Arsenal’s youth set up rated the very best in the BPL?
Arsenal football club have today announced that the club has received a ‘category one’ rank when it comes to producing and recruiting future players of the professional game.
I must admit before the announcement today, I was never aware of such rank being granted to the academies, but it’s important to realise that this is how Arsenal manage to attract so many up and coming talents like Reine-Adelaide, Bielik and Zelalem to the team. The status lasts for three years and being category one rated means that Arsenal come accross as one of the best rated sides for young players to develop at in the country.
The Gunners announced: “Our academy has been awarded top tier status ahead of the 2016/17 season. The youth setup of every Premier League club is independently assessed as part of the Elite Player Performance Plan. The review looks at the quality of coaching, training facilities and education amongst other factors. We were granted ‘Category One’ status for the next three seasons. The elite ranking enables us to continue to recruit and develop the best young players in the country.”
Academy manager Andries Jonker showed his delight and appreciation by saying: “We’re pleased that our academy has once again been recognised with Category One status this year.”
Admittedly a large part of this status is being able to attract young players looking to move up to a higher level in youth football, however it does slightly concern me about how many more young talents we ‘recruit’, rather than produce ourselves. There’s that famous banner at the Emirates that states “We don’t buy superstars, we make them!” but is that really the case?
Arsenal have been known to give young players a chance and Alex Iwobi and Hector Bellerin are the latest talents that can prove that. In the past we shouldn’t forget the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere, but for every Fabregas, there’s two Sanchez Watt’s or Craig Eastmond’s. Would you really say that Arsenal are a top level academy for producing the talents of the future? Or is it more likely that we are obtaining players like Bellerin, or even Chamberlain or Chambers from other clubs when they are young, before turning them into first team talents?
Personally in my opinion it’s certainly the latter. The odd exception of Iwobi, Gibbs or Wilshere may come all the way through the ranks at Arsenal before becoming a valuable member of the first team, but more often than not its the Bellerin’s, Szczesny’s and the Fabregas’ that are taken from other clubs at a young age and then put through as our very own players. I’m not suggesting that Arsenal shouldn’t be granted with such a title, because along with the likes of Southampton and West Ham, I do think our youth set up is fantastic for developing young players into real potential stars. But even with this in mind I don’t think we can really class ourselves as ‘making superstars’ like they are our own.
What do you think Gooners?