Have Arsenal learned their lesson and only aiming for younger transfer targets?

Although many Arsenal fans keep saying that Mikel Arteta studiously ignores our youngsters when he is picking his matchday squads, the fact remains that Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka had breakthrough seasons in the last campaign. But Arteta did come under fire for not making more use of other youngsters like Martinelli, Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock when our more senior players were clearly underperforming.

There is little doubt that Arteta must be regretting giving a three year contract to the 32 year-old Willian last summer, and it would appear that the Gunners are now trying to secure younger players this summer that could have some resale value in the future if they were to leave the club, under whatever circumstances.

As an article in the Express pointed out this morning: “Arsenal chiefs are believed to be willing to spend as much as £250million to secure their preferred targets.

Midfield options Albert Sambi Lokonga, Yves Bissouma and James Maddison, Norwich full-back Max Aarons and Brighton centre-half Ben White are all of interest to Arsenal.

And the five players are all under 25, fitting the preferred profile of the club’s transfer targets, as they prioritise players with growth and sell-on value.

Although he has been criticied for not using all his youngsters, Arteta clearly worries about protecting his starlets from burnout and introducing them to his squad very slowly. As the Spaniard pointed out at this time last year….

“I have a lot of faith in the young talent we have at the football club, but we need the right stability and foundations around them to make sure they develop in the right way, at the right moment, with the right amount of talent behind them.

“But to do that, it’s a process and if you want to speed up that process, you risk burning them and burning all the process – and you cannot do that.

“We have some young players who are playing more football than they probably should be doing, but they’re showing great maturity and lot of personality to play in difficult moments which is great for their experience.

“But as well we need the other players to support them the right way, and that’s what we are trying to achieve.

“To find this balance to be very competitive but as well very excited about the future ahead of us.”

Personally I think he is right to bring in younger players, but not too young as we have enough of them coming through the academy that have to be nurtured.

But there are many, many mature, talented and experienced players in the age-range of 22-25 that can help our “kids” come through.

How hard is it to find the balance between youth and experience?


  1. Yes, I guess they’ve realized that senior players aren’t always more consistent than the youngsters. I bet the board used a similar consideration when recruiting a young manager, instead of the old one

    1. But experience for a manager is very important as finishing 8th place in a row shows how Arteta’s inexperience has affected us. I applaud the FA Cup win, but luck plays a larger role in knockout competition then PL

      Emery did a very good job considering he wasn’t allowed to get the players he wanted and was controlled too much from above. He came here having won Europa League 3 times then after he left beat Arteta’s tactics and won it again. Emery was better because of his experience and trophies to prove it (including Ligue 1 and Coupe de France). Arteta has been given more time than him but 8th place twice shows his inexperience.

      BUT I hope he succeeds because if Arteta succeeds then Arsenal will too

      1. In 2019-20 EPL, the players’ attitude towards Emery badly affected our final league position. Arteta just managed them for half season in 2019-20 EPL, yet he was able to give us an FA Cup trophy

        In 2020-21 EPL, the players made a lot of bad decisions in the field and Arteta also made bad selections in 2020. But they managed to be the second best team in England in 2021, so we need to support this good trend/ momentum

        Experience is important for a managerial position, yet Ancelotti, Mourinho and Benitez failed to get any trophy. I believe the board saw Arteta’s potential and have chosen to gamble on him again for 2021-22 EPL

      2. So there is luck on the FA Cup run but there is no luck in the Europa Cup run. Give credit where it is due consistently without diminishing one to further a certain narrative

  2. It depends on the individual player, not a general age bracket.

    If they are good enough they are old enough. At least this year Arsenal only have PL and domestic cup matches, so “burnout” isn’t a valid reason not to play them.

    We’ll see how it plays out in the upcoming year. Martinelli should be challenging to start or first option off the bench at least.

    1. Martinelli is a curious case, sometimes he looks like a world beater other games fails to make any sort of impact. His failure to make the Brazil under 23 olympic squad speaks volumes of his current form. The arrival of a top class cf like Andre Silva would set him back further as I believe Pepe has done enough to cement himself on the left. A loan move to say Brighton would do him a world of good and will help along the Ben White deal.

      1. Agree Liam – his second season was disapponting after his first, even allowing for his injury. I believe it’s a temporary rather than a permanent reversal, and he will start impressing again, as his attitude is spot on. Although I love his enthusiasm, that is about all he has offered lately, and I fully understand both his limited Arsenal game time and his Olympic exclusion.
        Not that impressed with the rumoured interest in Andre Silva. His big goal haul at Frankfurt was based largely on penalties and tap ins. Whilst very good in the air he doesnt contribute much outside the 6 yard area. Whilst scoring is obviously important, don’t we want a more rounded player for that price, having rejected Nketiah? Plus apparently he doesnt settle in easily, having flopped at his two previous clubs.

      2. Liam, you need to look at two things here that will explain you why Martenelli was a bit inconsistent. First he had a long injury so to come back from such a long injury takes time specially to regain your momentum and form. Second I think Arteta did not help him either by not giving him enough chances even when he was fit and game required a player like him to come on even when he was brought on most of the time it was late substitution where he was on the pitch for very few minutes. Young players need more game time then experienced players as they are learning and they need that momentum or confidence. So based on all this Areta had major impact on Martenelli’s struggle last season. Once fit and given enough playing time he will prove once again what a raw talent this boy is. We should not make the mistake to send him on loan. We need to keep him at the club so his understanding with other young players like Tierney, Saka, ESR even Pepe can get better.

      3. Good observation!!
        Told some fans here that Martinelli is still Injury-prone!!
        Dats y we need Wilfred Zaha added on the wings, to give us more options…
        On Andre Silva, I truly pray we get him!!

  3. It all gets a bit ‘samey’ after a while doesn’t. Why are we chasing yet another CB and not now another LB – I assume we have none in the development sides.. we’re linked with every RB seemingly available and the man in charge of transfers (Edu) is abroad on holiday. Youngsters – oh yeah, Arron Ramsey, really..!!
    Martinelli, yes, Balogun, yes, but not quite first choice. EddieN not first choice either, Auba’s had a stinker of a season so that leaves Laca and only him.. and of course, we don’t appeal to the very top as no European football.. I sense no real plan here..

  4. While agreeing 100% with Durand’s comment (young enough – good enough) I’m still not certain MA sees lt this way.
    Let’s remember it was UE who gave Saka his chance and ESR was only brought in by MA simply because of our injury situation and his stance on Ozil.

    What his thinking is regarding Saliba, Martinelli and Mavs I have no idea and, let’s not forget that Willian, Luiz and Soares were all his signings.

    But, as this article says, perhaps he has had a change of heart and, if this is true, then I will back him to the hilt with regards to his transfer policy.

    Having said ALL of that, I would welcome back Aaron Ramsey on a rolling one year contract, with his salary greatly reduced and a clause pertaining to games missed through injuries.
    Who have we got at the moment with the vision to score that goal from Bales pass?

    1. I think the “greatly reduced salary” will prove the stumbling block here, as like his even more famous compatriot, cash seems to be pretty high in his priorities. Shame as I love what he gives you, but it won’t happen, and shouldnt even be contemplated if his demands remain stratospheric.

    2. Great post KEN, until you got to the RAMSEY part! Surely you realise _ I am sure you do- just as almost all Gooners also do – that RAMSEY IS NEVER COMING BACK.
      I WOULD NOT HAVE HIM BACK IN ANY CAPACITY- that ship has long sailed. Too injury prone, too old, too unreliable , far too expensive too, even though on his day still a decent player. I stress, ON HIS DAY ONLY!

      1. Don’t agree Jon, both with regards to Ramsey’s worth and your assumption that “almost all Gooners” think as you do.
        If the club signed him, with the caveats I laid out, his experience and leadership with regards to our younger players, would be immense, both on and off the field.

        1. The caveats you laid out are pure fantasy. Ramsey would never agree to them nor would any player in his position. He has two years left on a very big contract. He is not going to trade that for your conditional peanuts.

  5. i still back MA even though i cannot agree with all his calls but i am hoping he is right and i am wrong come the end of the domestic only season. Quite excited by some transfer soundbites , locatelli , camavinga , bissouma, andy silva, a couple of brazilian kids and a certain Swedish striker but with chelsk on their cases unlikely to happen , and then there is the foreign /homegrown quota to balance. Out of the 90 or so targets i would be happy and hopeful of a 7 change window with Auba and Laca being thanked for their service but let go back to europe, bells xhaka and El nen likewise and Willian unceremoniously expelled.I’m ok with Leno but not with his playing out from the back where he is clueless so looks like a change there on the system so he and runarrson out , onana and ramsdale in.overall the nationality thing balanced out, average age reduced a lot with best part of a new team lol.
    last i heard though its not my job to decide these things and make them happen so i will leave it to MA +Edu to continue the good work in the last half season 🙂

  6. We’ll see. Nobody has been bought yet. Happy to hear the rumors that we have stopped chasing Ryan Bertrand though.

  7. Ad PAT you ask “how hard is it to find players aged 22-25!” Answer: Relatively easy to find, difficult to persuade and almost impossible to afford. I have long thought we should include the depressing word “Kroenke” in the headline of every thread that talks about incoming players All of them!

    That way , we keep in touch with REALITY! Simple really!

  8. Arsenal have 2 billion warchest but unfortunately all players were in euro, plus late preseason so we will suck at preseason to December.
    -Arteta, summer window 2021.

  9. No matter how Arsenal fans keep deceiving themselves,,, experience is no 1 priority in ALL title winning teams …

    For example Chelsea bought Thiago Silva who was a main stay in their team. Man city have Fernandinho.

    How many “young” players were starting for those 2 teams???

    Chelsea had Mount and Man City had Foden

    So here we are, having finished 8th (and more so by luck) and we’re rooting for more young academy players to “keep growing”.

    No wonder every start of season we keep saying we’re 5 players away from challenging…


  10. To me the title of this article is incredibly misleading as Arteta’s actually comments seem to suggest that we’re rife with more youthful options within our potential starting ranks and that he would really like to have some more experienced players in order to provide the requisite amount leadership/guidance.

    “But as well we need the other players to support them the right way, and that’s what we are trying to achieve.

    “To find this balance to be very competitive but as well very excited about the future ahead of us.”

    Now this might be his way of attempting to excuse his incredibly short-sighted Willian purchase, last off-season, but that would be a bridge too far for anyone with the cerebral capacity to analyze a situation, then make some educated inferences…regardless of his intent, I agree with the notion of creating a more balanced starting 11, with a good mixture of blue-chip prospects, those with 4-5 years of top flight football and a smattering of crafty, reliable veterans, who have some sort of championship pedigree and come to the club with the full intention of furthering the long-term development process

  11. Yeh, as always not much to actually report in terms of transfers/business done.

    That’s because the need for a better squad /better players has come as a big surprise to everyone at AFC and they have unfortunately gone and taken their eyes off the ball. They have however managed to book their respective holidays and look forward to shopping at Harrods.

  12. The decision to rely on 2 loaned players from Madrid for 2 key positions was a big mistake and for that Edu & MA are responsible.Those two players didn’t help Arsenal improve position but stopped other in-house players gaining vital experience.Now to fill those 2 positions Arsenal need ~£70M + cover for LB & Keeper. In all other positions Arsenal have decent players to challenge for top 4 so any additional purchases should depend on outgoings. Ideally should sell on of the 2 aging strikers & replace with a more younger/energetic

  13. Arteta is not the manager to improve younger players. He constantly ignored and mismanaged our young talent we already have. He stumbled on ESR, was blind to Willock, blind to Saliba, couldn’t cope with Gouendouzi, played Nketiah in front of Lacca, mis managed Martinelli and preferred all season failing experienced players over improving young ones. I dont see the relevance of the article, in as much as we have mainly let our young players down and not progressed by doing so.

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