Beyond Yann M’Vila: Ignasi Miquel, Francis Coquelin and Marvin Martin

By Tony Attwood

The demands of work took me away from this article after just describing Yann M’Vila. I also wanted to talk about the performance of Ignasi Miquel, Francis Coquelin and Marvin Martin

But first a general point about the signing of kids, that seems to get some people very worked up.

The simple fact is that unless you want to get a reputation for letting players rot in the reserves (and indeed unless you want to spend a fortune on wages for players who never play) some of the backup players needed must be players who are coming into the team for the first time.  If you don’t do this, they never get games, since you are always bringing in players ahead of them.

Of course this is the Chelsea and Man City way, and I am sure many people who claim to support Arsenal will be swapping to those clubs, as they deliver an approach that is more to their taste.  Personally I like, and have always liked project youth, so I am happy to see these young players come through and get the chance to be mixed in with the big boys.

Miquel needs little said, I feel – his appearance was very positive last season in the cup, and I thought he grew into the Liverpool game.  I suspect he is now very clearly our fourth central defender, and could quickly go up the rankings.

Francis Coquelin has been less in the news however.  But the fact is that on 17 August France lost to Portugal in the semi final of the Under 20 world cup and went on to play in the 3rd/4th place play off.  That was France’s seventh game in the series  – and Francis Coquelin played in all seven games.

In case you don’t know he’s a defensive midfielder who also plays right midfield or right back.  And double “in case you don’t know” Untold has been tipping him to be a first team player at Arsenal since we first saw him a couple of years back in the Austrian training camp.

He’s yet another Gilles Grimandi find, and he has played for France at under 17, under 18, under 19 and under 20 level and last season played 24 times for Lorient in the French first division.

Clearly he needs a bit of a break, but he’s there and ready to roll for Arsenal – unless of course we decide to loan him again to Lorient.  As you can imagine Lorient are desperate to have another season out of him.

Which takes us to Marvin Martin, a creative midfielder, who played for France’s under 21 team between 2008 and 2010 and is now a full international, playing with Sochaux in the first team since 2008.

He has the nickname Little Xavi,  and this year he  joined the full French team becoming only the 4th French international to score twice on his debut (one of the others was Zidane).

He has played 111 games for Sochaux and scored 10, plus has played 3 times for France scoring twice.

27 Replies to “Beyond Yann M’Vila: Ignasi Miquel, Francis Coquelin and Marvin Martin”

  1. Hi, Tony
    I love your rumours but I can’t let myself get carried away. Big fan of Coquelin myself – I think at youth level, he was a better player technically than Frimpers and he was ahead of until Ffrimpong showed he had a stronger temperament in first team games. They formed a wonderful partnership in the youth side which won the double a few years ago. I would love to see Coquelin back, so I hope that is true, too. YG’s Jamie Sanderson seems to think so.

    Regarding Miquel : “suspect he is now very clearly our fourth central defender, and could quickly go up the rankings.”
    Wenger did say that Squillaci had a calf problem. Which of course could be “a *cough* calf problem.” We’ll see. I think Miquel is a perfectly capable deputy behind Djourou, though.

  2. I think Miquel is a more than capable 4th choice center back and will continue to improve, I would save the 17 mill on Cahill as I think without squid we are ok at the back.

    As for project youth, like with most things there has to be balance and perspective. Developing youngsters is great but project youth started a few years back and it seems like we are in year one again.

    “I am happy to see these young players come through and get the chance to be mixed in with the big boys”

    Who are these big boys you speak of? Is it good for Jenkinson,Miquel,Ramsey and Frimpong to all be playing at one time? Would Jack Wilshire have developed as much with a mid-field made up of other inexperienced players?

    My opinion is that youngsters should be learning from players around them and shouldn’t be expected to carry the team. Thats my view but hey lets see how project youth does…….So far not well

  3. Mr Attwood

    As usual, this site takes the view that it’s either Project Yoof or Greek-style debt.

    It’s a wrong assumption. It is perfectly possible to acknowledge that the team needs a balance of yoof and experience. The reality of the world is that a football club a la Wenger is like a pharma company a la GSK or AstraZeneca, whereby the yoof pipeline is the R+D department, the experienced signings are in-licensing products ready for market and 21/22 year old signings are in-licensings at late Stage III clinical trials.

    You go speak to an AZ and ask if they survive without successful products in the marketplace. They’ll tell you they’ll be bust in 3 years. You ask them if they can survive without R+D and they’ll say: ‘well, maybe, but we’d need a good in-licensing department’.

    As you are exhorting others to support Chelsea or Man City, can I suggest that you take personal responsibility for Arsenal failing to reach the 2012/13 Champions League if there are no experienced signings this summer?

    I have consistently advocated 3 experienced signings this summer: a central defender, a defensive midfielder and a 20 goal a season striker.

    That would neither break the bank nor be in conflict with every successful side in EPL history.

    This neither makes me a Chelsea fan nor a Man City fan.

    It makes me a person experienced in the middle, successful way.

    I am also of the opinion that Arsenal FC is not equivalent to ‘English fans subsidising Ligue 1’. That is not in the Constitution of Arsenal FC and it is not a requirement of an Arsenal supporter to immediately expect all major signings to comoe from Ligue 1. Scott Parker’s wage demands are not outrageous, since if they were, Spurs could not afford him; and he would be an ideal interim signing to usher in Frimpong to the First Team. Unless you see M’Vila replacing Song, his signing will ‘kill Frimpong’. Parker wouldn’t. Dear me, Parker is English. Is that an immediate block to his signature?

    There needs to be moderation on all sides about ‘Project Yoof’.

    It’s not either no experience or £200m signings. It’s about a Third Way……….

  4. Agree on all the players. I was actually dreading the miquel substitution, but he looked 10x better than last season. I have great confidence now he will develop into a very good defender.
    I have also been a fan of coquelin for some time now. He’s a bit like flamini to me, which is exactly what we need now. He’s more nimble and less powerful than frimpong, but could be similarly effective imo.
    The signings of m’vila and martin would be fantastic for the club. I hope it happens, but it seems less likely today, as the Rennes manager has (apparently) said no to letting m’vila go. Martin is like a cross between nasri and fabregas from what I’ve seen, and I think he has the ability to score plenty of goals.

  5. @Rhys Jaggar

    Love the analogy with a pharmaceutical company, it is about spot on.

    My post makes reference to balance. I am not anti youth but I am anti only youth. There has to be as you point out a third route. Youth and experience so if Rambo and Jack are in midfield then you want an experienced CDM (parker) if Frimpong is your CDM then you cant play two 19 year old CM

    This seem logical doesn’t it?

  6. I was delighted when I saw Miquel come on. He was very good in that match, he is exactly like Koscielny a fast, intelligent defender with great feet.
    The goal he conceded off Ramsey was a freak goal that can happen to anyone. The second goal he was at fault but you can see from replays if you watch him closely he was dead on his feet. I seriously recommend people watch him in a replay of that goal. His legs had turned to lead and he looked ready to collapse. I think Wenger made a huge mistake not putting on Myaichi or Camberlain instead of Bendter. Their pace and creativity would have had a greater impact than the lumbering Dane who had a few nice passes made to him which he couldn’t reach because he was too slow.

  7. Coquelin and sunu have both been superb. they do not need to have.a rest as this tournament actually started after the summer break. so essentially these.guys could both hit the.ground running having appeared in all 7 matches. my opinion is they should both be in for united coquelin in the team and sunu on the bench ahead of chamberlain and miyaichi. i would also prefer sunu to afobe walcott chamakh or bendtner at the moment for the simple fact he is scoring goals.

  8. Marvin Martin will be a welcome addition but why are we lookin so far? Dont we have Kyle Ebicileo??

    If i’m not wrong, Kyle Ebecilio won the golden boot award in U-17 competition recently, right?? The previous winners included Cesc, Nuri Sahin and Landon Donovan…. So dont u think its time we gave Ebecilio a chance??

    He has shown his talents in the international games…so why not a shot at the 1st team place??

  9. @Byron
    While I understand you feel you’d like experience in there as I would. I think a midfield of Ramsey, Wilshire and Frimpong would be a great one. Wilshere and Frimpong grew up and played together all the way from the youth academy. I’d rather a midfield that gels than a midfield of experience that haven’t played much together.
    From what I’ve seen in the past few games it’s not that we were out-muscled by teams or that we couldn’t win the ball back it was more that our players kept misplacing passes and then not playing the quick pass anymore after that because they needed to see where everyone was first.

  10. An interesting post and I somewhat agree with a lot that has been said. Individually, Miguel looks an extremely promising player and an able 4th choice CB and the little I saw of Coquelin last season seems to suggest that another loan spell should add the finishing touches to his development into a first-team player. I was and continue to be a Wenger supporter and for most parts understand the supposed lack of transfer activity by the club. For those who say that the club has not acted fast enough in bringing in replacements – consider the following:
    1) Wenger had stated very early on that he expected to keep at least one of either Cesc or Nasri with the latter looking more likely. It can be reasonably supposed that he expected Nasri to fill Cesc’s position in central midfield and so brought in the likes of Gervinho, AOX and Ryo to fill in for Nasri and Bendtner in attack.
    2) Jenkinson was brought in as a backup to the ever reliable and his performances in training must have convinced Wenger to let Eboue go to pastures new.

    3) Arsenal play with only one striker upfront and with three quality players in RVP, Chamakh and Gervinho capable of playing in that position we had sufficient cover. The poor form of Chamakh and the suspension of Gervinho cannot justify buying a player.

    4) Central defence is one position where I expected the gaffer to strengthen early on and have been somewhat disappointed. IMO Vermaelen and Koscielny are a great pairing and their early display against Liverpool proved that. Djourou is a capable backup and another defender would have completed the roster, especially since TV can be expected to play at LB more than once this season. It is pointless to pay 15 odd million for a squad player though and no top player would have consented to such a role anyway. A Scott Dann or Jagielka like signing would have been perfect and hopefully we will yet see something of it before the window closes.

    IMO, the ‘crisis’ at Arsenal has been overly exaggerated and it is only the spate of injuries & suspensions coupled with the poor form of some of our squad players that seems to have stretched the squad to breaking point. Having said that, a couple of experienced heads to add more creativity to the team and guide these promising youngsters may be the missing ingredient for success. We must remember though than while Wenger has made some mistakes over the past few seasons, on the whole he has helped Arsenal to keep punching above their weight and there are very few managers, if any, who can come in and do what he does given the budgetary constraints. Matters like transfers and wages are very often influenced by Board policies and there is very little the manager can do in this regard. The winning formula may be the one as suggested by Rhys but whether it is within the power of the club to reach it remains questionable.

    We have come close more often than once in the last 6 years. Let us hope that this time around we can do one better.

  11. Bongo you may be correct but my point is that too much youth may prevent proper development. I think Jack must have learned a bunch from Cesc. Miquel and Bartley are both very promising defenders but they wouldn’t learn as much from each other as they could learn from Vermaelen. My ideal is to have a balance and having three young players run the engine room is a big task.

  12. Yeah I see your point and for the most part you’re correct. Then again natural ability has far more importance in my mind than experience or age. Denilson, Diaby etc played alongside Cesc too for far longer than Jack and they didn’t exactly develop well.
    It is a big ask but I don’t see why it can’t be done, fitness should not be an issue with them, ability is not really an issue with any of them and in my mind they’d benefit far more from playing together week in and week out. I think they’d benefit more into growing into playing with each other to the point where they don’t even have to look around to know where each other before they make a pass. I mean they’ve been playing Rosicky there and he has bags of experience but our midfield looks weak with him in it.

  13. @Twoleftfeet, you forgot to mention that Theo is perfectly capable of playing up front too. All the bad decisions he makes on the wings, may well just be due to the fact that he really isn’t a winger. He doesn’t run at defenders in that position and he never looks to play past them all he wants to do is use his pace to reach through balls.
    I have a feeling if he played the central role he be a very productive striker.

  14. Nobody seems to appreciate that all the other teams who have made experienced signings are guaranteed to win fuck all! All this shouting to sign an experienced midfielder or defender is just media crap. Does anyone expect Liverpool to win anything this year after their £100million spending spree?

  15. @Rhys Jaggar:
    First of all, before I forget, I seriously doubt it that anyone at Arsenal would endorse buying a “20 goal a season striker.” the reason is Arsenal play only one striker, and this means he would have to compete with RVP, who, although regularly sidelined, usually plays at least half the games in a season. The case of Chamakh shows that you can’t actually assure a capable striker will deliver the goals you need. If he has a fluffy start, he may improve when he’s no longer needed. If he has a great start, he could still get fluffy later on. If you want consistent quality, you invariably have to pay over the top, an amount comparable to that ManCity paid for Aguero. And even then you wouldn’t be guaranteed instant results. Personally, I wish Arsenal had bought Gameiro – a young, up-and-coming, fast striker who I guess could also double on the wing. A perfect choice for Arsenal – but I don’t think he liked the idea of sitting it out on the bench for half a season.
    Second of all: one of the things that get consistently overlooked is that despite the mean age of the Arsenal squad, it actually IS a mixture of youth and experience. It’s only that “experience” comes at a much younger age there. So, you have the bearded mentor RVP, his happy-go-lucky sidekick Arshavin, the hard-as-rock TV5, but also players like Nasri, Song, Fabianski, or Walcott, some of whom are established 1st XI, others aspiring to it, but all boasting a lot of experience which clearly shows in play. And now the question is why should we underplay their role when they are clearly the key links in this chain? I’ too, though Arsenal should invest in a centre-half, a holding midfielder and a striker, but now I see that Arsenal may actually need only two new players: someone who could plug the holes in the defence and someone who would replace Nasri if he goes to City. Any further acquisitions would mean that the young up-and-coming players will not make it into the 1st team squad. Is that a problem? Yes, it is, as the cases of Wilshere and Frimpong clearly show. The Arsenal Academy may have started out rather humbly, but it now produces useful football talent on a regular basis. Within the next 2 or 3 years, a number of other talents will be ready to claim a 1st team spot – players like Ozyakup, Ebecilio, Toral, Bellerin… It’s not like Wenger has to make room for them, like it’s an obligation. No, but some of those kids will definitely prove to be worht it, and by letting them through, Wenger will earn himself another set of fantastically talented kids, who would only need a few games in the EPL to establish themselves firmly on the market. Do you seriously think it’s not worth it? Or that you can really do both, lead a team of older, experienced players and manage an academy employing teenagers? I think Wenger is balancing Arsenal right now, and that some more experienced players may get on that boat soon. But if I were him, I would also be loath to reshuffle the players just for the sake of mixing youth talent with an adult latent content.
    Third issue: I don’t get this French paranoia. There are currently 9 players at Arsenal having anything to do with France (6 of them are French internationals) and 7 having anything to do with England (1 of whom is currently not an English international – Jenkinson). Want to get figures for other top EPL clubs? Here you go! ManU has 9 Englanders, Chelsea have 7, ManCity have 10 including Wright-Phillips (linked with a transfer out) and 2 goalkeepers. It’s just shocking how un-English Arsenal is…

  16. @Byron: agreed at least about Bartley, but have you noticed where he takes his lessons? There are no kids at Rangers…

  17. Nasri said something about not signing a new contract until he see’s arsenal bringing in players of a certain caliber, now M’Villa is Nasri’s national team mate, anything here?

  18. But we’re about to see these really good players sent back to oblivion by new moneyed signings. I really want Arsene to have the ‘balls’ to stand against the pressure of signing merceneries. People behave as if Arsenal will not exist tomorrow, well, I really don’t want us going the Leeds way. It can be really painful. As for me, one or two signings together with our new young stars will do me the world of good.

  19. Tony: I cpmpletly agree that we need youth. Now going by my experience of playing semi-pro for 20 yrs I can safely say this. You need at least 3/4 players with experience to guide the boys or they get completely lost. Have u seen the kids being taken out of school for a trip. There are at least 3/4 teachers to look after then and guide them. Kids feel more secure when they have responsible adults around. This is what we need. I believe that AFC is the 1st choice over any other club for any youngester with a future. But at present, we are being used as a stepping stone for bigger and better pastures. We have to have a set up where they know that apart from learning, they will also win.
    When we used to play, we had atleast 6/7 kids from our junior teams and we as seniors looked after them when they played. When any1 was over enthusiastic / rash it was our responsibily to make sure they are calm and play as per the plan. Did any1 speak to Fringpong? NO.This is one of the main reason why i am crying out for experienced players, only then can we move forward.

  20. @Gouresh: where did you get that information? Somehow it doesn’t seem likely at all that no one would talk to a player after such an event. You mean even Wenger didn’t talk to him? Even Pat Rice?
    And it’s FRIMpong.

  21. Edit: your “stepping stone” contention is a bit weird considering that the players that have left Arsenal this summer have spent good 8 years at the club, most of the time being 1st squad players. Prior to this summer most of the players who left had less Arsenal experience behind them and/or were older than 26. Eduardo, Kolo, Adebayor, Hleb, Silva, Reyes, Henry… These were the stars that left Arsenal in recent years, and perhaps only Adebayor ever qualified as a junior Gunner. It’s true “youth” has become synonymous to “Arsenal,” but we’re still a long way from Arsenal becoming the kind of club that produces talent only to sell it to the highest bidder. And “Project Youth” does in no way entail this kind of a development.

  22. This is what I really like about Arsenal. Its about making something, with your effort,With the brain, faith and faultless observation. This group is being casted into a team. Every other club now wants glory on the expense of money. Sir Alex and Arsene Wenger were the youth system promoters, but Alex left the way after three years of barren run. Arsene, for one reason or the another continues.

    My friend, a chelsea fan (Teenager, converted from Arsenal, doesnt know the squad number of JT) is talking about Josh McEachran as the next big thing. He wont be, just because he will not probably play more than five starts and ten Subs.The new boss want trophies straight away, how can he develop Josh.
    Chelsea and City will win trophies, but England??? England will be Shit.

  23. Sorry off topic: Nasri off for 28M Euro to City. The world has gone truly mad…
    Now we just got to invest wisely. and play the players that want to play for the club.

  24. Not bad business for a player with only one year left. And let’s face it, he only played at world class level in the first half of last season. Time will tell if he will be able to get back to that level at Man City, if he gets the playing time in the first place. Instead, let Arsenal invest in a player who does want to commit himself to the club for the long term.

  25. all the young talent mentioned in these articles all going to be great players some going to be world class and we still have so called fans moaning about le boss

  26. “Of course this is the Chelsea and Man City way, and I am sure many people who claim to support Arsenal will be swapping to those clubs, as they deliver an approach that is more to their taste.”

    Tony, don’t you dare insult fans who have been supporting Arsenal for generations. We care, so we too have a right to protest! We are Arsenal fans, not Wenger fans! Wenger is not Arsenal like you tend to think. Wonder what would you write on this blog once Wenger goes away.

    I too respect Wenger for the 90% of the things he has done. But I don’t understand the unwillingness of fixing the final piece of the jigsaw. We could’ve won the title in 2007 if he had signed a replacement for a misfiring Adebayor and the injured Flamini when we were 10 points clear of Man Utd in January 2008.

    We could’ve one last year if we had a decent GK and CB – weaknesses that had been staring in our face for past few years.

    Regardless of his real motivation, if Nasri says that he didn’t see ambition in Arsenal, he had a point! Every summer we lose key and experienced players and sign kids to replace them. Most of these kids would turn out to be mediocre, and the few who turn good soon want to leave to bigger clubs to earn more money or trophies.

    The Wenger model of no big name signing has failed. He needs to mix experience and quality along with grooming youngsters – an art which sadly Alex Ferguson has mastered. But our stubborn manager wouldn’t learn even after 6 years of failures.

  27. Okay, let’s not get carried away about the 8-2 humiliation. Or the taunts we’ll suffer for week for being an Arsenal fan. When Le Boss declars the £90m profit at the end of the year, everything we go through the season (including a very realistic chance of no CL football next year) worth it. After all, profits are more important then trophies right? VIVE LE WENGER!

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