I am beginning to think that the Arsenal Board and Arsene Wenger already know who will be replacing Le Prof at the end of the season, and they have only delayed the announcement until it was privately confirmed.
Gazidis spoke about the next manager having to be prepared to promote youngsters from the Arsenal Academy, and Wenger has followed it up today by singing from the same hymn book. “It’s very important for our football club to show the young players some faith and trust,” Wenger said.
“As long as you don’t give them a chance – even if you say that you believe they’re a good player – as long as you don’t have the courage to put them on the pitch, they don’t really believe you. At the moment it’s a good opportunity to see how ready they are and for them as well to realise that it’s much harder than they imagined when they’re playing in youth-team games.
“If you look across England, for me that’s one of my main worries. If you look through the Premier League, there’s no young players. Everywhere you have academies, everywhere you have good players but nobody plays. Why? Because of the gap between the youth league and the Premier League and the pressure every manager is under to perform.”
So I wonder if the next manager has been told to concentrate on blooding youngsters rather than buying expensive players from the inflated transfer market, as Wenger also spoke about bringing through Reiss Nelson, who made his debut last week against Southampton. “Reiss can dribble, pass people, take people on, he has a change of direction, good technique, good crossing technique, good finishing technique… it’s all there in the locker but part of quality in life is to produce when it’s needed. That’s why the big stage is so important.
“When I speak about being inhibited, it’s vital that the players turn up in these kinds of games and are not fazed by the pressure. They have to resist stress and still manage to express their talent. That’s what it is about.
“That’s why I want to put young players into games where they’re under pressure, where every movement is analysed and scrutinised. It is part of the learning process to become a football player.”
Even further, Wenger even pinpointed some of our youngsters who could be following Maitland-Niles, Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock into the first team squad. “Emile Smith Rowe is close and Josh Dasilva is close,” Le Prof said.
“Mavropanos as well, but at the moment he is injured, and Osei-Tutu, the right back. These are the players who are close and they need to be developed before we slowly give them a chance.”
So this looks like Arsenal’s new policy going forward is to bring youngsters through more and more. It is an admirable quality if they actually reach that level, but how many games will we lose while we are going through this transition?