Arsenal have always been very proud of the fact that we have an excellent academy and we nurture many talented youngsters in ‘The Arsenal Way’ so that the cream of the crop can rise to be integrated into the first team.
We often use the cases of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe, Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles to illustrate the point. Also Folarin Balogun was persuaded to re-sign last summer to try and make the grade under Arteta.
But today, we have Mikel Arteta’s ‘youth with experience’ policy, which has seen many youthful players join the club, but that have already gained wide experience with other clubs around the world. With Arteta making it clear that he wants a squad tht will play and mature together into become a successful force for the future.
This policy could now backfire, as we have now seen yesterday that one of our most promising prospects Omari Hutchinson has refused to sign a new contract with the Gunners, despite being named in the Arsenal squad ten times last season (without playing one minute). He would rather join our rivals Chelsea to progress his career, and part of the reasons for this, as given by the Arsenal Youth expert Jeorge Bird, is because Arsenal have just brought in the young Brazilian winger Marquinhos who is likely to be yet another obstacle to Hutchinson getting minutes in the First XI.
Bird points out that Hutchinson is also a full Jamaica international, but Arsenal also have the full Mexico international, Marcelo Flores, who also is hoping to get some introduction to the senior team. Has Marquinhos also blocked his development opportunities as well?
The problem with Arteta assembling a full squad of young players to stick together could mean that there is simply no room left to promote any of our academy players….
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Granit Xhaka talks about how important the preseason tour is for the Arsenal team
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