Emery will have to find a balance between experience and Arsenal’s youngsters

Emery’s Possible Approaches to Squad Integration 

by Azih Chimezie

With the advent of the new head coach taking the reins the Emirates it remains to be seen what the fate of the current crop of youngsters at Arsenal will be. Unai Emery, who was appointed last week, has had his own fair share of records with youthful talents over the course of his managerial career. With the likes Sergio Rico, Isco, Lo Celso only but to mention a few, having all initiated their professional careers under the Spaniard, it is clear that the former PSG coach is an advocate of vibrancy and youthfulness in the structure of his teams over the years and fans will be hoping he doesn’t totally abandon that part of his game.

Immediately after Unai’s appointment, Arsenal’s Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, came out to say that part of reasons he was selected as the best replacement for Wenger was due to his seemingly well-grounded knowledge base of the players in the North London outfit as well as his acquiescence of the values beholden at the club. However, with the current condition of the club: having been out of the top four, and consequently, Champions league participation for two consecutive seasons now, expectations are pretty high from the Arsenal fan base who would be hoping that the manager hits the ground running within the next year or two.

Obviously to meet up with these expectations would mean that an element of the club’s values may have to be undermined for a while. It may turn out to be a case of having to choose between preserving the youth integration system that was quite active at the club during Wenger’s time, and bringing in the much needed reinforcements at the club. Wenger’s last season saw the likes of Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock, Rob Holden and Ainsley Maitland Niles all featuring for the first team in the course of the season. And although not all of them were able to stake much claim to a position in the first team, they proved their worth and gave the fans enough reasons to be excited, knowing what the future might hold for the club going forward. Most of these players may now have to suffer some of the perks of being in a top flight team that is looking to refurbish as Unai has already started making serious moves in the transfer market.

The likes of Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Juventus’ out-of-contract right back, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Nice’s Jean-Michael Seri are names that have all being closely linked with the gunners of late. And if these deals pull through, it will invariably mean that there would be lesser opportunities for the youngsters. The alternative however would be to create a sort of balance between adequate youth integration and putting up active competition for major trophies: something that has proven time and again to be an arduous and somewhat contradictory task for most managers, especially new ones. Emery’s savvy decision-making ability will definitely have to come to play here.



  1. gotanidea says:

    On the contrary, I think Emery would give more chances to Maitland-Niles and Nelson, despite the arrival of the new players

    Because he tends to form his squad with young players, as what he has done at Sevilla and PSG

    The rumors are he is chasing young players like Soyuncu and Adli

    1. Maze says:

      Probably, but wouldn’t be shocked if he acts otherwise. We don’t expect him to trust his team to youngsters whom he hasn’t seen a lot of.
      All the best though. However he approaches the game, I hope he hits the ground running soon enough.

      1. Break-on-through says:

        I hope the reports about Adli are not wide of the mark. He looks like he has a bright future, and not unlike Bielik he already looks physically ready, perfect for a youngster over in this league. It’s a wonder Wenger never made a move for him or even papers laying an interest. Top young French prospect and he’s playing in a team that has less chances for him than most. Rabiot could barely play at one stage and also they sold your man Matuidi to Juve because they’re well sorted. We should prob take a look at young PSG defenders and widemen see if we can find a couple more. PSG will have snapped up most of the top prospects in France along with Monaco, only difference is Monaco play theirs.

    2. Yeah and freedies like the 34 year old and now Bernard on a freedie thought Wenger ad gone God when will it end bring in s..t again might aswell go for yaya ???

    3. killamch89 says:

      Off topic again but did you guys know that William Carvalho is a free agent now…Yeah just letting you guys know. Does anybody have a number for Gazidis? 🙂

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        William Cavahlo is a much matured player now at 26; would be a real asset at the Arsenal. However, rumours are he is being chased by Everton as he previously played under Silva.
        Everton are a threat given a new manager and Usmanov and partner’s money.

  2. kev says:

    Nzonzi is very close to completing a switch to Arsenal. We have agreed a fee with Sevilla in the region of €40m. Now it’s just personal terms to be finalised.
    Never thought he was good enough neither at Stoke nor Sevilla.I’m really underwhelmed.
    For those who care Zidane is also in talks to become Qatar coach.

    1. GoonerP says:

      We care about nothing you say. How’s Vidal coming along?

    2. Sue says:

      We’ve been close to all & sundry all week!!

      1. Mwsupporter says:

        The rubbish from the press is exactly that. We are always surprised at who we sign and very rarely sign who the press say we are interested in.

    3. gotanidea says:

      If everything you said is true, it means Arsenal will have many new players for the next season:

      – N’zonzi
      – Vidal
      – Sokratis
      – Seri
      – Soyuncu
      – Lichtsteiner

      Did I miss anything?

      1. killamch89 says:

        Mario Balotelli and Karim Benzema

      2. Enagic says:

        Alexis Vidal or Arturo Vidal?

    4. Yeah really not you again

    5. John Ibrahim says:

      Hi Resource,

      whens the deals going to be announced officially?

  3. if the rumours are true our formation might be 4-2-3-1 which is the one that unai prefers:
    GK- Cech
    Defence- stephan- mustaphi- sokratis- saed
    CM—— ramsey———seri———-
    i hope we sign a new GK but we can not blame cech for the disastrous defence we had
    i really hope we sign demble even on loam he is highly energetic and can be very useful (better than welbeck) miki may be replaced by Lacazete
    what do you think about this formation?

    1. Maze says:

      I don’t know what approach the new manager would use but i think Monreal still remains a better option at left back

      1. monreal is getting old and saed was the better LB in the bundesliga with a physical presence so i think he will take the spot

        1. Simon Williams says:

          Monreal was superb last year. Clearly no1 RB for now

          1. Ozziegunner says:

            Arsenal still need a DM, Jean Seri is not the hard tackling, ball recovering deep lying playmaker Arsenal requires.

    2. Harish says:

      Seriously..?? Seri..?? And that too with Ramsey..do u even know what type of player Seri is..??

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        ?see above.

  4. Sean says:

    If we can get Dembele on Loan, Lichsteiner on a Free, Sokratis for £16m & Seri £35m along with Ramsey to a new deal we could be okay going into our 1st Season under Emery. We still need a GK & CDM but that should come also before window shuts! Who would we sign for a GK & CDM?

    Mustafi & Xhaka on last chance at Arsenal but Unai could improve these players drastically with his training/methods & we cant reshape the whole team in one window along with Fullbacks which all could be addressed next summer depending on where we finish will determine the quality of players coming in. Europa League win, Top4 finish (a lucky challenge for title if we manage too get it together) along with at least semi finals in cups should be realistic targets!

  5. Phil says:

    The Manager MUST without doubt start with the established players and new signings for the first team squad.The Premier League is not the place to start experimenting with youth team players.There will be plenty of opportunities for the up and coming youngsters and fringe players to get game time and experience in the Carabao and Europa Cups like Wenger did last season.They will also get opportunities on the bench throughout the season as the number of games and injuries take their toll.But Emery has come into manage a Club that must aim for a minimum of Top 4 so he must concentrate on this above everything else.After Xmas we can look where we are regarding the FA and Europa cups meaning more games and more opportunities and if the young players prove themselves then that is when they can be introduced.

    1. Phil says:

      Slightly off topic I know but if the Chelski Chavs lose their GK and Hazard this season then I predict that they will end up Ground Sharing with QPR in a few years time.Plastic Club.Plastic supporters.Very rich owner who will take out his money tomorrow if he could.It couldn’t happen to a nicer Club (unless it happened to those Pikeys up the road of course).

      1. Sue says:

        ?????? love It!

        1. Kenny Rolfe says:

          Can you imagine, the Russian demands his money back, all £1.17 Billion, they’ll start by selling their players, then they’ll sell the training ground and then the stadium will have to go or be rented out to the council so they can build some social housing and as Phil said end up sharing with QPR because Fulham wouldn’t have ’em. They’ll soon be back in the lower divisions where they spent most of the time under Ken Bates. In fact Ken will probably by them back for a pound. Can’t wait

          1. Phil says:

            Kenny-if QPR turn them away because their support isn’t big enough to make it worthwhile they could end up at Brentford

          2. Kenny Rolfe says:

            Or even Kingstonian, imagine that Phil

          3. John Ibrahim says:

            if Chelsea is heavily in debt and cant pay them…they will be relegated just like Rangers, Leeds and etc….

      2. killamch89 says:

        Guys something has been itching away at me for weeks and I probably will get laughed at but what if we and Chelsea were to swap hazard for Ramsey…I know but since recently I have been seeing Hazard in an Arsenal kit and I just can’t shake the feeling that it might well happen. We have seen the strangest transfers in the past year – I mean Lacazette and Aubameyang(two WC strikers that we have been asking for since forever). I’m not saying it has any concrete legs but considering that city have gone for Riyad mahrez, PSG has Neymar/Mbappe, Real want Neymar/Thauvin, Bayern has a whole dearth of Young Wingers and Barcelona aren’t interested in him and He definitely won’t join Mou…What if and it is kinda outta the way if but what if later in the transfer window this comes up – how would you guys feel? I for one would be ecstatic!

  6. Andrew E says:

    90% of transfer headlines and articles is fake news dreamt up by sports editors.
    I will only believe a transfer when Arsenal.com confirm it on their website.

    Regarding the article, Emery might have no choice but to give some of the younger players a chance if the £50m budget is correct. But whatever he does he needs to address the CB & DM positions as a matter of urgency and that means buying experienced quality players to fill those roles. Strengthen the spine and with proper coaching, who knows what might happen next season.
    I am definitely optimistic!!

    1. Maze says:

      So what do you think of the Turkish guy Soyuncu?

    2. Ozziegunner says:


  7. Ken1945 says:

    I am disappointed that while being off line, we haven’t bought/sold anyone.
    I agree that the manager should assess our current playing staff, but surprised no signs of strengthening squad as yet.
    I am still very optimistic however and believe we will make some important moves before the start of the world cup.
    Seeing Ramsey sign a new deal would be the perfect start, followed by that elusive CD we must have following the long term injury to Kos.

    1. Xxnofx says:

      Dude I was with you until you said the Ramsey stuff ,is he the kind of player you want running our midfield ?

      1. Ken1945 says:

        I am backing the judgement of our new manager when he says that he sees Ramsey as one of our best players who he wants to build his team around.
        Surely that is why we appointed him, because of his football knowledge,tactics and being able to get the best out of players?
        Personally, I also rate him highly and see him as part of our midfield for a long time.

        1. Simon Williams says:

          I agree.

          And I also see him as a good captain. He clashed with Sanchez a few times and although that’s not great it shows he has a strong character. I think he also captain of Wales – correct?

          So Emery makes him captain – ok by me. And I also don’t think you buy a new player and make him captain instantly.

      2. Maze says:

        Personally, I don’t think that Ramsey is a bad player to build the team around. Agreed, he has his faults: obviously not the finest in handling the ball in the midfield and probably not the most articulate in picking out passes from the middle of the park, but he sure has his ways of impacting a game. One player I know will always give his 100 for every game he plays for the red and white shirt. I believe Unai must have considered certain factors before making his comment, one of which might be the player’s time at the club and constant resolve to prove critics wrong. I think we should just back him on this. I have seen Ramsey at certain times his career where he has somewhat outperformed players in the league playing his role. And trust me, with enough support and belief we can always get that Ramsey.

      3. Maze says:

        And truth be told, we can hardly get a better player playing his role with the available kitty when obviously there are other salient positions to consider.

  8. Simon Williams says:

    Off topic – but am I only player that thinks Ozil might get sold?

    He’s got a long contract, which means we could demand high fee.

    I think it would also be a very powerful statement to other players about level of commitment he demands. As well as giving us big income to invest in alternatives.

    I’m not an Ozil hater, sometimes great, but often not big enough player in big games.

    Right now – is take the cash over the player and find a more suitable player.


    1. Phil says:

      But why would we sell our best player?I understand what you are saying and appreciate Ozil needs to step up more but he is in the side to create.If Emery can get the tactics right to allow Ozil a free role as a No10 and not just stick him out wide to drift in we WILL get more out of him .

  9. Dalinho says:

    Yacine adli is 17yrs but he can play in the first team bcoz of his size! The problem with some of our youngsters is there size is to small which means they need a lot of pace but they lack that too! Iwobi and Bellerin are the only youngsters that make it in the first team bcoz they have size on them! Niles needs to bulk up and Nelson needs speed n conditioning! Our senior team needs more size in general like rabiot or nzonzi in midfield or diallo at CB instead of Sokretis bcoz diallo is 6’3 it helps balance the team and allows ozil to play! And upfront we need wide plays with pace and good conditioning for high pressing! Emery likes Ramsey bcoz he runs all day and can press teams then join in on attacks when we win the Ball but apart from him who else can do it? Alexis used to do it but he’s gone! In worried Sokretis is gonna be another mustafi and we won’t buy a DM then my biggest worry is on the wings bcoz we need players like gelson martins and dembele but don’t have enough money anyway my main point is arsenal need more size and pace in the team plus the youngsters need to bulk up

  10. Robin Vanpayslip says:

    As long as Emery doesn’t play Iwobi, I have every faith in him

      1. Ken1945 says:

        Wonder if the Nigerian football manager knows something that you don’t?
        Still in Canada, so haven’t seen the game.
        How did he play against the mighty England?

  11. Victorsky says:

    Just laughable. I’ve read articles upon articles on this site, but none has address either by debate or contribution the real issue confronting the team play. Teams that back the bus with fast countering wingers like man u, liverpool, spurs, even Watford and stoke had their plotful games @ us.
    Brothers, the defence is not the reason we don’t score much goals. We lack proper wingers who can drive pass defenders and make assist. We’ve played welbeck, ozil, micki, iwobi,…. they are no proper wingers. I for one trust that the new coach can use the current breed of defence and make dem solid. I mean, we hav cham, holding, mustafi, moureal, bellerin and other squad players that can play those positions. And for our CDM, D only natural one we have is niles he need proper breeding. We need one more CDM, we need two wingers (proper ones), one or two defenders to peer with the ones we have and if possible a goal keeper (cech can’t cut the slack anymore).

    1. Maze says:

      Hey mate, point taken. But If I may ask you, what particular tactic (formation) are you expecting the new head coach to use? I agree we do not have natural wingers in the team but I disagree that has been the major problem. If it were, we would not be among the highest scoring sides in a season where we performed poorly overall, only second to Man City (on the home front, I think) . We scored as many goals as was expected from a top premier league side (at least on our home front), and even though our conversion rate was not very good, we managed to chip in the goals quite frequently. However, on the other half of the field we were beyond abysmal, one of the worst in the league. So I think sticking to the status quo of getting defensive reinforcements FIRST is ideal. He can always get a winger after that if the funds are still there. I’m not saying it’s not important, just saying it’s NOT AS important.

      And if I may also point out, you do realize getting a winger means you would have to be rid of either Ozil (Our biggest player currently) or Mikhitaryan right? cause we already have two top class strikers jostling for a position up top, of which we know that he may be tempted to drop Aubameyang to the flank because of his pace. I saw an interview recently where the Gabonese striker was asked how he would prefer to play and he conceded to a probable wing role if the manager so desires.

      Point is: We WANT a striker to complete the teams armory offensively but we NEED defensive reinforcements to save face after what we witnessed last season, the statistics are there for analysis.

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