‘We don’t buy stars, we make them’ by AH
The title is a banner and motto that is often heard at the Emirates and the surroundings of all things Arsenal, however how true is that statement in reality?
Arsene Wenger has always been keen on promoting youth from the younger ranks at Arsenal, but how many go on to actually make it at Arsenal?
Isaac Hayden, who came up through the Arsenal youth ranks, made his debut for the club in 2013, but went on to make just two league cup appearances before being shipped out on loan. Eventually he found his way out of the club on a permanent basis, having signed for Newcastle United today in a reported five year deal.
Hayden mentioned in his interview upon signing for Newcastle, that although he was grateful for the experience he attained from Arsenal, it was time for him to move on and find regular football. Arsenal was previously well known for giving many young players a chance in the first team, but is Hayden a pure example that perhaps that statement isn’t so true anymore?
When Cesc Fabregas broke onto the scene it certainly was the truth and when he was a young but well experienced player at Arsenal, he was surrounded by other young Gunners. The team struggled however and was largely unsuccessful, which is perhaps why Wenger is now slightly less cautious towards integrating youth into the first team on a regular basis. The likes of Fran Merida, Sanchez Watt and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas all come to mind in players who just didn’t make it despite there being a lot of promise surrounding them. In more recent years we have only really seen Jack Wilshere and, last season, Alex Iwobi move through the ranks to make an impact in the first team. What’s happened to Toral, Akpom and Gnabry?
Do Arsenal really ‘make’ stars anymore?