Are Arsenal’s youngsters success due to our new loan policies?

Credit must go to Arsenal’s new loan-system

In a dismal season, there was one thing Arsenal fans held tightly onto: the youngsters.

At the Emirates Stadium, rather than the more experienced players leading by example, it was the young players who kept the Arsenal fans’ candles burning bright at night.

Naming three players in Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe for the club’s annual Player of the Season award, who are all 23 or under, was a testament that this season will only be remembered for the on-pitch development of Arsenal’s youth.

While Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka have already been applauded countless times that it has become the new normal, the emergence of Emile Smith-Rowe is what surprised people the most.

Although many were awestruck, some predicted that Smith Rowe’s genesis in first team of Arsenal in arguably the best league in the world was just a matter of time. They were the people from the Englishman’s former club Huddersfield Town.

The 20-year-old spent six months on loan at the John Smith’s Stadium last season. But acquiring his services was not straightforward.

The North London outfit’s loan manager Ben Knapper identified few clubs which suited Smith Rowe’s playing style. The club then wanted assurances from Huddersfield about the time being given to their academy product, due to his past injury records.

The 20-year-old’s manager at Huddersfield, Danny Cowley, explained Portsmouth News how they acquired the youngsters’ signature after a disappointing spell at German side Leipzig.

“Emile had a really disappointing time at Leipzig, who paid about £2million for the loan and then he got injured in the first couple of weeks. He was young and in Germany on his own.

“The way Leipzig play is a very high-pressing game, extremely different to how Arsenal play. As a consequence, they broke him quite early.”

“That meant we worked really hard with Arsenal to look after him. We put in a huge amount of work to make that transition as smooth as possible – which meant we had him available to us for virtually the whole season.

He continued, “At that time, though, Emile wasn’t able to physically play 90 minutes on the Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday, so we agreed with Arsenal that we’d manage his minutes. I would have to take him off at 60 minutes and the crowd would murder me!”

The comments of Cowley proves that Arsenal have a new system for the players going out on loan. That has certainly benefitted Smith-Rowe and more recently Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland Niles and under 23s player Mark McGuinness.

Their development is apparent, which has resulted in their market value soaring. Arsenal now looks like a club of ideas as they try to transform the workings at boardroom level.

It is safe to say that Serge Gnabry, Ismael Bennacer, Donyell Malen and Jeff Reine-Adelaide could have been Arsenal stars, if they were loaned out to clubs who matched their playing style.

Regret among the backroom staff is obvious. And now it looks like they are working to avoid similar situations. Next season, they have players in the form of Folarin Balogun, Miguel Azeez, Ben Cotrell and the 17-year-old Kido Taylor-Hart who can develop massively from a loan.

The club’s cause will be tested again. But many inside the club will be confident of finding the best clubs suited to their players’ playing style.

So that they can have a successful career at Arsenal, rather than somewhere else.

Yash Bisht

Tags Smith-Rowe Willock

37 Comments

  1. gotanidea says:

    In addition to that, the talent spotters and the academy coaches did a great job. I wish we still have Bennacer, because he could’ve competed with Xhaka

    1. jon fox says:

      IMO even a tortoise could easily compete with Xhaka. At least for speed of both thought and action.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Xhaka’s reaction might be slow and he isn’t a dribbler, but he has other qualities. Such as his positioning, forward passing, long passing and aerial abilities

        1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

          absolutely ridiculous take…when you spend most of your time within a 10 foot radius, you better be positioned properly…96% of his passes are neither forward nor lengthy in nature; this is what we had hoped from him when he first arrived, but these qualities were rarely on display, which includes his supposed set piece mastery that usually made an appearance once a season…finally, not even sure how to analyze your last ascribed quality, aerial ability, but I can’t wait for you to describe some detailed examples where Xhaka’s aerial prowess helped our cause…maybe there’s a couple particular cases where he won an aerial duel while man-marking in our box after giving up a dangerous set piece due to a reckless tackle in close or after grabbing a jersey when someone was racing past him

          1. gotanidea says:

            Xhaka vs Rodri, Man City’s 62.6 millions DM who became the most productive/ best passer in EPL 2020/21. You can see these stats on premierleague.com:

            ………………………………………….. Xhaka (X) vs Rodri (R):
            Appearances ………….. : (X) 31 vs (R) 34
            Goals ………………………….. : (X) 1 vs (R) 2
            Freekicks scored …… : (X) 1 vs (R) 0
            Assists ………………………… : (X) 2 vs (R) 2
            Passes ………………………… : (X) 2189 vs (R) 2785
            Big chances created: (X) 2 vs (R) 1
            Crosses ………………………. : (X) 12 vs (R) 14
            Cross accuracy ……….. : (X) 25% vs (R) 14%
            Through balls ………….. : (X) 3 vs (R) 2
            Accurate long balls .. : (X) 130 vs (R) 155
            Fouls ……………………………. : (X) 39 vs (R) 44
            Tackles ……………………….. : (X) 50 vs (R) 72
            Tackle success ………… : (X) 52% vs (R) 56%
            Blocked shots …………. : (X) 8 vs (R) 9
            Interceptions …………… : (X) 24 vs (R) 36

          2. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

            you can provide all the stats in the world, but as long as I have eyes your claims are ridiculous…this is the perfect example of why we shouldn’t rely too heavily on analytics when it comes to recruitment and/or asset management…why don’t you tell me what City would say if we offered to swap players using the very same numerical argument you so eagerly provided…what do you think the City fans, who aren’t legally blind, would say if rumours swirled regarding this possibility? plain and simple, ridiculous take and even more astounding that you would go the extra mile and try to defend such a nonsensical position

          3. gotanidea says:

            @The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever : Liverpool recruited Robertson from Hull, Wijnaldum from Newcastle, Keita from Leipzig and Mane from Soton using an advanced statistical scouting system, that was created by a guy who worked on Hadron particle collider

            Arsenal have also acquired StatDNA to fix their horrible scouting department and we’ve seen it’s effect on the recruitments of our academy hot prospects

            Xhaka has weaknesses, but we’ll miss his strengths if he leaves. Having said that, his confidence must be at the lowest point after playing for three managers at Arsenal, so I believe he’ll be offered to other clubs

          4. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

            so you cherry-picked 4 of the best known examples of those “discovered” through the usage of advanced analytics, then present them as some sort of demented “I told you so” moment…btw no one needed analytics to know that Mane had something to offer, as I knew it the very first time I saw him on the pitch, which was long before he was at Pool…even so, there are far more examples of those who failed to live up to their analytical evaluations, ironically like Keita, so it’s functionally a moot point

            like I said before, my eyes don’t lie and they tell me that not only was Xhaka’s more recent statistical uptick a direct byproduct of the negative tactics employed by Arteta, which saw Xhaka playing a “pivotal” role in our offensive devolution, he was incredibly underwhelming under our two previous managers, yet continued to play on a regular basis, even though the results didn’t justify his continued presence…so you connect the dots…to me, it amounts to poor recruitment practices and a team unwilling to both admit to their financial misstep and properly invest in a far more suitable positional replacement

            in many ways, it’s not too dissimilar to when Wenger purchased Arteta, albeit he wanted Jagielka, then had him play in a deep-lying position, even though he was far more effective farther up the pitch while at Everton and no longer had the physical attributes required to defend…like Xhaka he was too slow to handle the defensive requirements of the position, which led to a lot of missed tackles and set pieces given in our final third…to compensate for this square peg/round hole scenario, in both cases, it led to a dumbing down of tactics in order to try and hide their obvious deficiencies

          5. John Ibrahim says:

            exactly

            Xhaka is similar to Pirlo and petit

            they are passing specialist

          6. PIRES says:

            The-real-Vieira -LYNE
            So why managers like Wenger Hitzveld Mourinho Emery all apprecites him,!!?And these managers are absolute monsters in european football…..

          7. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

            if you can’t understand why Wenger, Emery and now Jose might prefer this player, you clearly don’t understand their individual footballing philosophies or the mitigating circumstances surrounding their particular decisions in this regards…of course, it’s a nuanced discussion that based on your response you couldn’t properly engage in without considerable due diligence on your part…once you’ve done so, let me know and I’ll gladly discuss this matter further

        2. RW1 says:

          Forward passing positioning aerial abilities … which episodes of the twilight zone have you been watching ??!!!!

      2. Apangu iddi amin says:

        Calling him tortoise will bring his price down and remember we want to sell him so we need to use good language that can market our players even if they are doing bad.

        1. sanmi.marvellous says:

          ….lol

          So, calling Mbappe a snail would make his price tag drop. Right ?

        2. jon fox says:

          Apanga, So you seriously believe that any suitors will firstread my post and be put off buying Xhaka by what I have said? You flatter me young man and I only wish I had such power to infuence others. BUT I DO NOT! REALITY!

      3. Alanball08 says:

        Shame on you Mr fox for trying to pit the tortoise against xhaka
        If I could speak on behalf of all tortoises 🐢
        Xhaka is not even in the same class as us
        We would run rings around him all day long

        1. jon fox says:

          HUMBLE AND OVERDUE APOLOGIES TO ALL TORTOISES EVERYWHERE! . I hope they will forgive me for this demeaning comparison

  2. Yossarian says:

    Good to hear. I can’t help but believe that the lessons learned this season, and in some seasons gone by, will make Arsenal better in the future. Of course that requires continuity and sticking with the same management team for another season. When you learn lessons the hard way you learn them well, and I think Arteta has the brains to grow from the experience this season and really push-on going forward.

    1. Yash Bisht says:

      Agreed!

  3. Junior says:

    I can just smile the whole day as an Arsenal fan after this brillimnt & fantastic news. Well done & keep going, Arsenal.

  4. jon fox says:

    I do feel that there is growing evidence that those now in charge of day to day running are finally learning lessons – as in just beginning to – from the many and regular mistakes of the past, which go way back into the Wenger last decade and not just three or four years.

    Since around 2011 this club has been a shambolic joke with the blind leading the blind and the one who owns the Blind Institution , ie Kroenke, not even knowing or caring. At long, long last there is now SOME tangible evidence that a firm and new direction is being created.

    As for the institution owner , he neither knows nor cares about anything on EARTH unless it creates him money PERSONALLY. He is, frankly, a sick excuse for a human being, or in fanspeak, THE SCUM OF THE EARTH!

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      No Jon!

      Wenger had a glorious reign from start to finish, and left the club in an unbelievably fantastic position!

      Emery, and Arteta are awful managers that are solely responsible for our regression. A regression that ONLY started once Wenger left. Clearly the grass isn’t greener, and we should get Wenger back asap to fix all our problems.

      1. NY_Gunner says:

        @jon fox&3mjw
        Seems like AW is still living rent free in your heads. You both must like the company, cuz you still ain’t evicted him 😂😂😂😂…

        1. jon fox says:

          NJ_GUNNER. HILARIOUS HOW TOTALLY WRONG YOU CAN BE!

          Had you read any of the mountain of critical posts about how WENGER MESSED UP, BIG TIME, OVER HIS LAST FULL DECADE, posted by both myself amd TMJW(whose post was correctly being sarcastic), then the laughing emojis you posted are clearly laughing at YOU alone!

          Boy, how totally wrong can any person be! You have won the prize for the most mistaken post on JA since God alone knows when !

          DO KEEP UP IN FUTURE!

          1. ThirdManJW says:

            Well said Jon! Its so funny seeing the complete denial from some of our fans. The lack of knowledge of their own club is truly astonishing!

            (ADMIN COMMENT – This petty sniping of fellow Arsenal fans is starting to annoy me. First rule of JUSTARSENAL is; No swearing and no personal abuse directed at other readers. Stick with the program or get deleted!)

          2. Dan kit says:

            🥴

  5. Logic says:

    Not really, how can anyone of you make this statement that our youngsters success is down to your loan policy now when we are doing what we used to do same thing before. We sent players on loan because they were considered surplus to requirement by Arteta. If the loan worked out you guys are giving credit to Arteta and back room staff for taking right decision if it did not work out you guys would still congratulate them on the bullet we dodged. So it’s always win win situation to prove you guys are supporting the right management. If it Works out then master stroke if it does not then I told you so argument and management knows more then fans look how these players are struggling in other teams as well. Some fans here have just a agenda against Wenger, they forget ok we lost some players out of which only Gnabry is the only one proven that we made a wrong decision while rest have not really lit up the footballing world. So out of 100 if we were correct on 95% and wrong on 5% then I don’t see this something for which old regime should get a stick. Also ppl forget all the talent we did scoupe up by same regime. Hell some of the youngsters we are seeking today are actual the ones put into club system in Wenger era.

  6. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    I think true is Gnabry forced a move-away from Arsenal to a German club side. Arsene Wenger’s managed Arsenel didn’t want him to leave the club. But with only a year left to run on his deal at the club. Wenger had no choice but thought it wise to sell him to stop him go on the free.

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      Wenger did have a choice. He could have decided, just for once, to not let a player run their contract down, but as we know under himself and IG, their policy was to leave things to the very last minute so that we had no bargaining power at all.

  7. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    Amid the rise of the 4 Arsenal youngsters of: ESR, Saka, Martinelli and Tierney in high performance in the team last season. I hope to see Arteta gives Willock the same opportunity to rise that he gave the above former trio. So that he too will join the rising Arsenal quartet to become five rising starts at the club in next season’s campaign.

    But nevertheless, the big experience players of the team’s whole defence, but with maybe an upgrade new signing done at right back to it if an offload takes place there. And in the midfiel and striker’s department with an upgrade in new incomings and outgoings done to the 2 sections are going to be the backbone of the team next season.

    For me, the 7 specialist defenders of: Chambers. Holding, Saliba, Mari, Maglhaes Tierney and AMN should remain in the team to start the summer campaign next season. With AMN forced to LB for option and to cover.

    In the midfield, expect to see Partey, ESR, Willock be in the midfield of the team next. But with 2 new signings one of whom should be Guendai linking up to them for next season’s onslaught.

    In the wings and striking. I am expecting the indispensable Lacazette for his hold up play to bring in others quality, Auba, Pepe, Saka, ESR, Martinelli to be in team for next season’s campaign. But a top quality new striker signing of 30 goals plus return per season at the top level is a MUST do by Arsenal this summer for adequate option and to cover. This is where I think the bigger investment will come for Arsenal to invest this season.

    I think Arsenal might need to invest up to £100m this summer window on one defensive, 2 midfielders and a Striker reinforcements. But could recoup a large sum of the spent through sales and loans out offloading.

  8. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    Amid the rise of the 4 Arsenal youngsters of: ESR, Saka, Martinelli and Tierney in high performance in the team last season. I hope to see Arteta gives Willock the same opportunity to rise that he gave the above former trio. So that he too will join the rising Arsenal quartet to become five rising stars at the club in next season’s campaign.

    But nevertheless, the big experience players of the team’s whole defence, but with maybe an upgrade new signing done at right back to it if an offload takes place there. And in the midfiel and striker’s department with an upgrade in new incomings and outgoings done to the 2 sections is going to be the backbone of the team next season.

    For me, the 7 specialist defenders of: Chambers. Holding, Saliba, Mari, Maglhaes Tierney and AMN should remain in the team to start the summer campaign next season. With AMN forced to LB for option and to cover.

    In the midfield, I expect to see Partey, ESR, Willock be in the midfield of the team next season. But with 2 new signings one of whom should be Guendai linking up to them for next season’s onslaught.

    In the wings and striking. I am expecting the indispensable Lacazette for his hold up play to bring in others unique quality, Auba, Pepe, Saka, ESR, Martinelli to be in the team for next season’s campaign. But a top quality new striker signing of 30 goals plus return per season at the top level is a MUST do by Arsenal this summer for adequate option and to cover. This is where I think the bigger investment will come for Arsenal to invest this summer.

    I think Arsenal might need to invest up to £100m this summer window on one defender, 2 midfielders and a Striker reinforcements. But could recoup a large sum of the spent through sales and loans out offloading.

  9. Goonster says:

    It’s been poor 90% of the time. We will get a good young player come through here and there but overall poor.

  10. RFrancis says:

    I’m more inclined to credit other Clubs’ loan system rather than our own.

    When Willock was asked why he settled so well at Newcastle, he stated in no uncertain terms, that his first ever player development plan was in fact prepared by Steve Bruce and presented to him the first day he arrived at the club.

    I wonder if Arteta likewise has similar player development plans for all our prospects…Reiss Nelson, Balogun and the others listed above.

    1. Admin Pat says:

      If you read the article it clearly says Cowley was following Arsenal’s instructions!

      1. RFrancis says:

        If you read my comment it would be clear my point was directed specifically at player development plans.

        1. ozziegunner says:

          👍

  11. ozziegunner says:

    Joe Willock’s loan spell was a real success and hopefully Mikel Arteta can build on that success and utilise Willock in similar way to Steve Bruce at Newcastle United.
    Emile Smith Rowe took on the midfield role at Huddersfield previously taken by Aaron Mooy, an under rated footballer. ESR suited the way Huddersfield played, which is critical for a loan spell.
    By the way Mooy scored a cracker of a goal for Australia in a recent World Cup qualifier away to Kuwait. “Shorty goal keeper” Mat Ryan kept a clean sheet in the 3-0 win and pulled off two excellent saves.
    Another player not mentioned by Yash, who had a very successful loan spell was Daniel Ballard 21 yo 1.87m Northern Ireland international CB to Blackpool, who he helped to promotion to the Championship.
    Efficient utilization of these players and potential integration into the first team, may save Arsenal considerable transfer funds in the future.

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