Arsenal’s great future is in safe hands!

The future of Arsenal by TJ

It appears that Shad Forsythe has begun to work his magic with the reduction in “player days lost to injuries” and getting players back ahead of schedule. But that’s not the only significant change happening in the background.

When Liam Brady retired, Wenger brought in Andries Jonker to head the academy, but more than that just replace Liam – the challenge was to bring the academy to a world class standard. Wenger had previously tried to get Jonker after Euro 2012 but he instead took a role as Felix Magath’s assistant at Wolfsburg.

It is now Jonker’s job to realign Arsenal’s youth teams with the best teams on the continent. The target is to develop players who will one day take the place of the likes of Mesut Ozil or Alexis Sanchez.

Just prior to Jonker’s appointment, Wenger’s developmental philosophy was reaffirmed at the Oct, 2013 AGM “The future of Arsenal will rely on the quality of the work we do inside, to scout and develop players. We are respected all over the world for values; we are not artificial”

So much so, David Beckham’s kids attend the Hale End academy (not the Manchester academy), Frank Lampard Snr’s grandson attends the Hale End academy (and not the Chelsea academy).

Suddenly there is a determination about the place to produce some special players, technically and physically proficient enough to bring them through the system with some modern coaching methods. Jonker has already called for an overhaul of the scouting network, advising his scouts (and Steve Morrow – chief scout for the academy) on what kind of players to look for.

That is the ambition around the place, with a new voice dedicating to bringing through the next generation of players who can fit in to the Arsenal way. When the young players arrive for the start of their three-hour long training session, they are taken aside and told what will be expected of them that evening. Game intelligence is key.

In the past, the academies looked for the biggest boys – but now, at least for Arsenal, it’s about the biggest brains, cultivating them with first class coaching and encouraging to pick up the habits that can lead to a career in the game. The sport has changed, with tactics, systems and emotional intelligence playing an increasing part in the modern game.

Arsenal, under the guidance of Jonker and his Dutch assistants Frans de Kat and Jan van Loon, are adapting to these demands. The kids try to mimmick the dribbles, turns, twists, flicks of the great players but the challenge is not teaching them these skills but when to use them – when to make the pass or when take on a player. Game-intelligence is precisely this and this is what academy wants to have firmly ingrained in the youth.

Ivan Gazidis wants Arsenal to be the best academy in the world and he is realistic that it will cost money and take time, but that is the ambition. The time will pass Wenger’s tenure and the club has made it clear that it intends to promote home-grown talent well past Wenger’s retirement. Any manager coming in after Wenger will have a similar approach to home-grown talent.

This is a club with a vision and ambition which all supporters can be very proud of and there is a very exciting future ahead.

Tags Beckham jonkers Lampard Wenger


  1. That’s good for our future to nurture our own talent.
    Hopefully Hayden, Zelalem, Crowley etc will become top players one day

    1. Zelalem — next Ozil
      Crowley — next Ramsey
      Iwobi — looks better already
      Hayden — future wall
      Gnabry — next walcott with some more skills :p

      1. What’s with the mentality of creating/producing the next Vieira, Bergkamp, Petit, Lehmann etc why not produce the next best AMF, GK, CB, CF etc someone way better than Vieira, Xavi, Buffon, Nesta, Ibrahimovich etc ?

    2. Nice article. Reminds me of a story about Wenger back in 1996 when he turned up at the training ground and was visibly shocked by what he saw. In 1997 he bought a young player called Anelka for £300K from PSG and 2 years later sold him to Real Madrid for £23M. With the money the training facilities were re-built and he spent the change on a Juve player called Thierry Henry.

      Love him or hate him – that is classy.

      1. Ill go a step further as i reckon we have Arsenes eventual replacement in Andres Jonker. Reading the article and your comment i was also immediately reminded of Arsene Wenger, he looks to have been given some of Arsenes responsibilities of finding young future Arsenal players.

        1. Good shout, worked for Dutch national set-up, Barcelona and Bayern – have to go some to improve your footballing DNA/experience.

  2. its a nice approach but its hard getting a coach with similar ambitions and philosophy to that of Wenger…many coaches relay on buying ready mades Rather than getting patient with what they have…barca is termed to have a world class accadamy but they are never patient with them any more…they sell them and latter try getting them back..i.e fab n most previously Bellerin

    1. One name comes to mind,……..KLOPP…he is more like wenger in that respect. And he is on sabbatical right now. Who knows??

      1. I would have thought the AOBs would want someone very different to Wenger, not someone in his image like Klopp. One of the wandering hired guns who can give a good 2 or 3 years and move on when the fans get restless/bored or the board gets fidgety; Ancelotti, Hiddink, Van Gaal or Mourinho would be more to their taste surely.

  3. Nice thoughts but….
    From the 7 year olds up
    only 1 in a thousand will
    make the senior team.

  4. These type of articles are what brings this page back from Metro/dailystar crap to class, sophistication and style. Admin, would love to have more of these insightful articles on this page on a regular basis. I can get the transfer BS all over the internet, i dont get these info easily 🙂

    1. Invincibles49 is right, we can even feed them more rumors if they want it, but we need more Analysis and even tauts, but not rumors.

  5. Will they teach the kids they can use both feet? Would like to see more technically capable English players come out of this and other such adacamies.

    We have been producing inferior players to European club academies (Holland/France/Italy/Spain/Germany) and South America (Brazil/Argentinian) at a grass roots level and consequently at an international level for far too long. This is good news, but playing catchup.

  6. Admin: I wish you would stop spinning the titles offered up by posters on here. TJ simply called his piece the “The Future of Arsenal”. I know you want people to click on the article but the “safe hands” and the exclamation mark are so obviously designed to wind-up the usual suspects. But I guess that is what you want/need so fair play.

  7. OT: Zlatan is coming!


    1. Zlatan is quality; and because he uses athleticism with massive technical ability as opposed to change of pace and acceleration I can see him holding his own at the top until he is around 36.

      1. He is truly WC.
        A maverick and strong character and perhaps too much of a name/handful for Webger to handle or go for but I for one would like to see him in a AFC shirt.

        In fact I have seen him in one when he was younger . This was before he realised he would have to try out with us to get a place. He thought that a little beneath him!;)

  8. I like our youth, but i dont think any of them has the leadership qualities of Tony Adams, Puyol, Terry and etc. Im wondering if our youth system also look into the rough, rugged players instead of just the technically gifted players. Those players are rare in the modern games. Players with those qualities are valued so highly nowdays, Mascheranho, Thiago Silva, Vidal, Pogba.

    We need proper leaders for current and future squad .

    1. Good question! I think it is well documented that the likes of Tony Adams (old guard) were positively discouraged in their attempts to fire up people in the dressing room or have any general banter.

      This was part of Wengers new era where discipline and self control were the order. So things got a little sterile in that front.

      So as well as raising technically proficient (use your left son!) players of the future we should encourage leadership and good ole fire in the belly too (a UK trait after all).

  9. Nice read.
    Hopefully the youngsters will be in heaven to see their club lifting the ucl and they will want to do the same 🙂
    To develop youth it is absolutely necessary to lift major trophies. Otherwise all the degelopped ones will leave to where they can actually lift those trophies

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