What is your view on experience versus Academies, youngsters training programs and schooling, a subject which has been raised many times with Arsenal.
Arsene’s way has been to sign up youngsters and mould them into typical Arsenal players, take them on and train them to play the Arsenal way, a club apprenticeship if you like. They start at the bottom and will, as their education broadens, finish up an Arsenal first team player.
When I say experienced, I mean buying what most people would call finished players. Players who have been trained elsewhere and have gained experience by actually playing competitive football and are either looking for a new challenge or maybe a bit more money. Whatever the reasons this kind player can still be asset to the club they join.
We all know that the wages are miles apart with both sets of people, youngsters start in the hundreds where as experience in the thousands. I often ask myself if the academy is a worthwhile program, as sometimes I wonder if what/who we actually get to see at the end of it all is really worth the effort.
We can look back at some of the players who have come through the academy and see just how many have been sold on/released and I wonder if this system really works. The idea itself sounds like a good way to produce good young players fairly cheaply who will go on for several years for their parent clubs, but honestly there doesn’t seem that many that actually make it.
Wilshere, Ramsey, Coquelin, Gibbs, Djourou, Diaby, Fabianski, Mannone and Szczesny – these are players who have played in the first team fairly regularly and I have to say that most have had their a fair share of injuries.
Has this Project Youth system moved us that far forward?
Last season was in football terms a bad year for us. We started the season with suspensions and then injuries and we didn’t help ourselves by not buying quality/experienced players when we had the chance. Our last-minute signings tried their best, but in truth they struggled big time.
This season we have allowed the players that wanted to move on, go. We have also brought three players in Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud experienced players and it looks like we have struck gold with Cazorla and Podolski. Not knocking Giroud but he hasn’t hit the ground running but that is not to say he won’t. He did score a tasty goal last night though. Having come ff the bench, his late goal earned France a draw with Spain.
The difference with the team this year is we actually look like a football team and that is after losing Fabregas Nasri Clichy and van Persie who i think you would agree weren’t that bad. No doubt many of you think ill of them now, but that’s another story.
Now the question I put to you is, were you excited when the transfer window was about to open and the news came out that Podolski had signed?
The window hadn’t even opened and we had Podolski in the bag and the club made a statement saying that he wouldn’t be the only one joining us. My heart fluttered at that time, two new signings? Cripes I thought, who else is leaving.
I believe we spent under £50 million and with the players we sold, we probably made a profit but do you not think that this is a more exciting way to start this season?
Not being cruel but did you feel the same excitement when Coquelin was brought into the team or even Ramsey? No me either!
Jenkinson signing didn’t fluttered my feathers at all, £1 million was hardly worth the trouble was it?
Mind you I’m not saying that now about young Jenks, he’s been outstanding and worth every penny of that £1 million but you see where I am coming from?
He was brought in but not as an academy student, he started to play fairly quick, similarly with Oxlade-Chamberlain who we paid £12 million for. Who is this lad who we have paid so much for but of course his value will have increased hugely by now but back then it was crazy talk for an unknown.
Outsiders coming in has always raised my eyebrows, mainly because most of them I know very little about. Wenger has his faults, although I have complete faith in him, he manages in strange ways. Just when I think I have him figured out he does something like the Ox transfer or even Jenkinson.
Wenger is often labelled a ditherer, a miserly type of chap and then he signs Podolski before the window opens. Some critics may call him eccentric, others mad but I have to take a step back and say I think the man is a genius.
He keeps my interest, he frustrates me but he also excites me. Where else or who else would or could give you that feeling?
Am I glad I’m a Gooner?
You bet I am……
Written by Steve Palmer