Jeff departure highlights Arsenal’s youth project problem

Jeff Reine-Adelaide has admitted it was not easy leaving Arsenal, but it was something he had to do for the sake of his career. This is Arsenal’s big problem about concentrating on bringing in lots of top youngsters when, no matter how good they are, it is very difficult to get intothe senior team which demands instant success. The 20-year old Jeff arrived at the club way back in 2015, as one of the most promising young signings under Arsene Wenger, but he only managed to make eight first-team appearances in his three years with the Gunners.

And as such he was sent out on loan to get some regular game time and first team experience in hope a return to the Emirates would merit a chance to be part of Emery’s 22-man squad for the upcoming season.

But after being left out of the squad for our pre-season tour to Singapore, he took the big decision to make his 6-month loan deal at Angers into a permanent one and try and forge a career for himself away from London.

However, he has revealed that leaving us was not a decision he took lightly, and that the love he felt while on-loan at Angers would a big selling point.

He said: “It was hard for me to stay three years there, knowing that I was almost never playing and that I only participated in training.

“It was a very complicated situation.

“It was not easy to leave Arsenal but the loan I made here last season from February to May weighed heavily. It’s a family club here, I needed that.”

Wenger made sure he beat off a number of Europe’s top clubs to land Adelaide, a player he once described as ‘something special’.

But we know the club are no fools and have probably added a buy-back clause in his contract just in case he fulfils that potential on the coming seasons, and will be keeping a close eye on his development at Angers over the new few seasons. But right now we have so many more top youngsters, like Smith-Rowe, Nketiah, Willock and Nelson, who would all likely be fast-tracked into the first team at lower League clubs, but will only likely play in the League cup and maybe Europa League early rounds if they are lucky…

How many of our youths go on loan and don’t want to come back?



  1. funkyrith says:

    Just a comparison. Real, or Bayern dont give up on their talent easily. They find a club, preferably in same league, who need a player in the same position, so their player on loan gets the most minutes. They are biggest clubs in their leagues, and not expecting Arsenal to do the same. But at least have that structure. How many of Arsenal youth players go on loan to become a star? How many are sold with a buy back clause? Forgive me, but I cant remember anyone really significant with buy back. The approach of developing players and selling for 1-2mil should stop. Arsenal gives most minutes to youth products, so wont they be interested to be part of a loan army like Chelsea has? (may be smaller scale, but why not?)

  2. Innit says:

    Good News.
    Emery said Torreira will play on Saturday so there is hope that he will start against Man City. We will need him against Aguero/Mahrez/Sane/Sterling/de Bruyne/ Silva (arguably the best attack in the PL). Hopefully all our players will be injury free after Lazio.

  3. wenger says:

    EPL is no La Liga or Bundesliga. Honestly speaking, what team wants Jeff in the Premier league? hes not good enough. Even Nkeitah won’t get a match. Theres so much at stake in the EPL, unless you have superb talent you wont get a match. Ask Rashford.

  4. gotanidea says:

    Yes, Arsenal youth project definitely has some problems, but I still have high hope on Maitland-Niles and Nelson

  5. Innit says:

    Just saw a photo of Dembele in London with Aubameyang, Lacazette, Mkhitaryan and Guendouzi

    Probably means nothing but would be nice

    1. Innit says:

      Dembele is a close friend of Aubameyang from the Dortmund days. That’s probably it.
      I would be shocked if we bought him.

  6. paul35mm says:

    Every big club in the world struggles to bring their youth players through. Even midsized clubs like West Ham, Everton, and Tottenham, when they try to become regulars in the Champions League as Tottenham are now, struggle to bring their kids through.

    Arsenal, have, over the years done well developing their own players, but fans cannot have it both ways. Sign, sign, sign, spend, spend, spend, is not compatible with, develop, develop, develop. 11 men at a time play on the pitch and if you pay £30 million for a player, he’s going to get his chances. Playing a kid like Iwobi, Maitland-Niles, Willok, or Nketiah comes with a risk. Playing Iwobi, for example, instead of buysin a proven winger probably cost Arsenal 2-3 games a season over the last two seasons. Playing Coquelin instead of going out and signing a top level, established player in defensive midfield probably cost Arsenal 2-3 games a year; but if you never give them chances, you never know what they can do.

    Chelsea have not had a youth player come through the team and star for the club since John Terry. Right now they have four of their own kids in the senoir side, Andreas Christiansen (who got minutes last year), Charlie Musonda(loanee), Ruben Loftus Cheek (loanee), and Tammy Abraham (loanee), but how many of them will actually get real chances in the senior team?

    Man United have, historically, done faily well with youth players, and right now Rashford, Lingard, McTomminay, and Jones are United academy kids. jones is on his way out, Rashford could join him, Lingard is doing well and looks like he’ll be a key player, and McTomminay seems to be a Mournho favorite, though why is a bit of a mystery to me.

    Man City haven’t developed a player for themselves since they stopped being the second team in Manchester. They few that have made some appearances for the team have not lasted long. Iheanacho is the most recent, and he’s long gone. Phil Foden is seen as their next great homegrown player. We’ll see.

    Even Liverpool, who have done well developing players like Raheem Stelring, either cannot hold onto their kids or can’t get them in the team. Trent Alexander Arnold is the only Liverpool academy kid that plays with any regularity. The number of homegrown kids playing weekends at Anfield declined as the team got better.

    1. Innit says:

      Really good analysis of youth development

      I agree. There is big risk playing young players regularly. I think Wenger relied too much on Iwobi last season. This hurt us probably

      And agree with Coquelin too. Wenger refused to get an established defensive midfielder like Kante and relied on Coquelin who wasn’t bad though. But Emery getting Torreira shows a departure from that kind of thinking. Actually most managers have more respect for dm than Wenger

      1. Ingleby says:


    2. Ingleby says:

      Jones isn’t United youth academy. They paid a good fee to sign him from Blackburn Rivers where he played in the first team.

      1. Phil says:

        And if I remember correctly Phil Jones turned Arsenal down to sign for Utd.

  7. Valentine chitiya says:

    yes they must be at the club but they need game time

  8. valentine chitiya says:

    yes we need young players but nowadays u won’t win anything with those players

  9. Howard says:

    He was just not good for the EPL.
    Another of Arsene Wenger’s French projects. I saw him play several times and he was just waste of money by the so called economist.

  10. Innit says:

    A few years ago I was excited about Zelalem and Bielik. I wonder how they are doing

    Right now I like Rowe, Nketiah, Nelson, Guendouzi and Niles. Hope we do all we can to develop them to their full potential. Guendouzi looks like hes ready now. Very impressive for a 19 year old.

  11. John0711 says:

    The best we could play would be


    Bel chamb Mov Monreal
    AMN. Özil. Guendouzi

    Lacca Auba

  12. Grandad says:

    Spot on John.The best back four available.Forget about the likes of Mustafi, Xhaka and Kolasinac.

    1. Innit says:

      Bellerin has been rubbish.

  13. DDK3 says:

    Post in and post out we have people on here complaining about the lack of quality and how we need to splash the cash for WC players. Now we complaining that we don’t give our youth enough opportunities. We need to make up our mind, you can’t have it both ways.

    Chelsea and City are constantly criticised for the promising talent that don’t get chances or get sold off (ala Nketiah). Yet the aforementioned clubs spend the money, bring in WC players and win titles.

    The best youth era for Arsenal was during the Emirates years when we had our financial hands tied and provided a launch pad for the likes of Ramsey, Wilshere, Fabregas etc. They did well but we didn’t win anything. We have since been spending more and brought in more established players, therefore limiting youth opportunities, which is to be expected.

    Wenger expertly utilised Europa to reward players that started to beat their chests in the lower levels, which lead to the emergence of the likes of AMN, Nelson, Willock and Nketiah. Their Europa exposure was a big part of why we had a deep run in the league cup. Thanks Wenger.

    Youth prospects are a low cost gamble and if we manage to add 1 or 2 to the senior squad each season, then the system is doing its job in my opinion.

    1. Phil says:

      Why are you thanking Wenger for giving us Europa League Football?It was his incompetence that had us playing in that second rate competition last season and this.
      Talent will always come through if it’s good enough.Wengers record of bringing youth players through is very poor.Not including players that were brought to the Club there is only Ashley Cole.And for all the Cesc’s and Anelka’s I would simply quote Jhorou and Senderos.

  14. LeMmy says:

    1 Leno 12 Cech
    2 ? 13 Maitland-Niles
    3 ? 14 Nelson
    4 Torriera. 15 Smith-Rowe
    5 ? 16 Nketiah
    6 ? 17 Holding
    7 Mkhitaryan. 18 Lichtsteiner
    8 Guendouzi. 19 Osei Tutu
    9 Lacazette. 20 Monreal
    10 Özil. 21 Sokratis
    11 Aubameyang. 22 Mavropanos
    23 Willock
    24 Bellerin
    25 Martinez

  15. ruelando says:

    It is a gamble, most young players need time to develop, but big clubs do not have that time, you either got it right now or you do not. It is a sad fact of the football world.

  16. Diaba says:

    Sometimes we dont put context when discussing players and teams. Give me two names of young players that went out on loan to a relatively strong championship side and was a regular (20-25 games), being first name on the name sheet. Young players need to keep their heads down and work, AMN for me is the best example. He has kept working, when he got hos chances, he used them well, even when he was played out of position. With the current Arsenal youth development structure, only the best of the best will survive. I do hoqever wish we would send more young players on loan when we feel they are ready for first team football before giving then the priviledge of the Arsenal jersey. Good example is AMN, Bellerin, Nketiah, Holding and Mav should ideally have signed on loan with either really good Championship sides or low ranking EPL team(which is now a misnomer these days). Im not saying we dont need them. But if we had done that regularly, by the time they play for the first team, they are more than readt to challenge and actually displace those in the first 11. Right now, despite their promise, Nketiah, AMN and Nelson may get less than 10 games for the season, mostly as subs. But if all 3 go on loan, imagine what they can do. Next season, we REALLY wouldnt need to sign. Even the Bayern program lets players go. Not because they are not good, but because they are not better than some of the other youngsters they already have-“best of the best” set up. We need the same. If we are not careful or not managing our players well, we will be surprised to see Chelsea miles ahead with homegrown talent(they are currently the best youth development side). They are dominating yourh competitions and they are developing first 11 for 5years from now

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