Arsenal’s New High-Impact Transfer Strategy Explained

The Next Gem: Arsenal’s New High-Impact Transfer Strategy. by AI

Hide all your recent academy graduates! Arsenal are coming for them!

While this may sound like a fictional battle cry from a cliché sword-cutting war movie, I can imagine academy directors, one coffee latte in hand, typing a memo with a similar headline, frowning as they remember their once beloved prodigies representing the London red and white.

Here is a fictional memo from a rival academy boss:

Hello Jason,
After Player X’s heroics at the Emirates last night, I think it now has to come to our general attention what the Arsenal Recruitment staff are doing with their transfer strategy.

They are scouring through Europe and South America, looking for fast-rising talents. Unlike Real Madrid, they avoid the highest profile ones and go for the lesser known names who are not lower in quality than their Spanish-haunted contemporaries. Take a look at Matteo Guendouzi’s profile. 18-year-old Ligue 1 debutant in lowly French club. Regular player in Ligue 2. Now absolute powerhouse for those smug shirts at the Emirates. Or the similar profile Gabriel Martinelli.

As you may already know, they have extraordinary pull over these young professionals and have a clear reputation for giving playing time. Admittedly, they are pretty good at doing that. I fear that unless we find a way to guard our Guendouzis and Martinellis, we shall all soon furnish Arsenal with the next Cristiano Ronaldos and Harry Kanes for peanuts while we stick with buying ready-made starters at unsustainable prices.

Do you know how much one of the new lattes cost now? 25 million pounds for just being warmer than room temperature.

Yours Sincerely,
Jack Bauer.

Joking apart, this is actually more serious than we suspect. While the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona may be buying all the flashy Brazilian trinkets with dizzying transfer sums, we are doing the same thing but on a lower level. It’s a great strategy if you actually think about it.
Not all potentially elite players will be like Lionel Messi or Neymar from a young age. Many will be like Virgil Van Dijk when he was at Celtic: just as talented but from a relatively low-profile club. Sometimes their full potential will not be apparent to the casual observer. Many will be like Ngolo Kanté: able to play at a world-class level but lacking the platform and coaching opportunities to effectively do so at a young age.

A talent like Gabriel Martinelli may have remained stuck in the lower levels of Brazilian football, slowly making his way up the ranks. Anything can happen to derail such a talent within those years. If nothing happens and he successfully makes it to the top at a relatively young age, say 21, at one of the big Brazilian clubs with an apparent ability to play at an elite level, his transfer value will mean that getting him would be difficult amidst tough competitions from other clubs.

But what if you orientated your scouting operations at finding Luka Modric before he got to Tottenham? Or a Riyad Mahrez before he is noticed by Leceister?

What if you scouted for the best young and low-cost talents instead of the most expensive ones? Which gem would you unearth?

Arsenal signed Matteo Guendouzi for less than 10 million pounds back in 2018. The midfielder was once part of the PSG academy until he was 14, departed to Lorient, got his debut at 18 in Ligue 1 and continued to regularly feature in Ligue 2 the next season after his team dropped. Blessed with great passing ability, confidence, top mentality and abundant energy, the French youngster unexpectedly made his debut against Chelsea and Manchester City the next season for Arsenal. From there he has never looked back.

So when, in the next season, Arsenal forked out a similar amount to secure the signing of a Brazilian teenager in the lower Brazilian league, a few eyebrows were raised. Was this another Guendouzi-type?

It turned out an emphatic yes. Gabriel Martinelli is one of Europe’s hottest teenagers this season. Gifted with blistering pace, great shooting, heading and Guendouzi-esque never-say-never attitude, the Brazilian is the latest emblem of Arsenal’s new high-octane transfer strategy.

Now, the players Arsenal have been linked to this season have been eerily similar. Angelo Stiller, 19, from Bayern Munich. Orkun Kocku, 19, of Feynoord. Thiago Almada, 19, of Velez Sarfield. And so on. It seems like a Wengerised version of Real Madrid youth galaticos. Cheaper, lower profile, high-impact?

Sign the papers, boy, you are going to North London.

Agboola Israel

7 Comments

  1. S.J says:

    Great article.. Gives me hope for the Arsenal future generations, they will give us european titles.

    Martinelli, Saka, Smith Rowe, Guendouzi, Saliba, Tierney, Bellerin and more to come.

    And I hear we are about to sign another young one from Norway George Lewis

    All are Great players that are not yet at their maximum, with the right coach in Arteta they will reach 100%

    Imagine what that squad will bring out in the next 3-5 years.

    PURE GREATNESS!!!

  2. Roshan says:

    Im completely for this strategy going forward. We will never have the financial muscle to compete with some of the wealthiest clubs so we need to find another way.

    Buying young potential before they explode is the way to move going forward. Buy low and if they do need to sell it will be at a huge profit. This way we can then fund large transfers to fill important gaps in our team.

    Very smart strategy.

  3. Billy says:

    It’s been great to see, adding to the work being done in the academy and the quality coaching provided by Arteta and team, there is an opportunity to become a real destination for future talent

    The test will be the same as it was when Wenger implemented a similar plan after moving to Emirates, can we maintain an experienced core around youth and can we avoid becoming a stepping stone

    I just hope that it’s part of a plan to compete and not just replace lost champions league money

  4. Top Gunner says:

    The problem is Arteta. He doesn’t want to either Martinelli, Gouendouzi, or Maitland-Niles. He prefers Ozil, Xhaka, and Torreira. Arteta is not that good as people say. He is slowly digging his own grave

  5. Shakir says:

    Look we can build a team this way but it has its pros and cons
    Its kind of a gamble and can also affect the “status” or “reputation” of a great club.

    We need young gems and i am not saying we havent got some but they still need to keep on performing,they need seniors who they can look upto and this strategy is not a bad one but is not a good reliable one either

  6. jon fox says:

    An optimistic article which will understandably attract hopeful and positive ecomments. But in reality, life is rarely as simplistic as this article tries to make out. If only it were THAT simple don’t you think ALL clubs would be doing so too? That being said, AFC will clearly be trying to go down this route and are already doing so. But lets not pretend we are ALONE in so doing . And THAT is my real point!

  7. Grandad says:

    While I am all for a recruitment strategy which focuses on bringing in young talent ,with respect this policy cannot be described as”new” as it has been the basis upon which Clubs have survived virtually since organized professional began.In the case of Arsenal,to a large extent the policy of buying young and cheap has become essential as we cannot compete with Clubs who are stronger in terms of financial clout and who can recruit quality players with a proven pedigree.Clubs in the lower leagues in the UK simply could not survive without selling their best young players.It has always been so and the financial crisis arising from the Pandemic will only serve to increase their need to do so.

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