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Youth projects, failures and Arsenal

by Walter Broeckx

Yes this is Untold Arsenal but to start this article I will have to turn your eyes to one our rivals in London as Ajax will loan their Serbian striker Miralem Sulejmani out for one season and give him to West Ham United. A fairly modest headline in the transfer period. The fact that West Hame is taking him on loan is yet another indication that there is not much money around by most of the EPL teams.  There is not much movement in the transfer market and apart from City who doesn’t need to care about money the other teams are not buying like mad. No real big super stars coming in for the moment.

But this loan-transfer is somewhat important and could teach us a lesson.

Ajax is certainly for those who followed football since the seventies a name that rings a bell. It was a team that with Johan Cruyff had not only one of the best players in the world in those days but also a team that was built on an new and fresh style with attacking football and based on skill. And most importantly it was built on their own youth. For years Ajax showed the world how you have to educate young players in a certain style and play the same tactics from the youth teams up to the first team.

They had great players and they formed the foundations on which Holland played and lost unfortunately, two world cup finals against both the host teams Germany and Argentina.

Ever since that period Ajax has developed great players and some of the best in the world. Our own Dennis Bergkamp was one of them. Van Basten another all time great. Rijkaard, De Boer, just to name a few but there are many, many more starting from the seventies. But the most important thing was that whenever one of the big names left another youthful player was standing ready to fill the gap.   

Don’t worry I will link this with Arsenal in a moment. Back to Sulejmani. He is a Serbian striker and international  and he was a player for whom Ajax paid 16,5M euro in 2008 to buy him from Heerenveen. He was the most expensive player ever bought by Ajax in their entire history. He was very untypical Ajax that still is relying on their youth program for most of their players. But somehow in 2008 Ajax felt the need to act like the big boys and pay lots of money for a player.

16,5M euro in the Dutch league is an enormous amount of money. I think you could compare this with the double in the EPL. But Ajax did it and the result was that in the two years he played for Ajax he never lived up to this amount of money that was paid for him.  In total he played 68 games for Ajax and he only scored 10 goals.  You could say that each goal cost Ajax more than 1,5M euro.

But now Ajax decided to let him go on loan. In a way it is like admitting failure. It is saying: Well, after all he wasn’t worth the money. We made a mistake.” To make things worse Ajax have had some bad financial results over the past years. They are losing a lot of money (some 30M euro last season) and they are having trouble to keep their head above water. And that for a team that was known all over the world for the good education they give their youth, just look at Vermaelen.

Maybe Ajax will return to the way they have operated in the last 40 years or so and will  be looking more to bring in their own youthful players and give them the chance to become good and not the highly paid for player who doesn’t deliver.  And by doing this they could be hoping to have better financial results in the future.

So what is the link with Arsenal the impatient reader will be asking himself. We could learn a few things from this. The first thing  we can learn from this is:  demanding the manager and the board to break transfer records is not a certain guarantee for success. They did not win the league with buying Sulejmani.

Another thing is that you can never be sure that a player is a success or not. In this case Sulejmanin had played two years before in the Dutch league so he was familiar with the league, everybody knew him, he didn’t have to adapt to the league and still he failed. 

Another thing is that Ajax is suffering one of its biggest, if not the biggest, financial crisis in their existence.  How long they can survive is in doubt. If they don’t qualify for the champions league they could be in very big trouble in the near future. Is it a coincidence that they suffer this crisis shortly after paying the biggest amount of money ever for a player?

Am I saying that we shouldn’t buy any players? NO. I’m not against us buying players. But what I’m not doing is to start crying and order Arsenal to buy players and to splash the money around. No I am asking to be very careful with spending the money. There is an old idiom in Dutch which is saying that you can only spend your money once. Once you have spend it, it is gone.

So once again I underline that I am not against us buying players.  But those thinking that if we spend 50 million in one transfer window and all our troubles would be gone are believing in fairy tales. It could go terribly wrong. And what then?

So I just trust the people who are working on the transfers at Arsenal.  They look at players for more than 1 minute on a you tube compilation, on which even I could look great. No forget this, I wouldn’t look great not even in a 7 second you tube clip. Oyr scouts will see if a player not only has the required technical skills but also the right mentality to play for us and to blend in the team. The management has to see if he is affordable and worth taking the risk.

So let us not pretend to know who to buy and at what price a player is available. The numbers mentioned in the papers is just what it is, paper talk to fill up the “Cesc is going to Barceloanus” gap.

And let us take a look at Ajax to finish this article and remember that their biggest success was in the periods when they almost completely trusted their own youth system. And then look at our own youth system and look at the fact that 3 players who had a big part of their education at Arsenal have just become internationals for England. Two of them almost learned everything at Arsenal.  Why don’t we give them the chance to become better. A chance that could be lost when we buy player X, player Y or player Z for a record breaking amount of money. And with those 2 or 3  at the start of their Arsenal career AND an international career how can anyone dare saying that our project youth has failed.

Like we have said over here on a few occasions before: it is only just starting!

43 comments to Youth projects, failures and Arsenal

  • AndyY

    Hi Walter, I often wondered about Ajax. They were winning trophies and winning championships quite regularly. But went downhill footballing wise after the early 2000 and financial wise recently, I heard it was because of their new stadium, and probably because the Dutch league isn’t as lucrative as the EPL?

  • walter

    For many many years they were unbelievable. When Van Basten was sold they just picked another from the youth team and played on just like with Van Basten. They hardly bought players from the outside. Well they did but most of the team was just coming from their own ranks.

    I think it is this model that AW is trying to bring to Arsenal in the next years. But this will take another few years before it wil really work like it did with Ajax.

    The new stadium is a problem as it costs a lot of money. For some reason, I really don’t know why, it isn’t the money bringer that the Emirates is for Arsenal. I know that they had to change the pitch in the ArenA every 6 weeks and that this was very, very costly and this could be a reason. A construciont fault when building the stadium has as a result that the grass is dying after a few weeks. I don’t know if they have solved this but I know it costed them a lot of money.

  • Sam

    The reason i disagree with you in this case is because when sulejmani was brought he was 19 hence he was still a kid and hardly a “Superstar” hence these transfers of kids can always go wrong you just have to look at anderson from man u. Moreover 16 million is hardly breaking the bank. The type of signing arsenal want are players who are ready 23+ years old who have a proven record. For example a decent recognised goalkeeper like shay given, or a centre back who has experience at the highest level like mertesacker, and wenger should go all out to get these guys and not miss out over 1 million like he did with alonso 2 years ago.

  • indian_gunner

    Hi walter,
    i have been following this blog for a while and i must admit that its brimming with a lot of wise folks.But i would like to mention two things here
    1) you can not take one example and justify what you are saying.It sounds to me, more like a lame excuse for not buying at the right time.No offense,if you get the drift of what i am trying to say is i can take the eg of a certain ronaldo who came to manu for a platry 17m n went away for 80.It can go both ways cant it? When you have such a huge network involving plethora of scouts and a a massive talent pool across the globe then why not go and buy? not every season and not always superstars but somebody rock solid.
    To me we always are one or two quality players short of bein champs
    I repeat, no offense and i am an ardent wenger believer!

  • gunner 71

    Not quite sure where you are going with this because this article sounds very immature to me. 1)The days when teams win with the youth are already long gone 2)We need a goalie and a defender – and there is none in the youth set up at the moment that is good enough now or in the next 3/4 years 3) Wenger has been playing with the youth for 5 years winning absolutely nothing – I beleive 5 years is more than enough time for us to try something slightly different like add a couple more experience into the preent side 4)We should be doing what is good for Arsenal football club and not just for the youth – we are not a youth club.When we get our focus right we might actually begin to win something.

    It is completely negligent that as a football club we have not yet sorted our defence, and we have had all summer to do this. What happened to “we will get it done before the world cup.” Liverpool awaits us, and yet we are going into that game drastically weaker in defence than last season, while our manager was messing about in South Africa – the man does not have a clue.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Fair enough Sam. I can understand what you try to say.

    But when you look at Ajax they were breaking the bank for him. 16M was the biggest money ever spend by Ajax for a player. You cannot compare the money going round in the EPL and the Dutch Eredivisie.

    Yes Sulejmani was young but not unknown in Holland as he played there for Heerenveen in the seasons before. I think many of the Ajax fans would have been very pleased when they signed him at that time.

    One of the things I was trying to express is the fact that every transfer is a 50/50 moment. It can work then fine and hurray. But if it fails you lost your money.

    On the other hand, bringing up a youngster from 10 years old when he is 19 or 20 you know the boy and you also know how he is like in real life. I know not all the youth players will make it but you will know them better and will be able to know how they react to all kind of situations. Just meaning: the risk with a youth player is not as big. I think for the money Ajax spend on Sulejmanin they could have brought op maybe 10 youth players and let them have the chance to deliver.

  • disappearslikesmoke

    Walter, that’s a strong point of view and well expressed. The crux of the problem is simply that of passion vs. belief…i think what makes the EPL so popular is the passion it manages to create amongst fans and supporters the world over. However, passion can be a funny thing, a sort of a double-edged sword if you will. The passion of fans almost demand an acknowledgment from their clubs in the form of loud money splashing. Arsene and Arsenal are trying to generate something more enduring than the hot flash of passion, its called belief. Its difficult and will almost always be greeted with the the sort of questioning that we see and read about in some arsenal blogs.

  • Mark

    I agree with you 100% and I also agree with Sam. Because we need a bit of experience in every department.
    Right now we are lacking experience at the back (CH and goal)!!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Indian gunner, yes I took just one example. Because in the earlier days Ajax was succesfull AND a selling club also. Their best players went away to Italy and Spain and they just took another youth player and kept on winning.

    Since some time they are more a buying club and they are in serious financial troubles.
    I’m not a financial expert as Phil but just to give you some numbers and where you can see that 16M for one player was a lot of money for Ajax:

    per 30/06/2008 Turnover 67,2M Expenses 80,1M = Loss -12,9M
    per 30/06/2009 Turnover 61,9M Expenses 77,2M = loss -15,3M

    per 30/06/2010 not yet official but in the media reports say that the loss could be more than 30M!

    But if you take a turnover of around 65M and then to buy a player for 16M that is a lot of money. Almost 1/4 of your income.

    If I would compare Arsenals turnover to Ajax and the transfer money it would mean that Arsenal would spend some 78M on one player.

  • Davi

    I see another parallel between ajax and arsenal with this story – Theo walcott. I wish wenger would do the same with walcott as ajax did with sulejmani. Had we signed him knowing he was just a promising youngster, and given him time in the reserves, rather than using him immediately in the 1st team, maybe it wouldnt have been a mistake, but we have in fact given him everything (games, money, responsibility in the team) for several years now, and he just hasnt delivered (aside from a handful of notable exceptions), or even looked like improving and becoming a consistently reliable player. Imo the only reason he is still getting games for us is that arsenal cannot accept that they made a mistake in signing him. They thought he was ready-made 1st team material, but he clearly wasn’t. And now they persist in playing him to the detriment of the rest of the side and several other talented young players who could have been getting match time and improving in his stead.
    You can say dont be so hard on him because hes young, but he shouldnt be playing in our first team if he is not ready. I dont say he is not talented, or that he will never be a good player, but for 3-4 years now he has been playing pretty regularly, often playing instead of quality, experienced players like eboue and rosicky. Had carlos vela or jack wilshere been given the same number of first team matches that theo has (over 100 in the league alone!), they would be far better players by now.

  • Filip

    Berbatov had 2 seasons in the premier league,Sam.Look at him now.He was 28 years old so you could say he was ready and had a proven record.I think he will come good this season but he hasnt set the world alight in the first 2.Shay Given has proven that he cant deal with crosses and he never comes out.He is not very commanding in the box either.He is a good shot stopper just like all the keepers we have but maybe our defenders would have more confidence around him.However, the way our outfield players deal with crosses(and not only crosses) will make even casillas and buffon look like amateurs.In conclusion, if we dont get Martin Keown or any other decent defensive coach we will always struggle no matter who we buy.

  • Lanz

    Sam, two years ago, Denilson posted better stats than Alonso- in terms of successful tackles, interceptions and goal assists. Furthermore, Benitez wasn’t going to sell until he was sure he had in his then target and we all know the rest of the story. And @ IndianGunner, we were in for Ronaldo at the same amount but it was the Portugese Assistant to Fergie that tilted the balance in favour of Manure. C.Ronaldo himself later acknowleged, “If I had chosen Arsenal, my development would have been even faster”. The point Walter is making is spot on. Consider the Francis Jeffers’ case. That is why Wenger doesn’t buy anyone they haven’t watched for minimum of two years, even then, what about the Hleb he watched for two years? What about the £30m Shevshenko(whatever the spelling bought by Chelsea? I agree though that we need a MUCH BETTER goalkeeper that would give the back four a lot of confidence, not someone only slightly better. I suspect one of the problems in our defence is the fear of a fumbly goalkeeper.

  • Richard B

    One of the fundamental problems faced by the Dutch league (and others for that matter) is that have not managed to charge enough for tickets to matches. Hence their revenues are low and they are almost forced into a ‘grow your own’ policy. I’m convinced that when Wenger and Dein laid down the strategy by which the ‘new’ Arsenal would be run it was based on the Ajax ‘university of football’ but with a hard nosed attitude to revenue raising which would enable the Club to also operate at a reasonable level in the transfer market to fill in the gaps where that unversity let them down. The unanticipated changes in the market – typified by Chelsea and now Man City – were reacted to badly by others who have got themselves into serious debt trying to keep up. Arsenal have remained competitive thanks to Wengers astute market activities and the increasingly productive Academy. They have not got sucked in like, say, Liverpool have.
    Chelsea are now pulling in their horns and City will have to spend very big on infrastructure to ‘hide’ their player-related ‘debt’. As for the rest, who knows? But the Villa/O’Neil fall-out could be indicative.

  • Bio

    Yes, I get tired of reading from commenters on various Arsenal blogs how we need this or that player, forgetting that it is not like buying lettuce, or that other issues are involved. I very much believe in our way(and that forms part of my passion for the club).
    However I would also concede that we need one more CB in terms of numbers to complete the team, but I would not pretend to know which player is good enough for the team-that is why we have people in the club paid to do that!.
    But people believe the british press and their harping about how The Arsenal does not spend money and repeat same.

  • rockofgilberto

    Walter, I think this article misses the point that most Arsenal fans are trying to make. Only the very foolish among us would expect Wenger to smash transfer records on superstars; that is not nor has it been in many years, the Arsenal way. But we will win nothing if we fail to address areas of the pitch where our youth program has not provided for us. We are extremely light in central defence and even worse off at goalkeeper (talent-wise, not numbers-wise). We can all see this, so there’s no doubt the boss sees it too. But to plaster over these gaping holes for the sake of what is a small sum to the club and presumably doom us to the role of also-rans yet again, I find distasteful. I don’t want superstars or big flashy transfers, just the right players to fill vital roles on the pitch and help us lift a trophy again.

  • walter

    Rockofgilberto,
    I think I have even underlined the fact that I do would like us to buy another CB in a few articles. But like Bio said I’m not going to pretend to know who we should buy.
    I also will not be writing a player off that is mentioned in the rumours like some have done.

    The only thing I want is that when we buy we better be sure, or as sure as you can get when you buy a player, that it will work out. And spending more money on a player doesn’t always gives you more certainty as Ajax has discovered in this case.

    And if we buy a player I will welcome him and support him.

  • rockofgilberto

    @ Bio, interestingly from 2004-2009, Arsenal have had a net transfer PROFIT of 27m pnds. Since all the players who left the club this summer went on a free, and we bought no players in January, and presuming that Koscielny cost us 8.5m, we’re at a profit of 18.5m from 2004-present. So the British press, while consistently wrong about many things, is correct in that view. I suppose a broken clock is right twice a day.

  • rockofgilberto

    Walter, it is true that spending big does not guarantee success (spuds have FAR exceeded us in transfer spending in recent years… I think they’ve exceeded Man U as well). But as you and Sam discussed earlier, buying a 19 yr old for wildly extravagant sums is the equivalent of financial russian roulette. Sure, it could very well pay off, but the risk factor is incredibly high as Ajax have learned to their peril. What I think we’d all like to see is an experienced, quality player in a position of need come in, and if we need to spend slightly more than we would like, so be it (i.e., haggling over 200k with Liverpool for Xabi Alonso, or a similar sum for Schwarzer with Fulham now). Of course we’ll support the team no matter who pulls on the shirt, but it does pain me to see us so close to being a title-winning side to fall short where a small investment could have put us over the top. I’m sure you would agree with that.

  • jeeryy

    Regardless of what some posters say there is undoubtedly more and more fans seeing wenger as weak and while still in the minority it is a fact that they are growing and plenty of ex players see these same issues. The fact is your not a Tottenham fan to see the obvious mistakes and flaws in the boss, your not a fake fan, your a fan who cares. Maybe those who support him unquestionably and they are here, are ones who care more about a man then the club. I dont want rich owners treating us like monopoly, I dont want us as we are either – predictable & sort bellied & settling for mediocrity, I want a manager who sorts out our obvious flaws. I dont think we have one. PS – After all that I will never want us to lose a game to try and prove im right or get wenger out. I hope we stuff liverpool. Dont see it but hope anyway!!

  • jeeryy

    I have drafted up petition which is to be posted soon to the idiotic Board. I also hope that maybe events between now and September 1st will either eliminate of need altogether or narrow the focus at least of the document. Any constructive comments and advice are welcome.We, the signers of this petition come from many backgrounds and nations. The main thing we have in common is we are all Gooners and we all love Arsenal Football Club.And it is that love for our club and our appreciation for everything Arsenal has achieved and represented on and off the pitch that has led us to inquire as to the whether the club is still being led in the correct direction and in the right way since 2005, and in the way we have been assured the club was being led during this period.Most Arsenal supporters – many of those signing below included – have long and happily recognized that Arsenal Football Club is a business to its investors as well as a football club to its custodians – and a way of life to its supporters within the communities of Highbury and Islington and well beyond – and we have respected and admired the Club and the Board’s efforts to balance these varying aspects of Arsenal football Club and to do so in the right way for everyone concerned with the club and its success both on and off the pitch.However there is genuine concern that in more recent times the Board has forgotten its duty to respect and maintain that same balance to the detriment of the football club – and potentially the business as well – in pursuit of shorter-term or less-than-certain goals not in the interest of the football club but primarily and even solely of business shareholders. We are concerned by what we know is being done, more concerned by what we know is not being done and most concerned by what we don’t know is or is not being done, and that we have not been assured of why or how any of it may benefit Arsenal Football Club if at all at this point.We are also concerned that Arsenal Football Club may no longer be the first concern of the Directors at this point or has not been the past several years, and that this trend is continuing, and it is a trend we find very worrying for Arsenal now and in the years to come.It is with those concerns in mind that we seek genuine reassurances that the best interests of Arsenal Football Club short and long-term are being served by the Arsenal Board currently. We seek more than minimally partial replies we have been offered in the past but real answers to real concerns we share that moved us to do this. We seek a greater sense of the actions that will actually accompany the words expressed, as we have found to our great concern that the actions simply have not matched to the words in recent years whether spoken by the Manager or a Board MemberWe simply seek real reassurances that the Board’s goal remains maintaining that balance now and in the future and that we will see actions confirming the commitment to doing so remains real. Assurances beyond what we have been told on several specific points relevant to the football club moving forward. These are as follows:- That the wage structure has not been deliberately restructured to prevent acquiring players of higher quality and development while claiming money is available who would require more competitive wages than this wage structure apparently allows for at this point- That the youth system under construction is meant first and foremost to benefit the football team on the pitch and not solely to increase the Club’s profits from the transfer market annually- That any or all of the well over 100 million in savings now in the bank is intended to go to the football team first and not to shareholders or to help finance selling the club- That the Board is fully behind the manager spending any part of that money as is best for the football team and only behind a manager ready and willing to spend any portion of it that way- That if that money is meant to be used for early debt repayment instead how using it that way is of primary benefit to the football club now and/or in the future and if it is not being used for either at this point why and how that benefits Arsenal Football Club in any way primarily on the pitch- That if the Club is being sold imminently that the Board would publicly commit to not selling to any individual or group of owners who would be using debt leverage to purchase Arsenal. Given the very real problems at Liverpool and the potential problems at Manchester United that have resulted from debt leverage at those clubs we would like to know that the Board consider selling to anyone else using debt leverage unacceptable altogetherWhile the Board or Manager has shared information which could be said by some to answer these concerns, in fact the information too often has too often been incomplete or contradictory, and has lead to confusion, doubt, disappointment and even distrust rising among the supporter base increasing with each passing year. We are certain you are aware of this and cannot be happy with it or how it leads to how Arsenal Football Club, the Board, or the Manager is perceived or portrayed publicly.With that in mind we are confident you would want to provide us these reassurances as we are eager to receive them and solidify the bond between the club and its supporters once more, and to show again that Arsenal indeed continues to do the right things the right way for the right reasons. We are most hopeful that you will be able and willing to furnish the answers we seek and eagerly await them, and thank you for reading this

  • greatnortherngooner

    @jeeryy “That if that money is meant to be used for early debt repayment instead how using it that way is of primary benefit to the football club now and/or in the future and if it is not being used for either at this point why and how that benefits Arsenal Football Club in any way primarily on the pitch”
    ———
    With gems like that I’m amazed you’d think the Board would even TRY to slog their way through this rambling ode to functional illiteracy, let alone take it seriously. And why should they? Perhaps you could find someone who has managed one or two O levels to help you in the drafting.

  • Homer

    i think i just went blind reading jeeryy’s post.

  • critic

    where are central defenders???? all i see in arsenal is players with flairs…..

  • Guns & Roses

    As fan we are not expecting record signing. What is the amount for record signing?

    If we used our head a little, every team in the world knew that Arsenal is desperate for a CB at least. If you approach them for players, of course they will ask for more and Arsenal in this situation should pay a little over the odds.

    Correct me if Iam wrong, you are saying that Arsenal should only buy player at bargain price ort at valuation and nothing more. Then I can confirm that we are not be signing another CB during this transfger window.

  • steww

    Please don’t take the piss out of jeeryy, seriously, I work with kids who have similar learning difficulties. He can’t help it. A little understanding and consideration is all that’s needed.

  • Fem Dee

    Meanwhile, Young Guns just confirmed the following to be in Arsenal’s first team now: JET, Wilshere, Frimpong, Landsbury and Nordveldt.

    Supporters and fans, Arsenal has changed its policy on recruiting footballers into the first team. Period. Arsenal will be promoting more and more from the Youth system into the First Team in the coming years.

    Wenger pushed it; the board bought it. They must believe they can weather the short term angst of the win-something-quickly fans until the new policy start showing great results in the trophy cabinet.

    They must think a new stadium, lower and long term stability in operating costs, consistent quality of playing exciting football and a constant feed of great and exciting youths are well worth the risk.

    Get this: Walter didn’t argue that we may not need to sign a goalkeeper and a CB. Even Wenger says he needs those but Wenger does this business 24/7; knows the issues and factors more intimately and is very motivated to succeed but in a way that supports the long term change in Arsenal’s recruitment policy/focus.

    In my view, it is a good change of focus. I would love to see the team, fans and management have this understanding and pull together more in the ongoing transition period.

  • Guns & Roses

    We are in for an almost predictable season. Iam saying this because I have watched almost all Arsenal matches since 1987. The club like Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd already knew our tactic and weakness very well.

    Hope Gunners are not aiming for 3rd place this season. As a supporter, We should not lie to ourself like those others fans who did, as deep inside our heart we knew the 2 steps as Wenger mentioned is as tall as Mount Everest.

    The pressure is on him to prove us wrong and would like to see that happen. An improvement means 1st or at leasty 2nd position.

  • gooner80

    Hey walter

    as usual you remind us for the need for patience, I agree that just because you spend huge doesnt mean a player is good but generally YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR when aw buys a player for3 million he is buying potential which could end up anywhere.

    the problem with the AJAX system in todays age is

    1) the prem is much more competitive
    2) the prem is more physical
    3) the pressure to succeed is far greater
    4) Ajax’ own decline shows it may no longer work
    5) some players are irreplaceable
    6) the modern game/ supporter has changed
    7) youcant put a price on experience in top level matches
    8) youths make mistakes
    9)the team may never be settled so no cohesion
    10) morale may be lowered because of players leaving

  • IvoryGoonz

    Definitely time to buy Vertonghen .

  • Zohaib Ijaz

    Seriously with all the people crying over the last five years.. give us a break guys…. every clubs has its down times and periods of transition…its no biggy these things happen… just look at those C***ts at Barca they did not win anything for 5 or 7 years straight and write now they are one of the best teams around… it takes time to build… so keep faith with Arsene ( IN ARSENE WE TRUST)… and take my word for it this year we will win some trophy…. trust me i can see the sparkle in the team the only thing missing is a centre half and even if we dont get that then lets just hope that when the time comes Nordtveit can fill in as the 4th choice… Gunners Rule

  • Herbie

    My feeling is that youth based success is cyclical, the mancs had their golden generation, Liverpool had theirs and Ajax had theirs.

    Money needs to be spent on identified weaknesses as each group of youth players come through. The question is whether not buying someone now in case it impedes someone who may make it in 4 years time is worth the risk.

    No one wants record signings just acceptance that there are gaps and things need to be done to fill them. Other clubs seem to be able to manage this and it gets annoying that we don’t.

  • walter

    Ivory, I could be biased on this but I think he would be a great addition to our team for the moment. I think we are folowing him since a while (maybe we discovered him when scouting Vermaelen?).

    For the moment he looks great and he is versatile like Vermaelen in fact. Vermaelen could easily play left back (I like him more as CB) and Vertonghen can play CB, left back, holding midfield and left midfield. For the moment he was played as DM in the Belgian national team and he was together with Vermaelen the best player on the pitch. Better said: the only good Belgian players on the pitch. 🙂

    And he is taller than Vermaelen and for the rest very similar.

    But I think I’m just a bit biased on this. After all who am I to know if he would succeed at Arsenal? I would like it but what do I know.

  • walter

    And to go with my pants down as they say in my country: The loan of Sulejmani is off as he doesnt get a working permit.
    Nice work Walter. LOL.

    Well the now possible loan was just the initial thing that provoked the thought of the article.

  • Adam

    The reason that most of the lunatic fringe are screaming for enormous amounts of money to be thrown at the Arsenal team is that it will make them feel psychologically better balanced. They know there have been problems and they want Wenger to address them. They are terrible evaluators of games and players which is why they are not top football managers. They are armchair enthusiasts who think they know it all and they are pissed off. Some of them actually want Martin O’Neill to replace Wenger. They want something done and all they can think of is to scream into their computers that they want this player or that player because they believe that it will solve the problems. They don’t care whether it affects the long-term financial stability of the club. They just want money spent. Most of them don’t actually care who Arsenal buy, just as long as they buy someone. Some of the abuse I have read over the close season has sickened me because it is so obviously written by fools who think they know better than Arsene Wenger what Arsenal need. I also believe that some of the people I have read are probably insane. Some of them post their first tirade of abuse at 9 am and are still reeling off the same sick crap through the day until midnight. Is the current squad good enough to win the PL this year? In my opinion, no. Do we need a couple of players? Yes, I think so. Are some of Wenger’s decisions strange? Yes, certainly. Does he deserve the vile and quite sick abuse aimed at him? No. Absolutely not.

  • anders

    If any other team needed Arsene’ expertise it’s Ajax. Maybe we should hook up with them, give some advice on how to run things and exchange/loan a few players each season.

  • jeeryy

    As usual the replies are without base and where there is no clear answer people result toinsults because they don’t have a brain cell to think and go baa behind wenger the dictator. two whole months have passed and now, with a couple of days to go to the new season, I can feel the red mist descend before my very eyes once more as the GIC sleepwalks into another term on the back of another hugely disappointing transfer window, unmanaged by Gazidis and his faceless boardroom pals and full of the usual self-praise for the state of our wonderful youth academy and sustainable business model.Now, a number of the Wengerites begged us to give him “one more year” (for the third year in a row) and that this time he really had learned from the previous season and was about to put right all the ills from the previous year (just like he was going to when United stuffed us in the CL semi the year before, and the year before that when the title challenge collapsed in the final three months).So where are we now ?GOALKEEPERWe’ve spent the Summer dicking around wondering whether the “right price” for a late-30s something Australian is a bag of conkers, £3.99 or a packet of wine gums. The Australian who at the end of last season looked every bit his age (remember the final game of the season) and had a shocking World Cup.Even worse – the hopeless Polish goon appears to have edged himself closer to the number 1 jersey (no doubt to the delight of the Almunia bashers). This is a guy who costs us at least one (and sometimes two) cup exits per season single-handedly, embarrasses himself repeatedly (Blackburn away, Wigan away etc) and carried on his series of one-man failures against AC Milan and Legia pre-season.DEFENCEAs per last season our outflow of defenders has outweighed the inflow. Now I’m no fan of Senderos, Silvestre and to a lesser degree Campbell, but the fact remains that we are treading on the same rake as last season (or more appropriately the GIC is treading on it yet again).Djourou is going to be injured off and on after missing a whole season and the most promising centre half in reserve has been farmed out on a season long loan.No doubt though that Jagielka is on his way, knowing Arsene’s love of signing Englishmen for £15m +MIDFIELDShock horror – we have four central midfielders injured in late pre-season and isn’t it surprising to hear that three of them are “two, maybe three weeks away ” (nine weeks ago). Diaby, Denilson, Song no doubt suffering from weeks of gardening or those exertive World Cup campaigns for France and Cameroon. Poor old Aaron’s out till November too. Still we’ve got a highly motivated captain fresh from winning the World Cup itching to contest for a fourth place finish, so all’s rosey in the gardenSo we’re set for the Wilshere and Frimpong show at Anfield on day oneATTACKThankfully the unfortunate, but utterly ineffective Eduardo has been moved on. Sadly the same can not be said of Vela, but with the Carling Cup 3rd round only a couple of months away, there’s a showboat and a clever chip of the keeper just round the cornerWe’ve bought (well not actually bought but picked up) someone who is brave and can head the ball accurately (at fucking last), but sadly only scored 2 goals with the lower half of his body in domestic competition last year. But, I am delighted he is here – welcome aboard Marouane – a CL standard signing has joined the club. A rare pleasureBedntner is injured. RvP will start slowly and gather pace towards October when the Netherlands will play him for 90 minutes in a meaningless friendly resulting in the inevitable leg break. Arshavin is showing the same desire to grin inanely as the ball trickles under his boot for another throw in (accompanied by gormless grin), and Walcott is still showing a fantastic ability to run at pace in straight lines

  • Shard

    @jeeryy

    yaawwwwnnn

    try paragraphs.

    like this.

  • wen_detta

    jeery..u r not alone..i really hope Arsenal got a cup this year..just hope not convince..spend wisely arsenal!!! for us will get nothing if we not win anything..

  • steww

    Adam – superb post absolutely says it all. Jeeryy – no one reads it, trust me you’re wasting your time.

  • AndyY

    I think it really boils down to ROI or Return of Investment. Bringing in a player that improves the team and not bankrupt the club. Spending money or investing in youth is only a process. If spending 50 million on a talented player wins the club something. AND the winning brings in more than 50 million back into the club, then the investment is positive. Of course, investing in youth is still the best bet for winning trophies and staying financially sound.

  • podge

    Barcelona are winning with a youth system Lyon are winning with a youth system Bayern Munich are winning with a partial youth system Man city got back to a good premiership level with a youth system. Of the 30m players Manu were signing every summer for the best part of a decade how many were a success? and they were supported by the products of a youth system.At Arsenal Arshavin was a big name big money player and to be honest if he stopper playing nw he would be regarded a flop, Vermalen was virtually a no name cost 10m and was a raging success. Cesc Fabregas came through the youth system and he is our best player. Look at the squad of any team in Europe and find out how many of their top players were signed for 20m+ after they turned 25 the answer is not many

  • goonergerry

    AW is not a fool-he is simply not going to buy a player he and the Board cant afford.

    The most Arsenal have ever spent on a player is 16.9m GBP for Arshavin. We simply have not spent anything approaching 20 million on players and we could save ourselves a lot of angst if we accepted that when Wenger says he does not buy stars he makes them he means it. We are not going to buy anyone costing 20m or over-ever. We are not going to buy Ozil because his salary is so high the club cant afford it.

    That of course does restrict the options-so when Wenger declares that the defence is short he really means- who can we get who is good and is not going to cost more than 10-12m GBP?
    Well in England its virtually no one-anyone from Man City would not accept a salary cut-We have to go elsewhere.

    It is so true that paying large sums does not automatically guarantee success-but it is equally true that no club yet in the top flight has managed to meet all of its needs through youth players alone. It is also apparent that there is a correlation between buying players and winning trophies-otherwise why would Chelsea and Man U have done it? Yes they proved that with good management it can work-but its not the only way-and it is not an option for a club who has just spent millions on a new ground.

    Its really difficult to see how Arsenal can win anything with the defence we have. But that could change with the purchase of literally one or two players – and there is still time.

  • Zulu Gooner

    Great Blog – as ever