Arsene Wenger may be copping a lot of abuse for his non-involvement in the transfer window but you can’t take one thing away from him – his commitment to blooding young players.
Many generations of players at the Emirates owe their game time and careers to the ‘club-first, youngsters-first’ policy of Wenger. Going with the same policy, the 17-year-old Jeff Reine-Adelaide is included in the Arsenal’s Champions League squad.
The teenage midfielder impressed everyone at the club in the pre-season with his performances and was penciled for bigger things. He dazzled the supporters at the Emirates Cup after joining the club from Lens in the summer. If all goes well for him, he could make his European debut for the Gunners and rubbing shoulders with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
Although the French midfielder hasn’t been involved with the senior Gunners side as yet, he has been selected in the Gunners’ ‘A’ list for the European competition. The club is also allowed to include seven youngsters in their ‘B’ list but Reine-Adelaide is ineligible for this list.
According to the UEFA website: “A player may be registered on List B if he is born on or after 1 January 1994 and has been eligible to play for the club concerned for any uninterrupted period of two years since his 15th birthday by the time he is registered with UEFA.”
Hector Bellerin has been included on the ‘B’ list to make room for Reine-Adelaide while Joel Campbell has also been named in the squad.
Reine-Adelaide made a significant impact in the Emirates Cup game against Wolfsburg. The youngster has been capped by France’s Under-17 side, but it looks like just the starting step for his move to the next levels.
There is optimism within the squad, the management and everyone around Emirates stadium that Reine-Adelaide will be a future star. Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud have already professed their acclaim of his dazzling skills while Wenger has already insisted that Reine-Adelaide has a lot of potential.
Arsenal are drawn in Group F alongside Bayern Munich, Olympiacos and Dinamo Zagreb in Champions League. With his quest for Premier League and the requirement to go further in the Champions League, Wenger is certain to employ the youngster at some point, and he has every reason to be believe he will be an instant star….