coq to replace him? An interesting scenario for sure!

  • TA,

    No not very obvious! Ha ha.

    You should be pleased that it will be a tournament free summer. No injuries!!! I’m sure you will occupy yourself just fine, you could host your own tournament and get the readers for a kick about.

    Life is good flying by as usual. Lots of distractions, distracted from here not good is it.

  • Fine post HH.

    I rate Le Coq highly, However, I`m sure Jack will play, but would feel safe with Le Coq if he were to start.
    I hope he stays and if he isn`t going to be used then I would prefer him loaned out or if sold, have a buy back clause, the boy just needs playing time !.
    Another possibility is if the worst case scenario happens and we don’t get at least 4th spot, then all these youngsters could be used in the Europa League, Capital One Cup and FA Cup games, that would be quite a few games for them to get experience against all manner of opposition !.
    If we don’t get at least 4th, then next seasons top priority is minimum CL qualification and by just playing the youngsters in all the other competitions, it will leave our main core of squad players no excuse whatsoever of being fatigued, especially with the expectant new quality recruits !. With just 38 games to deal with, they would/should be fresh as daisies every game !.

  • I guess it is important to state what ‘youth’ means. If you look at our team and see that Theo, Jack, Gibbs and Ramsey have been with the club a long time and are all playing regularly in the first team now, you can say we are introducing young, (semi)self-developed players really well.

    If, however, it is all about not buying talents and then developing them, but doing the whole thing ourselves, it has only been partly a success.

    Personally, I am happy with the former interpretation.

    And as far as I can tell we do very well in this area compared to most if not all other top clubs in the PL.

  • Cheers Fred :), I appreciate the kind words!

    All agreed mate. The lack of game time for youth and pressure on AW to win are intertwined. If you consider the fact that we had no foundation to build on these past 5-7 years, with all our top players leaving, it became near impossible to ease the youth into our side and appease fans, board and owner in delivering results.

    Also, very good point that the other big clubs are also not developing their own in-house young talents either. Perhaps this is a shift in mentality that came with the injection of money into football, but as a club that prides itself on its academy and project youth, you’d hope that we’d be able to churn out a few more players than we have!

    In either case, it looks like our academy is finally getting back on track and there is a lot to be excited about again. Hopefully, we’ll start seeing youth promoted in the next couple of years and that we’ll go back to unearthing gems that understand what it means to bleed Arsenal :).

  • TA, I do not think you can consider our youth system to have been very successful in recent years. The only player we have actually “produced” from our ranks has been Wilshere, and no matter how great he is at the moment the amount we invest in our youth system does not appear to be worth one good player.

    If you look at Theo, Gibbs, Ramsey, the Ox and Cesc who all came through our “youth system” we have speant ridiculus amounts of money for them and have not really “produced” them in my eyes, as they were already semi-proven as you say.

  • TA, when I mean youth, I am referring to developing our own talents in-house! However, the definition of youth does extend to purchasing young talents too. Thus, I am hoping we do not lose sight of developing our own players and complement it with buying from other academies too :).

  • HH,

    Life mate, life and work has kept me away from this fine blog! Or at least to comment. I do run through the posts and try and keep up to date. Now I have instant email notifications I have no excuse to stop by. I’m sure there will be though.

    Your in fine form as usual, how has life been for you?

    A lot of youth selection/integration to 1st team is down to that old adage. Right time right place. Look at wilshere Cesc and Gibbs. Imagine we already had players of that particular calibre preventing them from breaking into the first team. Now if you could divide wenger or clone him and got the clones to work with the ‘unattended’ youngsters I believe a lot of the youngsters that have been reeled off by you and other readers would be of the quality to play first team football.

    Who would you have captain the side against Newcastle?

  • HH, the youth problem is something that we and the rest of the EPL should be very concerned about, as no top club is actually producing their own top quality young players, they are all either taking the La Mesia rejects or taking the top quality lower league young players like Bale, the Ox, Walcott, Gibbs, Ramsey, Nick Powell, Smalling and Jones.

    I agree that we do have some very promising young players coming through our ranks, but I am a little concerned that they all appear to play in the same position, they are all predominately attacking mids, if you look at the likes of Bellerin, Toral and Ollsen, and then wingers in Myachi and Gnabry. If you take into consideration that midfield is our strongest position I am struggeling to see where they will fit in. Especially when they are competeing against the likes of Cazorla and Wilshere. The way I see it is there will be two positions opening up in the couple of seasons when Rosicky and Arteta leave/retire. That leaves us with two positions for 5 promissing players to compete over, so that means unless we sell 3 more first XI players we are going to have to let 60% of our promissing youth players leave.

    Then you have the likes of Aneke in DM, as Le coq is struggeling to get into the first XI I strugle to see where he will fit in as currently Le Coq is a better option than Aneke. Although Aneke could potentially develop into a better player he is currently not ready in my opinion.

  • Thank you Henry, always a pleasure to hear from you and I appreciate the kind words :). How is Yoona the Goona doing? What is her opinion on the situation with promoting our youth 😉 ?

    It’s fascinating how we’ve suddenly adopted a mass strategy in attracting as many youth as possible to club, hoping that it will give us the best success rate in that 20% survival rate you have quoted. However, I hope we don’t lose sight on producing the ones we already have and do not become constantly allured by the new shiny pieces too!

    I think you may have a point about Coq not being good enough (italics) right now (italics). However, I do think it’s a little too early to be writing him off entirely. He has a very unique skill set, similar to that of M’Vila, without the attitude problems, and could really dominate games if his composure and mental strength caught up to his raw abilities. Just my 2 cents though :).

  • G49, I hope you mean you have no excuse to not stop by ;)! Glad to hear you’ll try to join us more often :).

    Life has been good for me too, thanks for asking mate. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of travel lately and I have missed a couple games, along with not being able to spend as much time on this excellent blog!

    Excellent point on AW not being able to work with the youngsters as frequently. If he could have his foot in both doors, we might have very little need to buy other players!

    I would captain Per for Newcastle. Seems like a logical choice given his permanency in the starting line-up and given how he organizes the back line so well.

  • progman, fantastic comment mate! I’ve never seen you on the blog before, but with insight like that, I hope you post more :).

    I think the deal to loan out players to Real Betis will give our club a better indicator of which young players can better succeed than the current system allows for. The hope then becomes that Betis will properly develop our players. What do you think?

    And you’re absolutely correct that it’s impossible to predict how good a player will ultimately be. Even with the wonder kids, there are injuries and other unforeseen circumstances that prevent them from realizing their potential.

    If we didn’t have the loan deal in place with Real Betis (fingers crossed it all works out), then I would agree that buying youth and established players would be the way to go. Unfortunately, this would be a shift from our past mentality and commitment to project youth and ultimately be a slight acceptance that our blueprint failed (not sure I’m ready to admit that yet!).

  • HH, top post as usual. 🙂

    I compare this whole Coquelin situation to the situation Paul Pogba found himself in at Manchester United. SAF would not give him game time (like Wenger is not giving Coquelin any game) and Pogba went to Juventus where he is now a good squad player. So by letting Coquelin leave we could be missing out on his best years like Manchester United are now missing out on Pogba’s best years.

    Next season is make or break for him. I would loan him out to another PL club next season and make a final decision based on his performances over the course of the season.

  • Glic, thank you for the kind words mate! Your handsome portrait is one of my most consistent fans ;).

    I agree that we should look to loan Coq out first (doesn’t it sound like cock hahaha!), and if that is not a feasible option, sell him with a buy back clause. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to your second solution, as I do not even want to think of being in Europa league! But, with more stability in the squad next year, there should be a better opportunity for youth to play and prove themselves in the CO and FA cups.

  • HH, a question for you.

    A lot of our academy players have been poached from other clubs. so why do we not just buy proven young talent?

  • AFC :D, I really appreciate the high praise mate!

    When does work slow down a bit for you? I am hoping to be blogging with you more once the busy transfer season begins!

    All agreed that Coquelin could turn out to be the next Pogba, who by the way has gained caps for France since his departure. Pogba is now being scouted by the likes of Real Madrid! It would be really, really unfortunate if Coquelin turned out to be as good as Pogba and we missed out on our DM of the future due to not providing enough opportunity. Great comparison by the way!

  • Hi Fred 🙂

    Gibbs has been with us since he was 15 spring chickens old – for me that is as good as self-development. I can see your point but all those players you mentioned have been polished and developed by us into the first team. Not many others have done that. They just buy experienced, ready made players; except for MU maybe, who recently have been buying young, semi-established talents which are being gradually integrated in the team (Smaling, Jones, and that young midfielder whose name escapes me).

    I reckon, going forward, very few top clubs with continuous CL pressure will have one or two, if any totally self-developed players in their first-eleven. These times are long gone now.

  • AFC, what’s the point of having an academy if we’re not promoting any of them to the first team? Unless of course, the profit from these sales is worth the time in developing players for other teams ;).

    I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if we can develop our own players in house, they better understand what it means to be a part of this club AND are cheaper (albeit less exciting than competing for talent in the TW)!

  • Hahaha Yes it does sound like that and that`s why I always refer to him as Le Coq !

    Anyway, isn`t loaning Le Coq out just another word for Gigolo ?.

    Night all, my avatar needs it`s beauty sleep !.

  • TA, I believe you are thinking of Powell from Crewe and another young purchase was Buttner the RB.

  • All

    Great post HH. I have one point I would add. First, tho, I can’t disagree with a lot of great comments above. Timing and right place and injuries play a huge role. In basketball there is an adage that for every Jordan et al, there is at least 5 more out there on playgrounds or who got injured or…

    So, I guess I have two points to add actually:

    A. Per the above, youth academies are high risk, low return. With more money as others have noted, it’s more efficient and likely economic to buy than to build. Thus, we see most of the “better” academies at mid or lower level teams, eg Soton… They have no choice in that game I suspect.

    B. regarding Coq, I would loan him next year to a lower half EPL team that really needed him. Perhaps a new promotion team? Straight into EPL fire. He either has it or not, but let’s find out for sure IN the EPL (he won’t play against us), and if he does, we keep, if not, sell to another country. I think hes worth that investment.

    Cheers — jgc

  • HH 23.33 all agreed: that would make sense. Although, I will stress again it will be very difficult to bring players through all the way from them being 10 to 12 years old in future.

  • Hahaha Glic, which means we should call Le Coq, Nick Cannon?

    You never fail to provide an excellent chuckle with your comments 😉

  • Hmm

    I’d add to my A above that high risk and return efforts like finding blockbuster drugs or academy stars, are one in a large number events. Thus, they don’t pay off annually like an annuity but big, and very occasionally.

    Cheers — jgc

  • HH, I will definitely be around more in the summer months. I normally write my comments on my Blackberry but the cursor is broken so I have been writing my comments on my PS3 using my pad. It is taking me much longer to write my comments and I have had to make my comments shorter.

  • Fred @ 23:40, excellent comment mate!

    I believe that AW has adopted the Spanish philosophy into his purchase. Player position is not emphasized as much as potential. If the player has the high potential, AW will roll the dice and look to further refine their skills and make them good players capable of playing almost anywhere on the pitch.

    However, I do agree that it could present us with a problem in the future if all players are destined to play in the center of the park. But, it is certainly a nice problem to have since we’ll have our pick of the cream of the crop after seeing them compete first hand!

  • Off to dinner, will be back later to blog with the rest of you. Keep the outstanding comments and questions coming!

  • TA, true gibbs has been with us for a long time, but he was first discovered by Wimbledon. Even if you consider him to be a player we produced thats still really only two players we have produced that have managed to get into our first XI. For me that represents a very poor return. Whilst “polishing” some of the younger players that have come from other teams can be beneficial the amount of players we “produce” in this way should be less than the amount that have actually come all the way through our system.

    As I said previously I feel that the problem doesn’t actually lie with our scouts and the facilities we have available, it lies more with the structure of the leagues in this country. If we had a system similar to Spains which allowed younger players to get more game time against already established players on a weekly basis I think you would see the quality of youth player dramatically increase by the time they reach the first XI. As they would have already had consistant game time from the age of 16-18 or 20 by the time they are ready to step up to the first team, that way top quality young players can be produced on a large scale without hindering the clubs chances of challenging for titles.

  • Fred,

    I totally agree with your second point.

    Re your first point, I just cannot agree with you. Our youth development, in my view, has produced almost half of the team going forward. In two years time, if not already now, I reckon Ox, Gibbs, Jack, Theo, Szczesny and probably Rambo and Jenkinson will be regular first team players.

    All developed by us to a large extent. The fact that they were not with us when they were 10-15/16 years old does not bother me at all. At least we are investing in bringing in players early and make them play the Arsenal way, and I reckon we will pick the fruits of this for years to come now.

  • Fred and HH

    FWIW, your comments above about position vs potential/capability are exactly like the NFL draft discussions. Do you draft :

    A. The best available athlete or player (offensive or defensive, it’s American football)


    B. for need: the best available at a specific position

    The first says great teams are made of great players and we can make whatever we have work. The second says great teams are good at every position. Neither is of course entirely true…

    The good news is this is more than enough beer fodder to cover a football free summer for TA!! 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  • All

    A final comment on time, place and luck. The best example I know of is how a great NY Yankees first baseman in a wee slump was replaced one day by a good but very young player.. Named Lou Gehrig, who turned into not only one of the greatest EVER, but also then played 2140 straight games.. See:

    Kind of like having RVP injured or in a slump, so, you figure, well, there’s this Messi character, why not give him a shot?

    Time, place, luck, all have to meet up I think…. It’s more than being young and good. Which means its impossible to predict, I think…

    Thus, I think, the proper loan lets the team have its cake and eat it too perhaps.

    Cheers. — jgc

  • JGC :), fantastic comments my friend and I always enjoy your analogies to NA sports. Living in NA all my life (aside from 1 year in Europe) exposed me to the NA sports scene and I consider myself a fanatic, especially in hockey. Several of my friends are now playing in the NHL and I would likely have been there myself had it not been for breaking my collar bone twice in my draft year and then eventually meeting my fiance who did my physio hahaha!

    I have meant to respond to several of your NA sports analogies several times and many are fitting to help explain the state of football and how to approach building a team. Granted, european football is a completely different ball game, not restricted by salaries, luxury taxes, trades etc.

    In regards to your hockey analogy about the different taxations on certain teams, it is true that players in Canada are taxed a higher percentage of their salaries. However, the prestige of playing for a Canadian team, where fans are more passionate is always a big draw for players. Also, one must consider the fact that the sport is dominated by Canadians in the league, since it is our national pastime, and many grow up as fans of various Canadian teams.

    The taxation example may or may not directly apply to football. In France and Spain, players will start to be taxed more of their salaries, but that will not stop the top clubs from inflated player wages to compensate for this difference. Ultimately, the mid and lower table clubs will suffer and need to depend on bargain buys and an emphasis on developing talent in house (which they are already doing) to survive. However, in the EPL, I do not believe players are subject to the same rates of taxation as those of other leagues, but the prestige of the league alone, in addition to the money and competitiveness at the top will always be a main driving factor in attracting talent.

    Moving onto your football analogy. My point of contention is that there is a benefit to drafting (in football’s case buying) the best player available (BPA) opposed to drafting purely out of need. Of course, it must be noted that the draft is an inexact science and it’s impossible to predict how a player’s career will pan out. With that said, when drafting BPA you are likely ensuring that your team will have taken the best player. If this player is competing at an already deep position, than either a current player in that role or the one you drafted then becomes available for trade that can fill a need elsewhere with a player of similar quality. If you draft purely out of need, you are not taking the BPA and are somewhat limiting yourself in the trade market for what you can receive in return (granted if there are teams in search of the player whose position you are looking to trade).

    Unfortunately, the trading aspect of NA sports is not really prevalent in European football (there are makeweight players in deals or unwritten agreements where one player moves one way and another the other way, but nothing like in NA). Thus, the theory of buying the best possible youths, regardless of position may not apply. However, the midfield area is one that is the most physically demanding and one that requires a high level of class if you want to dominate a game. A strong midfield can dictate the flow and possession of a game, which is likely why AW invests heavily on buying young, promising midfielders. You can never truly have a shortage of mids, since the position quickly takes a toll on your body resulting in injuries, fatigue etc.

  • Also JGC, thank you for always sharing your insight and for the kind words!

    Agreed with points A and B @ 0:00. Despite the risk in relation to return, the risk is more than worth it when you consider the cost of developing a player in house compared to buying the finished article elsewhere. This is why it is nonsense when others claim that AW has 0 appetite for risk or is too conservative.

    Buying young players, imo, slightly diminishes the intangible value of what it means to be a member of this club (not to say you cannot buy a player outside and them not play with their hearts on their sleeve for us either). I strongly believe that if you develop a player in-house, especially during the formative years, the player will then learn a greater sense of pride and a stronger bond with the club that extends beyond football itself. Of course, unfortunately this bond was not as cohesive with a player like Ca$hley Cole, but there will always be mercenaries and glory hunters in sports in general.

    In regards to point B, a club must be willing to take Le Coq on loan too though. Also, the coach must be willing to play him in front of his own players, which makes taken players on loan from domestic clubs somewhat of a deterrent since it’s unlikely that they will sell domestically afterwards. Teams are more likely to take players on loan in January if there is an accumulation of injuries or will take them on loan in general if they are young and are top class, such as Jack or Lukaku. What I’m trying to say is that it may actually be better for Coquelin to develop his game in La Liga or the Bundesliga, where managers may actually feel that the player being loaned to them could eventually stay beyond the loan, in order to give them the proper minutes.

  • AFC, I do not mind the Spuds bidding on Villa. I’d rather it them than us, because quite frankly at 31, Villa’s days are numbered and I’d rather spend that 15 mil on a proper DM! I guess the Spuds need to be proactive since they will be losing their best player this summer to Real Madrid anyway ;).

  • HH, spot on there. 🙂

    I do not think Real will buy Bale. They have Ronaldo and Di Maria already so they would be spending a huge of money for him to sit on the bench.

  • JB, in response to your comment about Courtois, he is truly a top class goaltender who has world-class ability written all over him. Chavs are set for the foreseeable future in goal with Cech eventually handing the reigns over to a more than capable replacement.

    Also, Ronaldo never even touched Gabi! Clear dive, that is the type of move that is classless, but Ronaldo making the kicking motion was unnecessary too…

  • Coquelin’s agent is Franjo Vranjkovic (from firsteleven ISM, based in HegestraBe 217a, 45966 Gladbeck, Germany). He/They is/are also the same agent/agency for Eboue. (and Y.Toure, Hazard, Ba etc).

    I will not be quick to dismiss David Villa yet, he could do a “Raul Gonzalez@Schalke” given the proper platform to perform, and that was 40 goals in 98 appearances. (They have similar poacher instincts with similar character and poise)

  • AFC, the rumours persist that he could go there, but for the reasons you listed, I am also not convinced. They need to buy an out and out ST like Cavani or Aguero and will likely end up with one or the other. What I mean is that if $hitty buys Cavani, Aguero will likely be going out the door.

    However, there is the slight possibility that Real could buy Bale and convert him or Ronaldo into a ST/false 9 player.

  • JM, for me it’s not about what’s left in Villa, but whether or not we could use that money to buy a better ST or a more needed DM who could play for us for a longer period of time.

  • HH, I think Aguero will stay at City. I think Edin will go instead.

    Real could play Bale on the wing with Ronaldo up front but I do not see Bale going Real. How many British players have moved abroad in recent years. Not many.

  • Villa is worth nowhere near Barca’s asking price of around 13-15 million pounds. Barca think he is washed out and are trying to find themselves a mug who will actually fork out for him.

  • AFC, $hitty will not be able to keep both Aguero and Cavani happy. Both like to be the main man and one will inevitably suffer much like Rooney at Utd.

  • AFC, how many British players have actually been good enough to warrant moves abroad? The only ones I can think of are Rooney, Cole, Lampard, Gerrard, Hart and now Bale.

  • HH, you could also add Terry, Ferdinand and maybe Ledley King if he sorted out his injury problems.

  • AFC, I do not think Terry would be good enough to play abroad. He is the classic example of a defender who would look entirely out of place in La Liga. Walcott is still struggling to be a good player in the EPL, the clubs that could afford him could likely find much better players at similar prices. Jack, Lampard and Gerrard are all professed one club individuals, so there was never a reason for them to leave. You can’t buy loyalty like that.

    Also, Gerrard and Lampard were bred for the EPL and lack the technical abilities to play in La Liga, evident by their performances Internationally. They would still be good goal scorers but likely not as effective.

  • We are also said to be interested in Rooney. His wages would be way too high for starters. He is currently on 220 000 a week now and then there is the transfer fee and do not forget he is not getting any younger. I do not think it will happen.

  • Gibbs was free and came at a young age..through our academy….if he is not our academy product then Puyol, Iniesta, Pedro (just a few examples) are not barca products considering they all arrived at barca around 17-19 years old

  • HH, agreed. However Ferdinand would do well in La Liga. He is extremely good on the ball.

  • AFC, the wages are the main reason we will never bid for Rooney’s services. You are right to disregard those rumours.

  • AFC, I agree that Ferdinand may have been a good target to move abroad during his prime.

  • HH, Giggs when he was in his prime as well, not sure about Ledley King though.

  • AFC, Joe Cole is a mess and Ligue 1 is an inferior league to that of the EPL so it’s no surprised he performed better there. However, he would be out of place in La Liga and Bundesliga.

    Rooney would slot seamlessly into our system. His technical abilities are superb and together with his ball control and strength, he’d make the perfect striker for our system. Because of his British background, people often overlook his skill on the ball. There’s a reason why he’s able to adapt to a creative midfielder role or play at ST.

  • AFC, Giggs and Scholes were both one man club individuals too. In my opinion, there’s a difference between players like them and ones like Rooney and Ferdinand who have already made big moves domestically and could be/have been tempted to play outside of the EPL.

    For instance, players like Lahm, Kroos, Muller, Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Ramos, Casillas etc. have very little motivation to move abroad despite other clubs’ interest in them. Loyal players already playing at top clubs have less incentive to leave since they can stay on home soil and still compete with the best in Europe.

  • HH, only thing about Rooney is, can he play possession football. He has the technical attributes but could you imagine him playing with our players. Remember our players are different in many ways to the players at United.

  • HH, got your point on one club players.

    Also Rooney is not that good at keeping possession of the ball. I have seen this at international level a lot.

  • AFC :), do we require our strikers to really “keep possession” though? We do play possession football in that we keep possession of the ball, but in no way are players expected to hold onto the ball for long periods of time. Players hold on to the ball longer than they need to because others are not moving into space or we are not confident enough to play risky passes.

    Did you mean that Rooney’s ball control was not good?

  • HH, I have watched Rooney play for England and he can pass the ball but when he is pressed or in tight congested areas he gives the ball away cheaply.

  • HH, it is also not Wenger’s tactics to play the safe ball and minimise the amount of risky passes made so we keep the ball?

  • AFC, I have also seen Rooney beat his man on the dribble and control the ball in tight spaces, turn around and quickly strike the ball into the back of the net. I guess it all depends on the day, but when he plays for United, his ball control qualities seem to be highlighted more.

  • What did you mean by your comment @ 3:22, not sure I understand 🙂

  • HH, could that be because he is playing with good foreign players who make Rooney seem better than he actually is and his performances for England are the real him?

  • This is a nonsense article because it doesn’t ask the right question, which is: What percentage of youth or academy players can realistically expect to make the first team in any organization that has skilled players like Arsenal’s already considerable senior talent?
    The answer is for every 10 players who join AFC as youth prospects only 1 might get a toss at the first team and of the 10 players who do, over the years, get a chance to play in the first team only 2 will earn a place, coming from within the academy setup.
    It has nothing to do with Wenger not providing his academy talent the opportunity to make it, nor doers it mean these talents don’t have the necessary combination of skills and abilities to break into the first team. It does mean that the process of making the first team is far more complicated than your simplistic and naive assessment of what transpires over a youth player’s career. That’s why Wenger is the manager and you’re a supporter.

  • HH, Wenger believes in keeping possession. So when it comes to the point of playing the final ball (which has a percentage of risk that it might not succeed, depending on the situation) Wenger will only want his players to make the pass if there is a extremely high possibility that the pass will be successful. If the possibility that the pass will be successful is moderate or low (which means possession could be lost) Wenger would would rather his players play the safe ball in favour of keeping possession rather than lose the ball. So SAF may tell his players to try and play the final ball if there is a moderate to high possibility that the pass will be successful whereas Wenger is more likely to tell his players to take less of a chance and only play the final ball if there is only a high possibility that the pass will be successful.

  • AFC, I do not believe it’s because superior players surround him at Manure. If you look carefully at the players there over the years, they have been lacking top class distributors. Rooney is a talent capable of producing on his own. However, the case of his performances at England are extremely curious and I do not have the answer aside from the fact that perhaps Rooney cannot singlehandedly win matches on his own (in terms of creating and scoring everything). Even Messi, van Judas etc. struggle on the International stage…

  • weedonald, that is very harsh on a top article written by HH.

    Also you are a supporter like HH and not a manager so who says your view is correct?

  • HI weedonald

    I agree with your point, that academy to player is 1-2 in 100, just like any top sport, every level you rise is 1-2 decimations…

    IMO, I think you could have made it with a different tone, but that’s your choice.

    Cheers — jgc

  • AFC…..not meant to be harsh but rather expanding the options for possible causes of our academy players not making the grade all that often. It is my opinion, not dogma, since I am not Wenger…..however HH can defend his views without anyone coming to his aid.
    Your contention that AFC have ¨poached¨ youth players is patently ridiculous. They correctly and legally approached players who were eligible to switch clubs or were sold to them by clubs willing to do a deal, that is not poaching!

  • HH,

    Thanks for the extended reply. Hockey wise it wasn’t my sport but I was lucky enough to grow up around the 1970s Flyers and live in Detroit in the later 1980s… I especially appreciate the response on taxes. I agree some top clubs will inflate to counter the difference, but, tho I’m not an accountant, I believe that somewhere there is a limit.

    Interesting point on no trading, which is weird because it would be useful to some teams, particularly mid-table to get better without necessarily having to compete dollar wise.

    Finally, I think we agree on most of it. I would note that you put forth that the NA drafts of young players are in exact sciences… BUT, thats exactly my point about academies. It’s so inexact that predicting the future is a big gamble at times and it’s more a game of trying enough times to get lucky. I.el more like panning for gold… 🙂

    That said, I read an article, forget where, awhile back that analysed the return on several big money Euro transfers, and based on output at the new club in first three years or some such, the vast majority did not pay off, even if year one was great…

    Much like overpriced Star CEOs who often fail the next time out, or at least don’t work miracles. Adebayor would be a great example, pretty great at Arsenal, and Adebayor everywhere else since.

    Cheers — jgc

  • top notch as always HH.

    Very tough decision. Like others on here I think he will become quite a player. Only problem is how on Earth can you get games in to our youth players. The step up from under 21’s to first team is too big, those who go on loan hardly get games, and others just stagnate. Real Betis deal is a good one. Hopefully it becomes fruitful for us.

  • weedonald, I used the term poached as in taking players unethically. For instance Barca poached Song because they agreed personal terms with him without formally approaching Arsenal first (agreeing terms with Arsenal) which is not allowed from my understanding.

  • Wee, what makes an article a nonsense article? Perhaps you should re-evaluate your own comment since it is the only form of nonsense in this article by proxy. The theme of the article is Coquelin and whether or not he has a role in this squad, not whether or not the youth currently in the academy will make the squad. That aspect is simply filler and background to the overall theme of the article.

    You continuously try to pass off your “opinions” as facts. Last I checked, you weren’t privy to information within the business of the Arsenal organization, yet you seem to believe that you have superior knowledge on all matters pertaining to the club. Unless you have attained hardcore evidence to back up your claim that there is a certain “blueprint” to how youth are promoted, you are purely speculating. Where you often fail in your assessments of articles is that you believe we write them as fact, when indeed it is never claimed to be so and is simply conjecture and speculation, as are your “opinions” which you attempt to pass of as fact.

    If the talent is there within the academy, there would be no reason for AW to look elsewhere to fill the holes in the squad. The talent was simply not there the past few seasons, or else he would have looked to immediately bring them up, similar to Cesc, Gibbs, Clichy, Cole, Jack etc. Before the acquisitions of players like Bellerin, Gnabry, Aneke, Eisfeld etc. there were no viable candidates to fill the gaps of the departing players.

    It’s not really that complicated when he has purchased young players like Theo, Ox, Ramsey, Jenkinson etc. to compensate for the fact that he did not believe the youth at the respective time of each player purchase were capable of providing the same output. So then, it is actually your naive and narrow minded perspective that leads you to believe that the combination of skills and abilities were there for the youth players to make the first-team.

    Oh by the way, AW not providing the opportunity for youth players to make the first-team is one in the same and yet another aspect of how complicated it is to make the first-team. It becomes increasingly difficult to make the first team if the manager is continuously purchasing talent from other clubs, is it not? Also, by purchasing young, established players instead of promoting youth, it is an acceptance on the part of the manager that the current youth players are simply not ready or good enough for the first-team.

  • AFC, try to ignore him :). His points are logical and well written, but he often comes in on a high horse, attempting to tear down everyone else under some strange pretense that his opinions are somehow facts. He’s done it to TA, RA and others on several occasions.

  • Oz, cheers for the kind words mate! Glad to see you around on BK a little more frequently and TA leaked word that one of your super pre-match reports will be coming out tomorrow night :). I gather that school is finally coming to a conclusion or at least the school year?

    Completely agreed on the step up from the academy to the first-team being much too big. The loan deals to Real Betis will go a long way in helping us to determining which of our players are truly ready to make a lasting impact with the big club and which ones we can sell. Not having a proper system in place like that of Spain really hinders our ability to build from within and with youth. As you said, hopefully the partnership with Real Betis is a fruitful one.

  • It is indeed over HH. Thesis submitted now the nervous wait until mid july.

    Cheers, I’ve missed being on here commenting on the gems you and others have written. Thanks to TA’s email system though I still keep up to date with the posts.

    Exactly right. We’ve all seen the miserable pitches the youth have to play on. How on Earth can they excel in that environment. Some players are average in the second team but improve 10-fold when given the chance of first team football. It’s easy to say such and such isn’t performing in the reserves so he doesn’t deserve a call-up, but the players around him, the level of service, pitch, etc all play a part. One of our biggest advantages is Arsene’s eye for talent, i just don’t think we exploit that to our maximum benefit.

    Super pre-match or inane dribbling reminiscent of a VCC aged man writing angry letters to the shire 🙂

    Keep em coming HH

  • There are some conspiracy theorists out there that are of the opinion that we favour foreign talent, in the youth ranks over players who started at Hale End. I just believe that the foreign talent is of a higher quality, as for one thing, there are more players out there, and for another they are taught differently. For example, I wouldn’t even let a young, aspiring footballer be in possession of a football, if they did not practice with a tennis ball as well. I doubt that is a policy that begins in the schools and spreads to the academies, over in England. That might be a strict rule to place upon a very young person, but if a young boy or girl says that it is their dream to become a footballer at the highest level, then that is just one of a multitude of “unusual” policies they would have to become accustomed to. That is just one example of foreign talent having the jump on British youths. I believe that the problem might start with the public and private schools, and then spreads to the club academies. I don’t have anything to back this up and it is pure speculation, but it might have some residual effect on the very young footballers of the British Isles.

    I am of the opinion that you find the best talent available. If it is from another county, country or continent, so be it. Ideally we would find all of our first team players in the catchment area designated to us (which, by the way should be much larger in my opinion, or not even exist at all) Yes, you shouldn’t be able to purchase a 5 year old from Brazil for example, but if the catchment area, was enlarged to cover all of England, or even half of it, it would result in a better harvest of young footballers graduating to the first teams of clubs across the country. You would have to pay for better scouting, but that wouldn’t be a problem for clubs that are run properly. Clubs like ours! 😀

  • AFC…..what was unethical about any of Wenger’s purchases and transfers for any of our youth players? He never approached any young player without first respecting their parent clubs’ existing primacy in retaining their players. Barca failed to protect Cesc and since Spanish rules permitted a player under 17 to sign for another club without compensation, he simply brought Cesc in….with his parents’ permission, as he did every other Barca youth player we have. I think you’re confused about what has transpired at AFC but regardless, Wenger is always ethical in his dealings from what I’ve seen over the years.

  • HH, the comment you did not understand.

    HH, Wenger believes in keeping possession. So when it comes to the point of playing the final ball (which has a percentage of risk that it might not succeed, depending on the situation) Wenger will only want his players to make the pass if there is a extremely high possibility that the pass will be successful. If the possibility that the pass will be successful is moderate or low (which means possession could be lost) Wenger would would rather his players play the safe ball in favour of keeping possession rather than lose the ball. So SAF may tell his players to try and play the final ball if there is a moderate to high possibility that the pass will be successful whereas Wenger is more likely to tell his players to take less of a chance and only play the final ball if there is only a high possibility that the pass will be successful.

  • Jgc, you’re welcome mate :). Any athlete in any sport, especially those at a young age, come with a huge risk. Even those with all the ability in the world can succumb to injury, confidence/mental issues, poor coaching etc. that have them fail in unpredictable ways. However, when accumulating the best talent available, we are giving ourselves the best chance at success. I never claimed that the academy was the best way to build a squad either, but simply one that AW has invested heavily in, yet it has not produced the desired results lately. At some point, it either comes down to the fact that the talent in the academy is not sufficient or that the opportunities at first-team football, either on loan or within the club are not plentiful enough.

    If you consider the fact that it is extremely difficult for academy players to ever make the first-team, then one must ask the question why there is an emphasis on having an academy in the first place. Why not just allow clubs in lower divisions develop these young players and give them exposure to first-team minutes? The EPL system does not currently cater to producing youth and would do well to follow the model currently in Spain.

    I’ve always wondered why the concept of trading was non-existent in football. However, in european football, more so than any other sport, there is a revolving door of talent being pushed through the ranks and players can be sold without hesitation or notice (the concept of contracts is merely a formality in most cases). There is no draft in place to reward teams who finish at the bottom and no sustainable path in building a squad. It is a rather ruthless sport where the rich continue to get richer and poor continue to struggle.

    In order to facilitate trades, the managers would need to perceive the returning player(s) to be adequate to that which they are giving up. Otherwise, it would simply be player sales and purchases that we already see in the TW. Also, the players being traded away from top clubs would likely need to give their approval to be traded to other clubs (or the other club would in the very least be assuming a large risk where the player does not report and is ultimately traded again). Basically, only the top teams would trade with one another, the mid table clubs would trade with one another and the lower table sides would trade with one another. Thus, I believe trading would not inherently make sense or benefit the clubs who are clearly selling superior players.

  • weedonald, how do you know Wenger was ethical when signing players. You do not know what Wenger does behind closed doors. No one is ethical in football nowadays.

  • Oz, that is great to hear my friend! Now you’ll be blogging with us on BK more often!

    Of course there are numerous confounding and extraneous variables involved with why an academy player does not ultimately become successful at its parent club. The intention of my article was not to say that every player in our academy should eventually become a first-team player, but that we haven’t produced much since Jack and Gibbs, when you consider the continued emphasis on it and our youth!

    Also, in the case of a player like Miquel, I believe that the competition of reserve/academy players can often lead to a regression in a player’s development. Some young players just need that extra motivation and training with the first-team in order to keep them performing at their highest level. It doesn’t exactly instil confidence when you are ready and waiting for your chance with the first-team, then the manager goes and buys another player to fill the void you were expected to fill.

    Always happy to write articles for this site, especially for fine bloggers such as yourself and I’m happy they help drive discussion!

  • @Highbury May 18, 2013 02:19

    There are more ways than paying direct hard cash for our targets (let IG and his men to earn their keep) and head-on with their clubs, especially with one that has 1 year of contract remaining.

    We could still get our 1st team support/main striker along with a DM and GK, with the additional of a backup experienced striker (mainly for the know-how to finish the opposition in big occasions, e.g. quarters/semis/finals of cup matches) who could also impart their finishing skills, work ethics and composure in pressure-cooking environments during matches to the younger forwards and strikers.

  • Wee @ 3:55, once again this article was not an examination of all the reasons why our youth are not ultimately successful in gaining promotion. It was simply meant to shed light on whether Coquelin would start this Sunday and the situation several of our youth will be facing even once they are eventually promoted. In no part of this article, did I say the (italics)only(italics) reasons that youth are not promoted are because of that contained in the unavoidable question, but that those are two questions we must consider.

    Also, had you initially came on and pleasantly suggested you were expanding on options as to why the youth were not successful, this discussion would have been much different and other posters would not be attacking you (AFC and myself are only the first of many that will likely respond to your original comment). By the way, just a piece of advice, it’s not a good idea to join a discussion and immediately start with insults since it just makes you look like petty d*uchebag.

  • I told AFC that you didn’t need a white knight to ride to your defense and I was right:)
    My reaction to what at first seemed to be too narrow a view in your article is just my style of engaging so don’t get your knickers in a twist just yet. Please don’t take umbrage HH as I respect your views but don’t always agree with them. As I stated in my reply to AFC, I never tried to claim my opinions are facts as you erroneously accuse me of doing…..but it was clear from your article that the two questions you asked were red herrings, imho and here is why:

    1) ¨If the talent is there within the academy, there would be no reason for AW to look elsewhere to fill the holes in the squad.¨ – No manager would ignore outside talent regardless of how many talented youth he has coming up, because he cannot be sure they will actually be successful over the long run. The stats I quoted are accurate and show that it is often a long shot when betting onsolely internal promotions.

    2) Wenger may or may not have believed in his youth prospects being able to replace the departing players and nobody can be certain about his thinking but what does seem evident is that he has a plan, which he seems flexible enough to adapt, depending on how players like Theo etc. eventually develop.

    3) I am not sure what strategies Wenger uses to determine whether a youth player can and should replace a first team player but I do know that he watches all his prospects quite closely and receives reports from his academy coaches before making any decisions. He is perhaps quite risk averse when it comes to bringing in a new player for numerous reasons which he keeps to himself.

    4) Wenger is in a lose-lose situation when it comes to either promoting youth players or buying existing talent. He has to bring in new players, but also does seem to want to try out academy talents as well, b ut when he does either, a section of the fanbase blame him when things don’t go according to plan. When he brings in a player from outside, it seems to me to be more lack of readiness rather than an outright admission that his youth options are too limited talent-wise.

    5) Regarding Coquelin, he has shown he can play at EPL level but as you yourself said, would using him to replace Arteta risk too much in such a crucial game? Just because Wenger might go with someone else doesn’t mean that our youth system is failing us. It might mean that Arsene’s inherently risk averse nature is once again evident. We’ll only know on Sunday.

    If I seem to come on a bit harshly, it is just my enthusiasm getting the better of my equanimity.

  • AFC……..your statement is rather controversial. Wenger, from what has been written about him, what he said and more importantly done, has shown he is ethical and respects the rules. It is also a blatant exaggeration to say that modern Football is unethical.

  • @ HH


    Agreed. Perfect example with Miquel. Needs to do what Chaulker did and go out on loan for a season. Hard to do though i suppose when we are a bit light on at CB and an injury or two could mean he starts. It’s just all to difficult isn’t it.

    I know what you mean, not every player will make it but It should be set up so the players have every possible chance.

  • weedonald, I may be wrong but what I am trying to say is that all it not what it seems, in football people will do anything to get what they want and nobody is perfect. In the case of Wenger MOST of the time he probably does everything by the book but does not mean that he follows the rules all of the time.

    I could go into all of the reasons why modern football is unethetical but it would just be too long (post length) and that is a topic for another day.

  • HH, weedonald and everyone else, I’m off now. Speak to everyone soon. 🙂

  • Wee, if your enthusiasm is what blinds the logic in your thinking, then perhaps you should harness your enthusiasm in a more positive manner :). You’re not exactly inspiring healthy discussion when you begin by stating that “this is a nonsense article” or that I have a “simplistic and narrow perspective on matters pertaining to the club and that this is why AW is a manager and I am a supporter”.

    If I had done something to cause you to respond in such a way, it would be completely understandable, however to lead in such a way is very disrespectful, no matter who the author is. I was very calm when I responded to you and not wound up or twisted at all, if I was blinded by emotion and rage, you would have known.

    I welcome those with opposing viewpoints to my own and hope that individuals do not always agree with me. That is what makes debating/discussion interesting and keeps things fresh.

    However, you assumed that my perspective of why youth players are not ultimately successful was narrow and simplistic, when in fact I am very cognizant that there are a million reasons as to why a player does not fulfill his expected potential. I said it before and I’ll say it again; the purpose of the article was to shed light on whether or not to start Coquelin this Saturday and how his situation paints a picture to what some youth may experience once they are promoted to the parent club. What you also don’t know, is that I wrote this article in half an hour due to time constraints from work and was only able to focus on a couple of reasons. The theme of the article was not to highlight the numerous explanations as to why our youth have not been promoted over the years, as that would be an extremely lengthy article, which of course would be open to debate since it is impossible to capture every reason and none could be considered truly fact, unless we were privy to information within the Arsenal organization.

    In regards to 1), what may not be clear in my point is that I’m not referring to International established players. I’m referring to purchases of relatively young, unestablished players like Jenkinson, Ramsey, Ox, Theo etc. that more or less immediately became first-team players early on. My point of contention is that our club places a heavy emphasis on producing talent within and through finding effective ways to build a top squad with less, yet we also continue to buy young players, neglecting the progress of those within our own academy.

    I’m fine if the emphasis shifted from developing in-house to just buying the best players available at reasonable prices, but it’s ridiculous to “have your cake and eat it too”. What I mean by this, is we cannot be a club that prides itself on its outstanding academy, if it is simply not churning out any top talent lately! Past Gibbs and Jack, there has not been anyone notable to come out from it for quite some time. Yes, only a small margin of footballers ever make it to the top flight, but when you are investing more funds than almost every other club in the academy, you expect to see more fruitful results. Only recently has there been a resurgence in the level of promising talent (after some astute purchases) that could once again be coming from our academy.

    I agree with points 2, 3 and 4. Readiness is an aspect that falls in line with ability though. If AW continues to buy players like Jenkinson, Ox and Rambo (and any future 19-23 year old players he may buy) etc., is it not blocking the pathway for our youth at those respective positions now AND in the future? None of them were exactly proven talents and are all relatively young, so in a way he is implying that the majority of the youth players at those positions are not of a high enough caliber to be in the first-team over those players he recently purchased.

    Point 5) is another misunderstanding. I’m not saying that our academy is a failure if AW doesn’t play Coquelin or someone else on Sunday. I’m saying that our academy will continue to not be able to prove its worth if our manager persists in buying young, unestablished players to fill the depth roles that could be fulfilled by some of our youth players. OR if he and the team continue to play themselves into positions where flexibility/rotation in the starting squad sheet becomes too much of a risk then we are leaving our current players more susceptible to injury and blocking the opportunities for our youth/other players at the same time.

  • Oz @ 5:19 DING DING DING!!! You’ve hit the nail on the head my friend. The point of this article is to highlight that not every youth player will ultimately be successful, but that they should be given every possible opportunity to make it (if our club is to place an emphasis on the academy and developing in-house as it has stated a commitment to).

    Wee please read Oz’s comment if my long essay was unclear. He basically summarized the entire premise of my article in one sentence :).

  • Night AFC, a pleasure blogging with you my friend :). I’m off to bed as well and will be heading to NYC tomorrow so I apologize in advance to all the morning bloggers that I will not be able to respond to until later in the day! Have no fear though, TA will take my place in my absence :D.

  • JM, without a doubt we could transfer in 4 players to accommodate for an experienced, proven striker to help in big games, but at what cost does it come to the players currently on the team and on those in our academy? At what cost does it have on team balance and chemistry? What does it mean to player confidence, especially to ones who are currently performing well in their roles?

    All things to consider, not to mention the fact that it takes time to bed new players/personalities into a team. Ultimately, the majority of squads that try to incorporate too many new players face the prospect of transition or the realization that their blueprint is unsustainable (i.e. Man $hitty).

  • It is a nightmare for a coach to introduce youth players unless they are super good like Rooney at Everton. If we look at Real Madrid we can count many youth players who were destined for greatness but because ahead of them there is a better player who still has got many years ahead of him they went somewhere. Thiago Alacantra despite being good has been released by Barca amongst with many before. If Fabregas, Flamini, Song, Hleb, Clichy did not go we would not ba having Gibbs, Ramsey, Jack etc in the first team. So for Coq to get in the team he must extra hard and be patient. At the moment is no better than Arteta, Ramsey and Frimpong so he needs to be careful of his decisions. To go or stay nothing is guaranteed. A loan at teams like Fulham, West Brom and Charlton or the ones just promoted is better because we still need to judge after a full season where he can play about 30 games. However he is a very good player whom I like very much.

  • I do not quite know what to make of our Youth System.

    We produce some promising youths, many, like Le Coq and Frimpong I have seen play since they were nippers, but nearly all of them run into a brick wall when making the transition to senior squads, at Arsenal or on loan.

    Let’s face it. Most of the kids, representing our best, when sent out on loan find it hard to make the grade at much lower league clubs. Strange. Mental attitude? Too much money – too young?

    OH, and good morning, TA, and all you guys!! 🙂

  • Morning RA. Glad to hear you are doing better!

    You’d know better than most, given the time you’ve spent watching the youth teams.

    Surely it’s the monetary thing. I keep getting told by people that most football players are only in it for the money (even though I’m more naive and like to think it’s for the badge on their chest). A large amount to throw around before their head is screwed on straight would definitely lead to players resting on their laurels.

    No idea how to solve that problem but surely more development coaches (fresh out of the game) should be hired to help keep the players switched on an to ease the transition.

  • Oz, 🙂

    It totally baffles me that someone as gifted as Emmanuel-Thomas, who had/has all the technical skills in the world, and also has the physique to go with it, was released by Arsenal, but then has now been released by lowly Ipswich.

    There is no sense to it.

    I heard that he has had his head turned by fast cars and faster girls, and has allegedly been in trouble on that score — though I admit it is only hear say, so perhaps is not correct???

  • TA, fair enough we all have our own opinions, my only concern is that we are bringing in and polishing too many young players like the ox, Walcott, Jenkinson and Ramsey rather than actually producing them like we have with Wilshere and Gibbs.

    Weedonald @ 3:30, but surely you agree that if the youth players were given more match experience earlier on it would increase their chances of fulfilling their potential. I understand that it is not practical for them to go into the first team as we are under huge pressure to challenge for and win trophies. However, if the FA restructured the leagues in football to one simililar to the Spanish model then all teams would see a vast improvement in their youth players as they would have been getting regular competitive football at a higher level from about the ages of 16-20.

    Theres a saying that I highly agree with in sports that goes train hard fight easy, and at the moment we have youth players that have the potential to do very well but are training easily against worse opposition, look at denilson and vela for example. Both were players who were very highly thought of when they were young players and neither of whom are fulfilling their potential. If they had been able to have regular games from a younger age at a high level of intensity they would be much better than they are now.

    Considering that we are now in desperate need of a DM and a CF if these two players had the match experience earlier on in their careers then we could well be challenging for silverwere now.

    I completely agree with you that wenger cannot simply put youth players straight into the first team if they are not good enough, but a model over here similar to the spanish model would dramatically increase the quality of youth players produced by teams all over the country.

  • Unlike what sum wee say, I think this a well thought out article – Le Coq is another promising youngster who looks to miss out on Arsenal Books. Apart from him I feel players such as Gnarby, Eisfeld , Yennaris should certainly make to the first team. – I have high hopes for Eisfeld – There is something special about this lad. also other players such aneke, hayden should be loaned to championship teams to get sum first team football. As mentioned in the comments, Unless EPL follows something lik laliga having A, B , C teams this trend will sure bound to continue in future as well – HH Thanks again for a superb post.

  • Good morning to all! 🙂

    Wow, some fantastic and insightful comments last night and this morning. Well done to all those involved in discussions with WeeD, and I hope he takes in the well-meant feedback on his discussion style. Great content and different opinions are very welcome – it is what this blog is all about – but being respectful and courteous to others makes a gentleman.

  • Hi Fred 🙂

    Yes, I can see your point and I would like it too if more ‘developed from scratch’ youngsters would make it at Arsenal.

  • Hi Beegee 🙂

    Fine comment. HH is either asleep or on an aeroplane right now – or eating hahaha – some will not be able to respond you till the evening(ish).

    Like you, I am hopeful Eisfeld will come through. When I watched him I had flashbacks towards Cesc, and I reckon that was my gut telling me Eis Eis Baby is one for the future!

  • Hi RA 🙂

    Sad indeed to hear about the possible demise of Emmanuel-Thomas. It must be very hard to make it at the top. 😦

  • TA, just out of interest are you still hoping for TV to replace arteta in DM against newcastle or do you think we should risk playing jack?

  • HH et al

    HH one point really, or two… You wrote: “Why not just allow clubs in lower divisions develop these young players and give them exposure to first-team minutes? The EPL system does not currently cater to producing youth and would do well to follow the model currently in Spain.”

    IMO, your north American roots are showing mate!! 🙂 … Sounds like minor league baseball to me. And hasn’t that been exactly what Belgium has been lately for many in the EPL, with good result… Says a Standard de Liege fan! 😉

    Equally, to many comments. The youth system is a big investment. Currently it may not appear to pay off but all it takes is for Gnabry or Chucks to explode into glory and all we will hear is how over thhe top wonderful it is… From everywhere, and how it’s better etc etc ad nauseum… Reality is simply luck and numbers to my thinking…

    So, the spaniards do do a little better but I suspect it’s more about language and culture, especially for the Catalans who you hear about versus the Madrid folk you don’t.. 🙂 with regard to youth academies… ie Catalans is not Spanish AND there is a huge political and cultural chip on the shoulder there not to be ignored…

    Just. A couple of logs for the fire!

    Cheers — jgc

  • Welcome Simba M

    You have summarised the predicament of a promising talent at a top club in that one comment. Well done. 🙂

    You could argue that if you are a promising talent, you are better off starting at a smaller club, as you are likely to get more first-team opportunities, which might lead to a top-club buying you with an aim to play you regularly in the first team….. Ox, Theo, Jenkinson…etc

  • Hi Fred

    Jack has looked so rusty in recent months, playing nowhere near his incredible potential. I love the little guy and it would be great to see him perform on Sunday…. but I reckon he is not fit enough to add real value to the team and therefore, yes, I would prefer TV to start next to Rambo and put the fear into the NU lads hahaha 🙂

    Who would you like to play instead of A Treat (if he is indeed injured)?

  • For me, I’d like to see us tweek our formation slightly, if Jack is not fit enough to play. However, like you if AW think he is fit enough I would love to see him start and simply replace Arteta, although that doesn’t look too likely.

    Therefore, I would like to see us go:


    However, the likelihood of this happening is fairly slim and if Jack and arteta cannot play then I think we are likely to either do a straight swap of Le coq or TV in for Arteta. I would like to see TV play at DM for arsenal but I think I’d like to see him phased in to that position during the pre-season.

  • Morning All.

    UMF selections.

    VCC =
    Soton v Stoke ..draw
    WBA v MU…….away
    Swans v Ful…..home
    Pool v QPR……home
    MC v Nor………home.

    I’m still waiting on =


    Please guys can you get your entries in before ko manana.

    Last week all………….lets go out with a bang

  • @ Highbury Harmony May 18, 2013 05:51

    You have to realise that the 1st team will still be having a substantial incoming and outgoing in personnel (a medium-size “surgery” of our team), while hoping to maintain a core of 11-13 main players for the new season:

    a) 3 players very likely leaving when their contract expires end of this season (Fabianski, Arshavin, Squillaci)

    b) JY Park is written off from the team and is definitely going.

    c) Diaby is out at the very least till the beginning of next year (Jan 2014), and entering his final year of contract with us. He shall be just counting down his remaining months
    left with our club.

    d) The senior loanees Chamakh(West Ham ->Bordeaux), Djourou(Hannover), Denilson(Sao Paulo), Andre Santos(->Gremio or returning to Turkey), Bendtner are very possibly to be transferred out permanently/temporary again.

    e) We have both Wilshere and Podolski going under the knife in summer. With hope and luck, they will recover to 100% physical condition as soon as possible from their operations and recuperation. I would have believed both shall be bedded into the 1st team sporadically by Arsene, meaning they shall not be expected to play 40 – 50 matches next season.

    f) We have the uncertainties in Sagna(returning to France), Vermaelen(moving to any other clubs in the remaining big 4 leagues in Europe), Coquelin(moving to Germany), Mannone(will he wish to remain as a No.2 or No.3 GK), Gervinho(linked away to Turkey or a return to France), Frimpong(staying with Fulham on a longer loan or permanently), J.Campbell(remaining with Betis or if he gets his UK work permit, be loan out to club in the country), Miyaichi(likely to go out on loan again to test himself for 1 full season).

    From our 1st team of around 25 players, after taking away the above (a) to (d), while considering (e) and (f) to be in pending [], we shall have between 13 to 20 of our 1st team players remaining in consideration. Getting in 3-4 new players that AW believed would bring more help the 1st team to compete for all competitions available to us next season will not rock the boat, much less team balance and chemistry. We are not making a new 11+7 starting/bench squad from scratch.

    Moreover, our youth players from the academy may have realised themselves that out of 10 -12 players due promotion, only the top 1 or 2 quality youth players will make it into the 1st team each season. In recent years, only Wilshere is promoted to full 1st team role, while Miquel, Yennaris, Gnabry, Meade, Martinez, Eisfeld, Bellarin get a couple of appearances in cup competitions. The ascension rate of the numbers from academy to reserve to 1st team is almost non-existent.

    From our reserves and academy,

    – Angha(to Nuremburg), Conor Henderson(leaving), Ebecilio(Twente), Daniel Boateng(speculated to leave) and who knows how many more from our reserve and academy players will go out on loan or be transferred out.

  • Hi Fred, that is a nice looking formation, but there would be a lot of pressure on Ramsey through the middle. I guess Sagna or Koz could come and support him if needed, but it would be quite risky for the last game of the season.

  • Wow JM – if you add it up like that, there will indeed be a lot of movement over the summer. Luckily, except for potential moves of Sagna and Vermaelen, it should not touch much of the core of the team. And I am hoping that one of those two will at least stay, as we need the experience/continuity.

  • @TotalArsenal May 18, 2013 12:30

    I am looking at these things in a broader prospective.

    There is a major event coming up in summer 2014, the WC2014 in Brazil. 1st team players will want to impress their national team manager for the coveted spot in the final world cup squad of every qualified nation.

    Some will stay and fight; others will leave to get a better chance for starting appearances elsewhere. One thing leads to another. I would believe AW and IG will have taking this into consideration.

  • Hi VCC, 🙂

    Hope you are in good heart for tomorrow’s game!

    Sorry about the delay in the UMF league predictions.

    Southampton v Stoke = Draw

    West Brom v Manure = Away

    Swansea v Fulham = Draw

    L’Pool v QPR = Home

    Citeh v Nor = Home.

    I am hoping to get over the ton!! 🙂

  • TA, I see your point, but I feel Ramsey is ready to have a little more faith he has proven himself to be worthy of a more important role so far this season. The other alternative would be to have monreal at LB instead of Gibbs and put Cazorla on the wing and have Rosicky Playing off Giroud or Podolski

  • Hello TA..Fine post as usual

    RE you post, i think the increased pressure on Le Prof to deliver a trophy means limited chances 4 our up coming players..Le Coq in my opinion is one player i hoped would develop and shine with us..he is a very disciplined player with good technical ability..he is in my opinion the BEST replacement 4 Zollo…though he cannot compare to Zollo’s flare in terms of passing(but then again,who can???)

    I still have high expectations from some of the players in the youth ranks..particularly the two Germans,Eisfield and Gnabry…especially the former…i remeber the CRAZY Reading game, and until Eisfield was introduced, i believe were were not controlling the midfield..then he came on..i must admit i felt as if i was watching CESC himself…the ease with which this boy distributes the ball and finds a team mate is very much cesc-esque…hope both of them get a shot in the 1st team

    The young lads in the academy WORSHIP Jack..he is the PERFECT model of an academy player making it at the top most level..but players like this are HARD to find..just hope at least the one’s i mentioned above make it

    A good performance in the two Cup competitions would very much ensure more top flight games 4 our young guns…just hope we are up 4 it next season 2 afford this youngsters more playing time..

    Finally, let’s all hope the boys finish off the season in style at St.James park…St Totteringham’s day is nearly upon us..COYG!!!!!!!!

  • Good morning fine, fellow Gooners :).

    Some excellent overnight comments (overnight for me hahaha!)!

    The best part about writing these articles for me is the additional insight it brings from some incredibly intellectual and insightful fans. It’s times like this I am convinced that Gooners are the smartest and best fans around :D.

    Nice to see that the pack mentality is strong within BK! Beegee, RA and Simba thank you for the well thought out comments and for the compliments (Beegee 🙂 ). I will get back to each of you later today after I am back from NYC!

  • TA :), I find it humorous when you get credit for my articles and I get credit for yours (it’s happened a few times for both lately)! I take it as a high compliment that my style is close to a good as yours that others cannot differentiate between the two hahaha 😉

    Thanks for the kind words Kenyan G, I will also get back to you later today!

  • JM, quick reply I’ll get back to you in full later.

    If you believe that many of the departed players on loan are already accounted for (i.e. Chamakh, Park, Denilson, Santos, Bendtner etc) by players like Giroud, Poldi, Nacho and Santi then suddenly not too many squad spots are available.

    Also, one must factor in that a youth or two will be promoted to the first team. In all likelihood, Miquel and Yennaris are more than ready to replace the remaining players either leaving via FT or already on loan soon to be sold (i.e. Squillaci and maybe Sagna or Coquelin/Frimpong if either leave).

    So, between Giroud, Podolski, Gervinho, Walcott, Santi, Jack, Ramsey, Ox, Arteta, BFG, Verm, Jenks, Nacho, Gibbs, Sagna, Coquelin, Rosicky, Ches, Diaby eventually and maybe even Mannone and Frimpong, there are only 3-5 spots to fill considering that AW likes to keep 24 in the first-team.

    I’d like to believe that Miquel will be the 4th choice CB next season and Yennaris filling Frimpong’s spot if he is sent back on loan/Coquelin is sold or sent on loan. Eisfeld or Gnabry can temporarily fill Diaby’s squad spot until he’s back from injury.

    Past that, AW will definitely need to replace Fabianski with an experienced GK, a DM to replace Song that he never adequately replaced and a ST/CAM to replace Arshavin.

    That’s how I see it anyway, but you could well be right that we’re in line for 4-5 players if some key ones are sold (Verm and Sagna) or if AW promotes 0 youth.

  • @Highbury Harmony May 18, 2013 13:56

    Miquel, Yennaris, Gnabry, Eisfeld are good prospects, they are still U-21 and they could fill in for the 1st team anyways without taking out the 25-men registered quota for EPL. Moreover, they shall mainly be in our UEFA reserve squad and the team for the Professional Development League 2013/2014 where Miquel is the captain.

    Our fringe players and players on the bench in the 1st team, especially the international players, will be keen to seek starting positions to be taken noticed for inclusion to their national team, bearing in mind that next season is gearing towards WC2014.

    One way or the other, the projection rate of incoming/outgoing players in the 1st team (excluding senior loanees) can fluctuate from only a couple to half a dozen (including those out of contract).

  • Hi HH, great comment, I have to say if the TW goes according to the best case scenario that you mention with 3-5 spaces being filled, I can only see us going for two top quality/world class players (hopefully Higuain/Jovetic and Lars Bender!) that would leave 1-3 spaces available for youth players to fill the void, you habe mentioned Miquel and Yennaris. Whilst Yennaris is a good player I would prefer to see Eisfeld promoted ahead of him. If you had to chose 1 out of those 3 to be promoted who would you chose and why?

  • Just catching up with all the writing (wow…) as I had to catch up with real life and finish my week with a show of strength….Overall, I’m amazed that so much writing can be generated at this moment. Aren’t people’s cheeks (bums) already starting to squeak ahead of tomorrow’s critical match? I think Newcastle players will at least try to show whatever class they have for 30-60 minutes and that we will have to be resolute for the full 90….

    I think Jack will start in MF tomorrow. Howard Webb loves to control matches with plenty of whistles near the center circle and Jack is quite masterful (for one so young) in knowing what’s going on behind him. This allows him to run onto balls (that others would try and control at their feet…) while turning and scanning the pitch. It also gives him a chance to anticipate (or create) contact with his markers and control play through the referee’s whistle.

    Which takes me to the discussion about Le Coq…. Coquelin has many of these same abilities but, because he’s just another foreigner (dark-skinned to boot….) rather than “the future of English football”…. his penchant for using the referee (and writhing about like a stabbed fish….) is considered a (BIG) negative. He doesn’t have the same sense of using space that Jack possesses so he doesn’t run onto balls in the same manner, but his footwork on the ball (second, perhaps, on the team, only to Santi?…) is excellent and he can induce many fouls with that sort of trickery.

    This gets back to the whole discussion of English football vs the Continental leagues. English football IS different and “working” the ref is considered deceitful rather than artful. Theo Walcott pops up from the floor (to complete his hattrick vs Newcastle back in December) rather than rolling over and over grabbing his leg (or his face) and, as such, he will start tomorrow. Aaron Ramsey runs and runs (chasing his terrible first touches) and tackles with ferocity and abandon and (somehow) will not pull out of challenges from the (many) Shawcrosses in the league. He too will start tomorrow. Le Coq, by contrast will jump high and land already “injured,” his actions demanding referee intervention. This is why he will not start tomorrow….Will he get a spot on the bench?….

    From the sounds of it, he’s off to Germany although I think he might still have a future at the club, particularly if Sagna were to leave. IMO Coquelin’s best work has been as a FB. He had one match last season (I think it might have been Villa away) during our FB injury crisis where he really looked the part (playing at LB, as I recall)…. Overall, I think he has too much technical ability and we shouldn’t let him go and the simulation thing (in his case) can be improved. The purchase of Monreal (which might not have happened w/o Gibbs getting injured…), however, might be the precursor to his departure. Maybe if he hadn’t gone down in a heap (looking for a whistle) at Stamford Bridge (a play that led to their opening goal)…he’d be staying. Like JGC says, timing and luck are everything….

    For that fellow (JGC–and hockey boy HH)…. I too, lived in Michigan in the late 80s–Ann Arbor (while my wife finished her Ph. D…)–and the hockey was spectacular. I was only there for 15 months but in that time the Red Wings won TWO Stanley Cups (their first and 2nd in 40 years….) and U of M won the College Nationals. Also, I got to see the Olympics on Canadian TV so that meant early morning games–on the bigger, Olympic sized rinks. For people who’ve only seen the NHL (smaller rink) game, the skating in the bigger venues is something, esp. when it’s the best players in the world skating for their countries….

    ‘Nuf said, big match tomorrow, eh?….

  • Oh, another thing….Isn’t there some element about how the youth academies are accounted for in terms of FFP numbers? Isn’t ManCity trying to use the building of a huge youth academy/field complex to somehow compensate for their excesses in transfers/salaries in the first team? I cannot figure it out (nor remember….) but maybe I’ll try to look it up….Or maybe the accountants can straighten me out…. For some reason, I’m thinking that it might be in the interest of the (bigger) clubs to make a loss on their academies, which might explain a bit about the 1 (or 2) in a hundred who make it through to the first team….

  • So, nobody will respond to my comments….Well, F**k you!! I don’t need your (nonsense) comments anyhow…. Did I fail to get down on my knees and fluff up the poster sufficiently? “Oh HH, what a great post, you’re awesome, wow, etc., etc…..” In truth, my (original) thought was, WTF are you doing writing about Coquelin and the youth set-up two days before the biggest match of the season (or the century, or the millenium….)????? Bergkampesque? More like Bullsh*tesque…. You guys can all just kiss my *ss….

    😉 😆 😈

  • Well, if it’s just me, that’s OK…. (And, in truth, I think the topic DOES apply to the game at hand, given Arteta’s injury and who should take his spot….)

    My research into the academies and FFP indicate that ManCity are looking for an “exemption” because so much of their losses (in the opening 2011-2013 time frame) stem from their investment into their (future) academy…. I still don’t quite get it–but I think it has to do with setting a baseline for their planned losses going forward….

    How about that Copa del Rey Final? I didn’t see it, but the match reports are wild. Maureen getting sent off means that he’s done at RM and maybe will be watching tomorrow at the Bridge? Crazy stuff, no? I saw Courtois up close and he’s the real deal. When he grows into his (very big) body, he could make it very difficult to score against Chelsea…. Between him and De Gea and Hart and our own guy (Sir Chesney) I think the Prem could tighten up a lot (fewer goals against the top clubs, at least)…. Even Spurs have a decent keeper these days….

    Anyways, it appears my timing is off and everybody’s enjoying their Saturday afternoon….I guess I missed the party 😦 …..

  • UMF’s

    Chelsea vs Everton draw
    Arsenal win
    Stoke vs South draw
    United win
    Wigan vs Villa draw

    Come on crack the 100!!!

  • HH & AFC, well done for attempting to try and reason with a fella who is only understood well by his pet, kudos to both of you especially HH for keeping his calm and trying to reason with logic and make sense. 😉


    Petr cech was linked to us earlier during the season and chelsea do seem to have a real classy goalie in Courtois ( by the way, chelsea have a few potential world class players on loan, they are going to be the team to beat next season for sure)…..but coming back to Cech rumours, if he was available then he would be a good signing for us .


    good point re- sagna potential departure and using coquelin in that position, actually that is a very good one, as it will allow both jenko and coq to get better and improve that much further, i don’t by the notion of us buying an experienced RB or keeping Sagna for the development of Jenko, the best way to develop, learn and improve is by playing in matches week in week out….hopefully we’re able to keep coquelin for another 6 months and if not, then let him go on loan or sell him in january of 2014.

    the copa del rey final yesterday was sizzling and spicy, a very feisty affair indeed with plenty of acting and time wasting by ATM, how RM manage to lose that one remains a mystery, clearly the better team, the better chances but luck and the chelsea goal keeper at loan (courtois) was standing in their way, both ronaldo and jose.m got sent off….

  • Since no one will play with me (and even throwing my toys didn’t seem to work…) I thought maybe I’d think more deeply about the academy set-up. How much does it cost to “educate” an academy prospect and is it worth it? Football is about nothing if it’s not about making money….

    I have no idea, of course, but I would think that it costs maybe the same as sending your kid to college, which here is around 50,000 dollars/year. Let’s round that up to pounds….If you take on a 10 year old and get him to 18 that’s 400K, if every 100 is a Jack Wilshere (who we could sell for 40 million), well, that’s your break even….and everything else is a bonus….

    Of course, I’m just making this stuff up, but my hunch is that the academy works via many different accounting methods….Intangibly, If it brings in talent from around the world, it helps “marketing” in those areas….Interest in prospects and local boys and matches to watch can’t hurt either…. More tangibly, If you can get the kid near the first team and then sell him, it would defray the cost of his education (and how many others who never agree professional terms?)….And, of course, if you do get a Wilshere (or even close….) then it’s all worthwhile. Overall, it just seems like a big winner. If City can get away with the losses they’ve posted around their academy (and training facilities) and it helps them bring in young talent they may actually last as a real force in football past the Sheik’s interest in the game….

    Anyhow, just trying to keep the discussion going….(A bit tough when it’s just me and my multiple personalities….)

  • 17ht,

    some solid points up there, well done.

    but since your multiple personalities and expertise have no limits, what are your thoughts on the last day of the season ? surely, everyone should be thanking us for making the last day of the season a tad interesting, without the fight for top 3/4 finish, there is nothing else to it, as everything is settled….compare it to last season and it may seem very boring 😀

    we’ve not won at st.james’s park since 2009 or 2008 ? and sunderland have never won at white hart lane i was told, but i appreciate the honesty and character of the new sunderland manager, he says ” AFC have done us a favour by relegating wigan and we will try to return the favour” , shame on you Tony Pubis.


  • Hey 007,

    I’m soooo grateful for the response….No matches and my family doing the lie-in thing maybe got me a little wacked-out, what with my extremely excellent espressos….. 😆

    I know that you’re not as convinced as I am about the greatness of Bacary Sagna and the (impending) tragedy of letting him go to PSG….but (obviously) I think it’s a big deal. Our system asks so much of the FBs and they suffer if not completely on top of their games. Jenks has an incredible right foot (and maybe could, down the road take some FKs….) but he chokes on his deliveries almost everytime (too high or too low….) also, he needs to learn how to run (cut down his stride) just like others (Ramsey and Wilshere). Gibbs really impressed me last week at the defensive end, but he is sooooo one-footed which really limits his offense. If the ball falls to his left foot (or the defender allows him to put it on his left….) all is good, otherwise he needs a simple bail-out option and it slows everything down….This is a spot where Le Coq might’ve stepped in. Buying Nacho, I fear, put an end to that. Still, as we saw last year, injuries can come in bunches….

    Everything I see and hear suggests Le Coq is gone…. with maybe Bellerin and Yennaris to benefit from his departure….

    Big match tomorrow (maybe the real cause for my high amperage)….

  • excellent they are, no doubt about that and thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining 😉

    i wouldn’t want to sell BS, however if he doesn’t want to sign the 2 year contract extension offered to him then i wouldn’t mind letting him go to Russia or PSG. it’s interesting you mention hector bellerin, i actually believe he’s good a very bright future ahead of him, but he is very attack minded and needs to spend more time improving and learning his trade.

    re- Jenko, on current form, his attacking play is better than Sagna, it’s only his defensive play he needs to improve more but that will come with time spent on the football pitch and actual minutes under his belt, if Sagna was sold then it might turn out to be make or break for Jenko (am hoping make)…and if we don’t have coquelin next season either then Ramsey can be used as a utility player, covering for jenko if he was tired or promoting bellerin as you have mentioned.

    saying big match would be an understatement, it’s a massive match, i have posted an article earlier (re-posted by TA, the Opening comment in this thread) it takes a look at why the champs league is important for the teams fighting for 4th.

  • Haha, Bond,…glad to see your focus is where it should be…Also glad to see my favorite Nazi, DiCanio, wants to do his thing against the yids….(I can say all this, because of my Jewish heritage….)

    My head says that all three teams (Spurs, Chelsea, Us) will win their matches, meaning that we finish 4th. Sunderland, Everton and Toonies have nothing to play for but their pride. If the better teams gift them something they will be invigorated but they will wilt (and protect themselves from a big scoreline) if they give up an early goal themselves…. It’s counter-intuitive, but strong defense and not overselling to get the early goal is the key in all 3 (must-win) matches. Wear them down while maintaining your shape….

    Chelsea, I have to say, have been very unconvincing in this area. Against Spurs they got the early goal (and the lead again) but couldn’t hold the margin and they really should have lost the Europa final. I think they’ve missed Obi-Mikel (if not Essien) a lot. I’m not convinced by David Luis as a defender nor as a DM. He’s great going forward but very unpredictable on defense.

    Spurs should (italics) have the easiest match, but they’re very strange and Parker plus a half-fit Dembele might be suspect. Huddlestone is all offense (booming right foot) but slow as treacle, so they too can be beaten through the middle….

    Our match, of course, is what really scares me. I think Jack and Rambo can (possibly) control the MF, but Cabaye always seems up for a fight and if he can inspire his other countrymen, even if just to start the match, I can see them getting the first goal. And then, if they can re-group and defend for a bit they’ve got a lot of weapons (Ben Arfa, esp.) on the counter-attack. That all requires a bunch of running and if they’re already (mentally) on the Riviera maybe they won’t want to…. We need to control the match early and get the first goal and hopefully they’ll be happy to ease into their vacations as long as we don’t run up the score….

    Anyways, I gotta lay off the coffee or I won’t sleep tonight….. 😆

  • i have replied to your earlier comment but for some strange reason it’s awaiting moderation, for some reason no one seems to trust me, ha

    re- Chelsea vs Everton, then there is bad blood between rafa and moyes, going back to the liverpool vs everton days….rafa has called Everton a small club in the past and the small club everton will have to show chelsea how far this “small club” has come, suffice to say, Everton are no role overs even when they have nothing to play for on the surface but i reckon they will want to prove a point and give moyes the perfect send off, not to mention spoil rafa’s departure and stop him getting another £250,000 richer….worth nothing that everton have conceded only 1 goal in their last 6 games ? (correct me if i am wrong anyone).

    i am almost certain that chelsea will be a force to be reckoned with next season and for years to come , they shall be the team to beat, what ever has happened this season is down to new arrivals and departure of players tuned in with impatience but i don’t expect them to go another year like this with jose.m at the helm.

    Spuds, well i rather not talk about Gareth Bale FC 😀

    re- our match, well as long as we keep all 11 players on the pitch and don’t do anything stupid (hmmm diaby slapping joey barton e.t.c e.t.c) we should be fine and be able to beat them as they tend to play 4-4-2 , our midfield is better than their’s and it’s a blessing in disguise that they are without their first/2nd choice keepers as well as sissoko ….i’m not worried about ben arfa since he is good at attacking but not as efficient back tracking or at defending, which will give us plenty of space to trouble the FB.

  • Good piece about Coquelin HH.

    I really thought he was showing a lot of promise, but I just can’t see how he’s going to get the chance to try and cement a starting place in the foreseeable future, so a move away is likely.

    The thing about bringing through “the yoof” is that many are called, but few are chosen – and I suspect that applies to all clubs.

    The Barca DNA is only so strong because they have been successful and because the world’s media loves them. If they go through a period of relative decline any time soon, you’ll soon see that “Barca DNA” won’t count for very much.

    Likewise, if we get back to where we belong, any young players who have gone off and done well elsewhere will quickly discover that they have Arsenal DNA 🙂

  • OK VCC, here it is – my final UMF entry of the season. Perhaps I can bow out with more success than I have managed throughout the campaign so far…

    Chavs v Toffees – D
    ‘Pool v QPR – H
    Man City v Naaarch – H
    WBA v ManUre – H
    Wigan v Villa – H

  • HH…a thousand apologies mate…TA writes sooo many posts that i no longer check who writes these posts, i just assume its TA…i’m embarrassed..!!:),,,and by the way GREAT POST HH!!!!:):):)

    Hello 17ht, i share in your thoughts about Cabaye..he’s one player i personally admire and were it not 4 his age(too old 4 Arsene??)..would not mind him in the red and white…i have no doubts Rambo will run his socks off come tomorrow, but its Jack the giant killer i i’m concerned about..he hasn’t been his ‘normal super self’ lately..can’t blame him,as i understand he’s carrying a knock..these means Rambo’s job at the middle of the pack will be doubled as he might have to clean after a rusty Jack…hope the likes of Little Mozart and Santi bail him out

    That said, hope our ‘big players’ 4 this season step it up..Santi and Theo..and win us THIS match

  • Bond, I’m looking forward to your comment, if it clears moderation…. 😀

    Chelsea do look promising….Torres and/or Ba might be available at bargain prices if Maureen brings the C-Ron back with him…. Lukaku, I think, is ready to play up front as well.

    They still need help in their central defense which is what I really fear could be the Mourinho effect. The under appreciated guys at Real Madrid (Coentrao and Khedira) might be more likely to come with coachy-woachy than the guy who would represent a(nother) Spanish bailout. (What would C. Ronaldo, even with not so much time left on his contract, cost Abramovich?….)

    KG, I think Wilshere will do much better working with Howard Webb in MF….I’m telling you the bald-ego (eagle….) loves to blow the whistle and calm the match near the center circle. Maybe we can even get Cabaye sent off…. (Certainly I would not be surprised, in the least, to see he and Jack square up in a street fight style. Jack, we have to hope, cannot be provoked into doing something silly….)

    I think we may see Ollie G back in the line-up (at the expense of Lu-lu Poldolski) so that we can play our route 1 and bypass the shenanigans in MF altogether (or as much as possible)….So much for Arsenal and our “good football.” This is, however, THE moment for pragmatism….

  • KG,

    Cabaye is a top notch player but one i am hoping will cause us little concern tomorrow considering he has returned from injury not so long ago and is having to play with a lot of new players around him…we were in for Cabaye actually, and has grapevine has it, NU wanted 15 million and we wanted him for far less hence no deal.

    ideally we shouldn’t be playing jack tomorrow since NU tend to play a 4-4-2 generally, we got to out muscle their midfield by putting an extra body in midfield, so it’s essential to either start with jack or coquelin in my opinion as opposed to my earlier preference of playing the combination of ramsey/rosicky/santi/poldi/giroud/theo , i would be tempted to leave out giroud on the bench and start with this combination ramsey/jack or coq/ santi/rosicky/ podolski/ theo and then bring on giroud as a sub later.

    what are your thoughts ?

  • cheers guys. odds so far =

    HH…….. 53-1
    VCC…… 19-1
    Red Arse.43-1
    Rocky…. 26-1
    Oz……… 154-1

    Still waiting for =


  • 17ht,

    chelsea are 1 player away from being world toppers, as you rightly point out they also need a decent DM, we need 2-3 and we’ll be right up there as well…..Man utd have first refusal on CR similar to what we have for Cesc, with rooney wanting to leave and no more SAF at utd, i would be surprised if ronaldo ends up in red but i do expect jose.m to bring a few players with him from spain… (falcao perhaps ?

    i just hope we win tomorrow otherwise there will be a lot of looking back at our season and where we failed to pick up points or lose them ( arteta missing the last minute penalty/ us failing to win against everton (both games) e.t.c e.t.c) time will tell how costly those turn out to be for us.

  • I dunno 007, I think Chelsea have some deeper issues (Is Cahill really able to contribute at the level John Terry always did?….) and are they (maybe) less ready for FFP issues than City(?)….All that back manager pay has to add up, doesn’t it? (Or maybe not, I guess only DiMatteo has yet to take another job….) They need a stadium rebuild (including the pitch) in a pretty bad way. Also, they need to up their salaries if they intend to keep up….Maybe Rooney goes to Chelsea and Ronaldo goes back to United, given the buyback clause…. (lol at Rooney and his loyalties, not to mention his hair-hat….)

    Anyways, I’m glad you’re feeling at least somewhat confident about tomorrow’s match, but you’re right, the hand-wringing over missed points (here, there and everywhere–to quote a certain band of Merseysiders….) is something I can live without….

  • if I was Wenger i would look again at the Southampton Youth academy (or whatever it is called) They must operate on a shoe string budget yet keep producing gems.

    Another problem with our youth set up is that many can’t adjust to being away from their own counties which is quite understandable and that may mentally hinder their development.

  • WD,

    psychiatrist’s are over rated 😉


    i don’t really think the FFP will hinder the big clubs as such, note how chelsea were generating losses after losses year in year out and for the first time in a donkey no of years, they have reported profits in their last financial statements….it just goes to show that with these FFP coming into force, the accountants shall be kept plenty employed and busy.


    you’re spot on about Southampton, they must be doing something right to be producing such a high level of home grown talent, you can add luke shaw to the ever growing list as well…maybe the smaller clubs are under less pressure to produce top notch talent hence can do so more effectively and the youth are persisted with ?

    perhaps one of the drawbacks of having a promising youth play at arsenal is that , when they do well, they are under the radar of many clubs across the globe and most clubs are ready to pounce or to an extent throwing ridiculous offers at them to take them away ? this may test their resolve , loyalty and so on and makes the look outside the club which has helped them gain such skills ? i wonder how much of it comes down to greed or a young chap wanting to be in the lime light ASAP instead of biding his time and making a strong case for his inclusion in the seniors ?

    i see AFC has mentioned pogba moving from man utd to juventus, well Pogba has/had a few disciplinary issues and temper problems (as do most french players, don’t they:D ) but anyway, pogba was promised more first team play apparently at man utd but then came back paul scholes hence the move…. in our case, we haven’t done that to coquelin (ok, we may have if we brought back Viera 😀 )

  • Very nice post Harmonious.

    Its getting harder and harder for young players to come through the ranks these days. Paitence amongst fans and owners is thin. Pressure on managers to provide instant results is fierce.

    Combine the above with the increasing competition bought by suger daddys to remain at the top and the crazy competion for smaller clubs to stay in the prem and the problem is compounded.

    Lets put it this way. A hugh club like Arsenal does not aquire to much youth from premeirship clubs and produces little of its own.

    Remember this. Walcot, Ramsey, Jenkinson, and Ox were all aquired from clubs not in the top league. The lower leagues have now become the place for young talent to get its chance

  • What quite a few people forget about our youth academy prospects IS their youthfulness. These kids are adolescents and often ill-prepared to face the rigours of ferocious competition and demanding physical/mental exertion inherent in a professional Footballer’s life.
    1)They may have, like George Best did, all the talent in the world but he ended up an alcoholic, anti-social and burnt out wreck who died years before his time.
    2)When I maintain that their progress towards full professional status in a first team is complicated, I mean that the psychological,psycho-social and emotional balancing act they need to maintain in order to succeed as a pro is not always evident.
    3) As well, many of them are away from home friends and family (in the case of the foreign players especially)often for the first time, and that is a tough situation to manage as well. AFC does a great job of being in loco parentis but they can’t replace the guidance and support these kids’ parents can offer them.
    4) RA asked why so many kids don’t do all that well on loan and some even fail miserably, despite their talent and skills. This is an excellent question. I wonder IF the temptations of modern life interfere too much with their development as professionals? Sex,drugs,rock & roll can definitely screw up an adolescent’s progress to maturity.

    Anyway, it is an interesting discussion.

  • Just a quick note about FFP

    The first legal chalange to the rules has began.

    Its somes up the modern game very well

    The challange is by some sleazy Bastard Agent, who is claiming it reduces his and players ability to make money because there wont be as many transfers hahahah. Hes hired the same geezer to represent him that won the Bosman case

  • Vics baby. Sorry about the delay. Ive been busy with some extensions. hahaha

    Arsenal 5-0
    Tottswine draw
    Chelsea draw
    M City win
    M Utd win

  • WD,

    some interesting points but i would like to comment on point 4,

    perhaps the lack of sex, drugs, rock n roll and so on is what screws their road to maturity ?

    football as a sport is fun no doubt, but when these kids sign up for any decent club, it becomes a full time career, and like any profession, it requires hard work, dedication, commitment and so on…..

    i was reading up an article on romelu lukaku, in which he states how hard it is to be a professional footballer, the things he can’t do e.t.c and try to make it big as a youth, it’s fair to say that young lads who take their jobs seriously much like lukaku’s of this world and prosper.

  • Hello, people!

    HH, nice post about a very interesting player. I’m wondering why Glic didn’t ask a philosophical question: “Who wants Le Coq in our Arse?” 😀

    Coquelin seems like an intriguing player to me as he has ability to transform from defense to attack and to make a sweet pass (though his crosses are crappy). However, it seems that he lacks something…I don’t know what is that…to be a midfielder that we need. If he and Frimpong were mixed into one person (Coquepong?), that would be a perfect defensive midfielder.

  • Hi all and 17HT in pArticular

    17, sorry about your toys. I myself was asleep in way downunder-land … I am often out of the loop too in this regard.

    Your time in AA was undoubtedly a most magic moment in Detroit area sports adding in good UM football teams and the Pistons going well, plus the Tigers making some good runs.

    Myself I was at the General then (GM) and running lots, plenty around Ann Arbor and the various Bloomfields.

    For other specific comments, it would be interesting to see Sagna in the middle and Jenks wide to. Sagna as a DM has been discussed before and still makes some sense. What I like is that if you don’t have Arteta then Jenks is likely the next safest pair of hands (feet?) around that part of the field, and Sagnas ability to cover in the middle makes it work perhaps.

    Per the numbers guys, 17 and 007, we will soon find out at game time!

    Cheers — jgc

  • Hahaha JGC….

    I think a lot of people must be just enjoying their Saturdays and/or already hiding behind the sofa….

    A year+ in Michigan was good for me, made me (completely) unafraid of the mountain winter–the sun comes out between storms here…. 🙂 Summers are no bargain there, either….

    You won’t get an argument from me about Bacary Sagna’s safe feet, which is why I think people are discounting the effect of losing him. Sure, he’s not as Cescy as van Judas (or even Na$ri) but he handles as much of our (much vaunted and currently AWOL) possession as anybody…. Everybody has their own valuation for every player, etc., etc., but IMO it would be good business to bend the rules (or the “policies”) and give him more money or a longer contract or both…..

    Admir, I’m not sure if you read my comments above, but I think Le Coq’s biggest liability is the way he tries to, uh, “influence” the refereeing. It may be instinctual, but it’s not OK for players to act like they’ve been shot (or stabbed or gotten pepper spray in the face or…. ) each time they feel contact–at least not in England for a young player just coming up. Somehow Giroud gets away with his hand-waving antics, but I also think it puts a LOT of observers off. Le Coq’s last start was us losing to Blackburn in the FA Cup, but wasn’t his previous one the league loss at Stamford bridge, where he was still writhing on the pitch as Chelsea scored their first goal?…..

    Anyhow, for me, that’s maybe the “something” that he lacks (or that keeps him from getting pushed into the line-up faster). Ramsey, by contrast, plays to the whistle (at a far lower technical level–often making the foul himself….) despite having had his leg actually snapped in two…..

  • 17highburyterrace – Cool down dude !!! we all know that a Big match is coming and sure our team would do the best – The story is run is every other blog and we are excited on it too- But i truly like what you people write here in this blog and wat amazes more me is that the quality of knowledge and thoughtful insight you people bring out amidst difficult times. Is it wrong in doing that ? – jus feel that you people are doing a fine job… 🙂 Got this from TA for you “Great content and different opinions are very welcome – it is what this blog is all about – but being respectful and courteous to others makes a gentleman.” Regardless the Outcome – GOONER TILL I DIE

  • I have noticed that most of our players try to influence the officials, 17ht. Look at Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Arteta, Giroud…that’s a fair few out of our starting eleven, and I find this to be absolutely sickening. This is the only aspect of Wenger’s personality that I have trouble accepting. The players take the lead from him. I will never accept this as “part of the game” as I see it in all other sports, and I disagree with it completely. I am a pretty passionate person, when it comes to sports, and football in particular, yet I NEVER argued with an official. It’s at a much lower level, but these players had to start somewhere as well, right???

    Coquelin is not the only one who cries wolf, when he is tackled fairly, I guess is what I’m trying to say.

  • New Post 🙂

    Oz Gunner is back with a super exploding, ear-drum destroying bang! Prepare yourself for a multi-media feast of a post. Better than internet-porn!!! 🙂

  • Hey 17HT……nobody loves anybody else on this site but don’t let that upset you….your writing is always funny and cheerful so keep it up. Just don’t take yourself too seriously….it is something that happens too often on Arsenal websites.

  • Beegee, thanks for the very kind words mate :). Glad you enjoyed the read and all agreed on your additional points. I think Yennaris is definitely ready to make the jump to the first team and will need the increased exposure to better competition to further develop his game. Despite the injury, Eisfeld is already 20 so the clock is starting to tick just a little bit faster and I’m sure there’ll be more urgency from him to want to prove that he’s a first-team player. Gnabry is a special talent and could make a similar impact (if not better) than that of Ox at the same age. IMO, he’s even further along in his development and displays better finishing ability and composure with the ball.

  • Kelsey, welcome to BK :)! You might not be new, but it’s the first time I’ve seen you comment on here and I appreciate your insight.

    The Southampton academy is an excellent one to model our own after, though it depends on whether the club decides to focus on developing players in-house or to continue the recent trend of buying young, slightly more established talents. Arsenal have less of a need to follow the same path of the SOTON academy, but the talent they have churned out over the past 4 is simply remarkable: Bale, Theo, Ox, Shaw etc.

  • Hi Fred, glad to see you were busy contributing lots to BK/my article today! Entirely agree that at best we should only expect two top, top quality players, but realistically even one would have a significant impact. As much as I would love to add a player like Lars Bender to our squad, I believe he is out of our price range despite the increased transfer kitty. AW is still a relatively frugal man at heart and will see the increased funds (if numbers are true) as a way to bid on better players, whom are available slightly below club valuations. What I mean by this is that I do not believe he will hesitate to spend 20-25 million, but that he will refuse to spend that amount on a player he only rates at 18-20 million. Basically, the increased funds are not an excuse to spend frivolously just to acquire any individual he thinks would help this club (see $hitty and the inflated wages/transfer fees they have paid).

    Choosing one out of Miquel, Yennaris and Eisfeld is a very difficult task. In terms of long range potential, of course I’d have to give the nod to Eisfeld. He has flashes of sheer brilliance and his quality is above that of Miquel and Yennaris. However, Miquel should be the most ready to contribute, as he has already featured in some cup games and has 1 start and 4 substitute appearances in the EPL to his name already. I believe the hope is that he can develop into the next Mertesacker, with more pace and better ability on the ball. However, defenders generally take longer to develop, especially ones who are not fast and offensively oriented. Also, Miquel has nowhere near the same level of experience or composure that the BFG shows. Hopefully, this will come with increased minutes next season.

  • 17ht, glad to have another hockey fan on BK. Don’t know about those Detroit Dead Things or the Wolverines, but you’ve certainly been spoiled with some rich history and fantastic teams to cheer for!

    Now that you’ve revealed your occupation as a fluffer to all of us here on BK, we’ll surely look at you in a different light. If you had “fluffed” my article earlier, perhaps I would have responded in a more timely fashion ;). I was in NYC all day and was unable to join you all in the discussion.

    I actually made the point in a comment that if he had not gone off the pitch injured against Chelsea, there could have been a chance that he blossomed in the DM pivot role, opposed to Ramsey. I believe he featured at RB a couple times last season when Sagna was injured and Jenkinson was out of sorts playing the position. Coquelin was fantastic there and his ability to read the play and throw timely tackles was incredibly promising. Unfortunately, this has not translated to the same at the DM position, as the lack of playing time often causes him to overdo it in an attempt to impress the boss.

    In regards to your comments about Coquelin trying to deceive the referee or attract attention by diving/waving his hands in the air, I’m not sure if that’s a result of the culture from previous leagues or bred on the training ground (even the likes of a British boy like Jack engages in complaining to ref). I believe part of the responsibility falls to the manager too. When players see their manager constantly being overly expressive and at times petulant (complaining constantly to the 4th official), it’s difficult to harness their own emotion and instincts to harass the match official (imo of course).

  • Hi Terry :). Thank you for the kind words as always and I really enjoy reading your quiet, yet positive and perceptive comments.

    Patience really is a virtue isn’t it? You’re absolutely right that the pressure plays a part in preventing a manager from completely fulfilling his plan on how to build his squad. However, I think the youth have also let him down recently, in addition to injuries and players under performing/leaving the club. If the youth were developing at a slightly higher rate, perhaps there would have been less of a reliance on the same players year after year, meaning more rotation and opportunity for other players.

    I do wonder how much pressure AW really feels. Yes, he delivers results year after year but is his job really in threat? If he misses out on CL, will he really be sacked after his service to this club and all the profit he has brought during dark financial times? Regardless, of course he still feels pressure, but I do wonder at times just how prevalent and impactful it is…

    Arsenal seem to have shifted its mentality to buying promising, more established youth from other clubs opposed to developing its own. This is a sign that financially, things have improved and that we must not suffer the same high risk, dependent on youth strategy that clubs run on less are forced to deal with (i.e. Southampton, Ajax, Sporting Lisbon, Crewe, Everton etc.)

  • Kenyan G, I was merely playing with you mate ;). But yes, thank you for the kind words!

    All agreed. The pressure to deliver results now, in combination with our slow starts and inconsistent performances ultimately means less opportunity for our youth. Hopefully, this will be resolved this summer with early purchases and the core of our team being more established and familiar with one another. The momentum we have gained now can hopefully finally carry into the next season!

    I too have high hopes for Eisfeld and Gnabry and truly believe both will be with the first-team permanently in 2 years time. They are truly talents with high potential and both seem comfortable in our brand of football and adding a bit of creativity, flair and class that we are somewhat lacking right now.

  • Admir :), you are quickly becoming one of my favourite posters as your comments are always well received, positive and occasionally have some witty remarks thrown in! Thank you very much for high praise too.

    I’ll give you an A+ on humour and creativity with your philosophical question hahaha! I believe Glic, did not ask the question in fear of us pointing out that there was already an Isco up his Arse ;).

    I think that “something” Coquelin is lacking is confidence, as well as composure. However, I believe these two qualities are intertwined as the composure comes from experience, which ultimately is bred from confidence. It’s a difficult environment to perform in when you are only given spot minutes/starts due to rotation, injury or substitute appearances. You are frequently trying to use your limited game time to impress the manager and often overdo it and make plenty of mistakes by either being too aggressive or too conservative in the process.

    Coquelin needs to simplify his game similar to that of Ramsey first, before making darting runs up field and committing to questionable challenges that put our team at risk. His decision making will improve with more confidence from playing time, but unfortunately, I’m not sure if he will be afforded that luxury. Only time will tell and I hope he stays beyond this coming TW.

  • HH
    Good Morning
    Certanly not new 🙂 Saw my first game in 1958.
    Mke ashley has pledged one million pounds to non playing staff if they beat us today (source Sky Sports)
    Don’t forget Chelsea might just be the day when their crowded fixture list is a game too much against a good Everton side and I have a feeling Baines and Fellini will play out of their skin as I fully expect either or both to land up at United. Everton have had a good season with limited resources but are cash strapped.

  • Kelsey, I meant new to BK :).

    At least we all know that Newcastle are not a club motivated by money haha!

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