Arsenal need some success or risk losing our young talents

Are we actually building for the future? by dgr8xt

“We have the youngest team in the league”

“We have a lot of potential”

“We are building for the future”

Do these statements sound familiar?

What do they have in common?

Are there any merits to them?

Unless you’ve been living in Kuvuki Land, holidaying in Wakanda or travelled to Krypton for a few years now, you would certainly have known that these statements are associated with fans of The Arsenal football club. But how valid are these statements? Let’s have a look:

Hindsight is a good thing they say. Using that, I think it would be difficult to point out a team which followed the steps we’re laying out and achieved success:

  1. Gather young players with potentials
  2. Coach them to become better
  3. Keep them together for years to improve their team understanding
  4. They enter their primes at relatively the same period
  5. They win many trophies

The above steps are very achievable (if you’re a football manager enthusiast), but things do not exactly follow that pattern in real life. This is because steps number 1, 2, 4, and 5 are actually possible. The problem is step number 3.

Can a team keep their good, young players for years without basic necessities? I don’t think so. These days, young players need at least one of the following:

  1. Plenty of money
  2. Regular Champions League football
  3. Likelihood of winning trophies
  4. A world class coach

Arsenal can offer plenty of money but fall short of the others. That should be enough to keep our young core, right?


Other big clubs can offer money as well and even more than we can, but we cannot offer Champions League football, major trophies and we certainly do not have a world class coach (even though the one we have is doing what he can). How long before the Saka to Liverpool or Man City links actually become serious? How long till Juventus takes their eyes off our Magalhaes and Martinelli? How long til the Tierney to Real Madrid and Man City links begin to have any real substance?

How long before our young players begin to have their heads turned due to interest from bigger clubs who can offer regular Champions League football and win trophies while also paying them what we can and cannot afford? This is the problem. How long til we actually start achieving what these players want while their loyalty is still intact?

I’ve been trying to avoid saying it, but I can’t help but mention that this will never be possible while we celebrate fifth place as progress and overachievement. I’m surely not a supporter of Arteta, but that’s not why I’m writing this piece. We need experienced players to better ensure consistency as the constant signing of young players may likely come back to bite.

And what if we actually go through the five steps and succeed? What next? Back to step 1?

I will end this piece by saying that if we finish outside the top four next season;

  1. Saka will trend on the transfer mill, and he may actually want the transfer especially given that Salah is likely to run down his contract (and Liverpool seem not to have much problem with that as per reports)
  2. Martinelli will not want out, but will not refuse if Juventus come calling. Same with Magalhaes.
  3. Ødegaard may have gotten better and will have bigger champions league clubs calling, and given his potential, he might start feeling like a big fish in a small pond.
  4. Tierney, might also want out (to play Champions league football) especially if he receives offers. If our history is anything to go by, giving him the cursed armband will only facilitate his exit.

We need to start achieving else we can say goodbye to some of our young core. And where will that lead us? Back to another project? We’ve been down this lane before. The conclusion of this piece is left for you. I’m tired of typing…



Learn more about Arsenal’s proud history – Decade by Decade CLICK HERE to visit our new Arsenal History section

WATCH THE TRANSFER SHOW – Alfie and Rob ask “Who is Lisandro Martinez?”

Tags Arteta building future project


  1. Spot on @dgr8xt
    Good article.
    Your point in my view is that we become a feeder club unless we achieve basic goals like top 4 and then try to win a trophy like the Europa League.
    We can’t afford this unless we really have a conveyer belt of talented youngsters which no team has.

    1. We have to win big trophies or just Top 4 will never be enough.. We kept losing our best players even of we were always in the Top 4.
      Arteta has to get into the Top 4 and start challenging for the title and CL or our players will keep wanting to move away.

  2. They would only stay if:

    – We win EL

    – Or we finish in the fourth place

    – Or their salaries are massively improved

    I’m afraid we’d lose Saka this summer, if we sign Raphinha

      1. I bet he’s waiting to see whether Raphinha comes or not, before extending his contract

        1. a bit late to the party on that one…wouldn’t be surprised, depending on those incoming, if two of three of the following are likewise sold over the next 12-18 months, ESR, Marts, Saliba, Gabs and/or Tierney

          1. Yeah, I would also understand if some of those players are sold this summer or the next one

            Although I think Martinelli will be offered a new deal, since he has been showing his great dribbling skills and he is still very young

  3. The contradictions stand in line here, and the claim, we have been down this road before is not true. At least in modern times, where there are clubs to compete against with near unlimited ressources form the Arabian sand and the Russian oligarchy.
    We are assembling a young and talented team.
    As we can’t compete financially with clubs like City , Chelsea and now possible also Newcastle, we can never buy the absolute most expensive players on the market. Nor can we attract them to the level, we are at since our decline started many years ago.
    A young talented team is a good plan.
    Yes, we will probably have to sell some along the way. But at least we now have a selection of players, who can grow in value, and become assets to sell in order to buy others. Our decline can be turned into a way back to compete.

    1. Sadly, I feel that a players career, legacy and paycheque will (overtime) always Trump his loyalty to the club especially if the truly elite clubs come calling (we are no longer in that distinguished group)

      It’s also unfair to expect a player to pity/ feel sympathy towards a club that may have taken really good care of them but is realistically going nowhere (and the players career is stagnating in the meanwhile)

  4. Every team face the same challenges. Arsenal is not special. Our issues are the same as experienced by Bournemouth, Palace and Leicester. Arsenal is promoting and retaining youngsters at the same rate as every one else. There is no issue and if we lose them they will fetch big coin so its a win win.. The smple fact is that every season players come, players stay players leave. It’s the same for every club. The last 12 months have actually been an oustanding success with the club surpassing last summers expectations by a long way. We have a plan which is working very well. Most of the over paid under performers have finally been moved on and a new fresh value packed squad is evolving. With Thursday night football back every one will get a lot more game time and the squad will continue to improve. Top 6 and 1/4 final EL is the goal and with much hard work is possible to achieve.

    1. No chance the target should be EL 1/4 final the goal should be to win it this season and gain CL through this

    2. Not sure if it’s wise to generalize “…players come, players stay, players leave. It’s the same for every club” because it’s really not the same for every club. Take for example those clubs packed with world class players, are matured, consistent, stable in their performances/results…they aren’t struggling anywhere near as much as we are in recruitment and staff attrition.

      Moreover, any outgoings and incoming have a very significant impact on out near term prospects whereas with the aforementioned clubs it’s more like a slight tweak here and there

    1. Again, you pick one article out of 20 a day and call us negative!
      We share all Arsenal fans opinions, even if you don’t agree with them.
      I don’t see you write “Another positive article again” on ones you agree with….

  5. Brilliant article but people would still find fault in it.
    All opinion is respected but if you can’t see the point in this article, then you are likely choosing not to see it simply because it’s clear for everyone to see.

    Yeah every team face the same fate and challenges but none of those teams go ahead to claim we are the youngest team in the league and held on to it, or expected to be applaud for feeding youngest in the league.
    A rich club like Arsenal chose that part, when teams with low budget wouldn’t.
    It’s our choice and we were not forced to.

    1. All things being equal, does a team with an average age of 24 have more potential, than a team with an average age of 28?

      1. Most people if not everyone got potential, but it doesn’t guarantee success.
        We were on 9years drought, more than half of those teams had potential but they won nothing.
        Every decision is a risk here.
        Getting potential players or well established well players are all risk. But the later have high percentage to deliver success than the formal.
        Like I said, even the low budget team are not taking that risk, so why a big team like Arsenal who could afford established players.
        We were only able to end the drought with the additions of Ozil and Sanchez who were world class at the moment of purchased.
        Our last trophy was won for us by Auba when he was being considered world class then with the performance he had on him.

        Like the article said, having a youth project is good, but it is likely not to guarantee any success. Neither do we know for sure if any of the current outstanding players will be here in 3 years time.

        1. So you couldn’transwer the simple yes or no?
          Did the aqusition of ôzil and Sanchez turn us into title contenders? Not even close.
          Nothing guarantees success. Did Lukaku give Chelsea success?? Worst buy ever.
          The fact is, it is much more expensive to try and buy established stars, and it is a competion, we can’t win, anyway.

          1. What’s the question again? Who got the better potential? Really??
            Ok tell me what the potential team has achieved and compare it to the average 28 years you mentioned. Bring me anywhere where an average 24 years achieved more than 28years this completed season. Real Madrid, City, PSG, Bayern, and Ac Milan won there league respectfully, non of them was the youngest team in their league.
            So it is obvious here that a potential average 24 years, are not match or better than established average 28years.

            Ozil and Sanchez were only the world class at their time, and you can’t expect 2 world class player only to win one of the most competitive league in the world.

            Regarding lukaku, he still won them a title regardless of how flop he might have turned out for them. Especially when they were known to have a traditional 9 curse in their history.
            Let me remind you , they got a 34 years old Thiago and boom , they became world champion.
            Not only that, they became champion in 2012 with one of the oldest team in champion league era to win it.

            Potential doesn’t equal to success.

            1. You fail to understand the point.
              Arsenal are building a team for the future. All things being equal (don’t miss this premise), there is more future in a young team, than an old one.
              We haven’t been able to challenge for the title in what, 12-15 years? We won’t be able to challenge by buying 2-3 established stars. That has been evident for years.
              Now we are on a different plan, whether you like it or not.

              1. So we haven’t been able to challenge in 12 to 15 years, but according to you, we will be able to do that in 2/3 years as mentioned in one of your comment.
                Well same way out current manager predicted us winning the UCL in 3 years since the project started, only for not to be participating in UCL competition in 3rd year.

                Well that’s your believe and I respect that, but you should know it’s far from reality.
                In fact we could finish 2nd in between 3 years and we won’t still be considered challenging for EPL trophy.
                We have seen it when we did finished as a runner up to leceister.
                We can’t challenge for top3 in a season where we couldn’t get into European competition, but I am made to believe we will challenge for EPL in 3 years when we have multiple competitions to participate in comes 3 years.
                Let me remind you, the last 2 teams to win the league apart from Liverpool and City, are chealse and leceister who had no European competition like us last season.
                Last season was our chance to at least challenge but many of the fans sees finishing 5 as progress already

                It’s good you have the believe of challenging for EPL in 2 to 3 years time which I don’t.
                But remember no matter how we are improving so are the other teams as well.
                So none will fold their arms and watch a single team improve while the others do nothing to improve their own squad.
                And again according to you , the average is 24 , so by 3 years time, which is the time they will be challenging, they would be 27years. Which you just confirm my statement that they would have be established players at that age by the time they are about to challenge.
                So getting established players now and waiting for the potential players to be established who’s the one that is likely to deliver? Both have risk like I said it all just depends on the one you are willing to take.
                If you have to wait for them to be 27years which there are no guarantee they will be as good, or even be at the club for them to be able to challenge, while not go get them at 27 years and which is more easier to win with.
                I guess we will save more money if we go for 23 years which is very obvious, but success is far from guaranteed.

              2. Honestly, how long are we as fans expected to look to the future?? 5 years? 10? Why not 50 years? Is it wrong for me as a fan to want and expect a squad to be assembled now, in the short term that can compete at the highest level? (Something that is entirely possible when judging by the spending over the past few seasons)

      2. Arsenal have an average of 24 and there are five other teams are on average of 25 not much difference if we are to be honest.

        So by this logic by the time this squad wins the Premier league the top 6 are going to be (in youngest squad order) Arsenal, Brentford, Norwich, Leeds, Southampton and Aston villa.

        That is one.

        Two, I don’t consider 24 a young age at all now if it had been 18 or 19 at most…

        1. Maybe you don’t, bo never mind.
          We are on a strategy to build a young team, which can grow together, whether a segment of the fanbase like it or not.
          I support the idea for several reasons:
          It seems like the best plan to be able to compete in the future, and I don’t really see anyone putting a good alternative on the table.
          It makes financial sense, and the business side of things is very important, if you want to compete.

          1. Building a young team for the future only works if you can keep the young team together. If our young team performs then the big boys will come knocking for them and the chance at the big trophies will see us sell them and restart this all again

              1. When we get to the champions league we won’t need to worry about selling them.

                Top 4 or winning EL to gain CL should be our target next season

  6. The club using the young excuse but forgetting how much theses players are actually costing i would understand if they were costing 5m-10m each but that’s not the case ,Artetas on 300 million spent in the last 2 1/2 years and probably rising to 400 million before the end of the window.
    Unfortunately he cannot manager players that have a bigger ego than himself.

    1. Believe in a viable youth project providing players are given opportunities, handled carefully and given appropriate mentoring by senior players who have been there, done that. Not sure if that has been happening at Arsenal. A lot of the arguments above by the likes of AndersS and co. assume that other teams will simply stand still while our lads grow up.

  7. You are right. Fans are beginning to see through ‘The Process’, and better players will soon see through it too and may decide to leave. The problem is that ‘The Process’ is a clever way of buying time, but it can be that it’s used as a long term get out clause. For me the process is ‘over’. With the signings we make during this summer we are in the ‘challengers’ part of the process. We must CHALLENGE, no excuses…..we must be there or thereabouts.
    In the last January window Conte out thought us by far and bought two good players, whilst we stood still, and he fecked us for the Champions League place. Sadly Conte fecked us again and signed Yves Bissouma, a real top player. There are NO excuses left. Buy big this window and challenge….otherwise Edu/Arteta/Kroenke….get out of our club.

  8. Ultimately what has been done under Arteta had had to be excused all the time. Until he actually achieves something, we are failing under him. He failed miserably this last season to get 4th and people should have seen the signs there that his ideals dont work.

    1. Reggie

      So right. OCD ideals don’t work in football. Pedantic OCD type management does not work, Arteta we need inspiration, creativity and freedom from histrionic touchline micro-management. Energetic pragmatism works. Give some room for creativity and player flair.

  9. yeah that’s correct, we better step up and do better so that we won’t lose our young talent to other clubs.

    we will do better that’s what I think, the progress is there and lets stand with the manager and the team. The future is bright and every gunner’s support is crucial for this team to win trophies. Its good to criticise but let’s not dwell in the past, lets support the progress being put in place and stand with the team.

  10. I think Arteta has failed on number 2. He failed to coach the players he inherited and he has failed to coach the players he bought. Which player has gotten better under him? Few have stayed the same but most have digressed.

    Bought nearly half the squad, failed them and now he is asking for more abs he is getting them.

  11. In order for any young, talented group to achieve their success and play in the champions league and win domestic and European footballing honours. Don’t they have to stick around in the first place and hone their individual and collective talents to eventually become a force to be reckoned? Haven’t they got to put in the time, effort and training to achieve this?

    Is their thinking that because they are already professional football players that they should immediately be afforded success and wealth without working for it?

    It’s true, Saka can do the off in the summer to somewhere like Liverpool with the hope (not always a guarantee) of playing regular Champions League football. However he would only being achieving that on their coat tails, not on his own merits !

    Our invincible and double winning teams achieved what they did on their own merits. Played together and honed their collective skills, put in the time and effort, got bloodied and bruised, took the knocks from all quarters of the footballing media and punditry world and came out winners. They didn’t expect instant success without working to make it happen. They stuck it out with each other to see where the chips would fall and were rewarded. Any one of them could’ve jumped ship and gone to bigger clubs that were already in a position to accommodate them. But they didn’t, they stuck around, had the conviction and pride enough to do it for themselves.

    Some of today’s players, including the younger batch don’t want that. Having a professional contract is already enough to show that they’re worthy of success and glory and in some cases just happy to substitute those for cold hard cash. That no more effort is needed beyond that.

    Football is pretty much a mercenary industry so it’s no wonder why the attitudes of players are what they are now. Where’s the pride and conviction of previous era’s

  12. in order to make any headway with a youth-oriented team you simply must employ a hybrid recruitment model…it’s imperative that you properly utilize those monies that you’ve saved, whilst your budding stars are on comparatively low wages, to bring in top-notch readymade players…if you procrastinate too much or try to cheat the process with tier 2 recruits, you will struggle to meet expectations…if this occurs you several problematic things will likely occur:

    (1) you will have more veteran players on longer terms and higher wages who will be difficult to move

    (2) your younger players will seek greener pastures or demand exceptionally high wages and potentially counter-intuitive assurances

    (3) you will continue to spin your wheels in this no man’s land nightmare of almost achieving things yet never really doing so

    Do any of these sound familiar???

  13. Strange that this article warrants almost the same response as I just posted in the article on Edu on policy.

    Basically, you don’t have to care if a home-grown talent wants out and you get good money for him. As long as you can replace him efficiently.

    That’s the bit Arsenal have to start getting right after the clear-out is complete.

    I’m not suggesting this club becomes a so-called feeder club, but it’s no good being another Barcelona and ending up £1.5bn in debt while pointing at your trophy cabinet from a few years ago.

  14. I think we are forgetting if we have to sell these players then in this day and age’s market we will get over the odds esp in the young English talent who then can be replaced. If Grealish is £100m what’s Bakayo worth, Martinell a young Brazilian superstar in the making, Øde has already doubled his worth and we have Smithrowe who has done the same as Saka and made himself valuable.

    With the same players we all mention how did we do? They had the opportunity and blew it, Mikel Incl as is Edu for the Jan window blank.

    Everyone keeps mentioned mikels 3 Yr plan, he said that when we had Auba, Ozil etc, bringing in Willian and all. The new plan started last summer, we have this season to see if this works, if not then Mikel needs to go elsewhere It’s pretty simple.

    He has had the money, the backing of the fans/players/owner & now his methods need to backup what comes out his mouth for success.

    If we don’t make champions league next season can you blame then for looking elsewhere as I wouldn’t, as much as it wouldn’t piss me off they have a short career and want to play at the very top. It’s down to Arsenal to keep him happy and money isn’t always the answer aka wages, bonus’.

    Trophies is every players desire and to play at the Pinnacle. Champions League, The Euros, World Cup, Winning domestic leagues and cups that made you fall in love with the game in the 1st place.

    Football is all money now, it used to be a passion and leaving a legacy at the club you love. It’s not like that anymore, a different generation.

    I was so angry & still kind of am about missing Top4 as we had it but have no choice but to reset and go with whatever the club is giving us for the season ahead. Positive vines I hope going into the season as we still need a few signings

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs