Don’t Rush Our Youngsters by Dan Smith
I have read some comments suggesting that if Aubameyang is sold there is no need to replace him. Some have gone as far to add Lacazette in the mix, saying those two sales can fund strengthening elsewhere in the squad due to the emergence of Martinelli and Saka.
I heard others fear that us being linked with midfielders could also undermine the progress of a Nelson, Maitland Niles, and Joe Wilcock.
The danger of any youngster is dealing with the pressure of expectation, as teenagers they become rich, told how great they are, etc. How do they then cope when things are not going so well?
It takes talent to be in someone’s first team as a teenager but what separates someone from playing for a team in the top 6 compared to one in midtable is having to win every week. If you don’t, then you have to handle scrutiny.
We are currently 9th in the League. The table doesn’t lie. That proves our youngsters are not consistent enough yet to handle starting every week as a gunner.
Our away from remains poor, too many matches we don’t show up and get out-battled. Our record against the top 6 remains poor. We have just been knocked out of the Europa League by Olympiakos. So why would we be better without our two best strikers? It makes zero sense.
A Martinelli and Saka in particular have shown magic, but is it enough to turn us into title contenders? Is that not the long-term aim?
Or has Stan Kroenke lowered standards to such a point we now accept the bare minimum?
We used to tire of ‘only’ finishing in the top 4, now 9th is enough to convince some gooners that we have good enough youngsters where we can get away with selling our star names?
Of course, our American owner is happy for this to be the narrative. Instead of questioning why we are again slashing the wage bill and losing the few world class players we have, he would rather us convince ourselves that we have the ready-made replacements. That way he again spends as little money as possible.
At just I8 Martinelli has 3 League goals in 14 appearances, the same age Saka (despite the hype) is yet to score in the Premiership in 19 outings.
He of course is mostly playing left back but the point I’m making there’s zero evidence they are ready to carry the burden of having to get 20 plus goals.
In comparison, this point in development Wayne Rooney had 26 goals, Michael Owen had found the net 19 times.
Our young midfield needs to still prove they are good enough, they lack goals at the moment, so surely a Willian or Fraser can only help them?
For instance, 20-year-old Joe Willock is still to score in the League after 23 outings. Eight times less than a 20-year-old Gerrard, 10 less then same age Lampard and Joe Cole. Some will think I’m harsh using some of England’s most famous names for comparison but that’s the point. That’s the level they need to be as that’s the level we should be aspiring too.
If your saying it’s unfair to compare, then maybe your saying deep down you don’t think they are ready to be in that conversation? Or are you settling for what we’ve got? You can’t have it both ways, you can’t say Martinelli is ready to be our main forward, yet please don’t compare him to anyone who succeeded. We have to set the highest standard if we ever want to return to that level, we deserve that much.
Don’t get me wrong some of youngsters could go on to become great, but it’s way too early for any guarantees.
It’s also not fair. A Martinelli deserves the best chance possible to succeed. He should be able to keep his head down and just worry about himself. He will already be bombarded with new sponsorship deals, people whispering in his ear. That’s before he puts on the famous Brazil shirt. There are enough distractions without being called the next Aubameyang.
We have good youngsters but too early to say great. We are Arsenal, we should only settle for great.