More goals to come from Arsenal
Arsene Wenger has long been an admirer of buying and developing youth players but in recent seasons he has not been shy of buying ready made players or those in their final contracts like Petr Cech. In this window alone he has signed 29-year-old Henrikh Mkhitaryan and is profoundly interested in taking Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund.
The more cynical view that some people are taking is that he doesn’t expect his tenancy at Arsenal to extend much further. If older players can only contribute for a season or two, he could himself be gone, so it is not his concern. He may also feel that he no longer has the luxury of time in which he can indulge in watching younger signings develop in a long-term future.
The success of the Arsenal academy
The Arsenal manager has a good record when it comes down to nurturing and developing young, talented players. He made mention of this in a recent press conference stating that players including the likes of Hector Bellerin, Alexis Iwobi, Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Jack Wilshere, all academy recruits, are still making significant contributions to Arsenal’s season.
Wenger reminded the football world that Arsenal are the only team in the EPL to have five players in their first team who are homegrown.
He pointed out that with the volatility and pressure that Premier League football places on managers, they are disincentivised to take gambles on younger, less experienced players in their sides. Their team selections, therefore, tend to be made with safety, security and experience as their main objectives.
Wenger believes that there are significant advantages to promoting home-grown talent. It doesn’t just mean that it saves money; it is also beneficial from a loyalty point of view, as nurtured talent develop stronger ties and bonds with their teams.
Something for nothing?
Expediency has probably got a lot to do with Wenger’s latest signing and his reported keen interest in Aubameyang. With the prospect that Sanchez could have gone for nothing in the summer, the Mkhitaryan swap is a good deal. His creativity could work well for the Gunners, and he has a pre-existing relationship with Aubameyang which, if a deal can be done, will increase his team’s ability to create more goal scoring opportunities for other strikers and attacking midfielders.
It just goes to show that it’s not only big spending that breeds success. It’s about getting the right quality for the job in hand when you need it. All in all, things could work out well.
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