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About buying kids and perception

By Walter Broeckx

What do you hear when you hear talking about Arsenal and transfers? Arsenal only buy kids. I bet you heard that. But is this really true?

I do admit  that the last transfer windows usually were overshadowed by players leaving us. And in the years before that we were linked with young players. And so the perception was that Wenger only buys young players. Now of course he does buy a lot of young players. But some make it out as if we only buy young players and well that is a myth.

Maybe a reason might be that Wenger is successful in bringing those young players to a higher level. And when they go away in their prime or just before their prime it is that we never seem to be able to harvest ourselves.

But let us now take a look at who we bought in the last 3 seasons. And then see if it is true that Wenger only buys kids. And we will only take in account the players he bought for the first team. Not the players Arsenal brought in to start in the academy.

In the season 2010-2011 we brought in

Marouane Chamakh 26 years old (Full int.)

Laurent Koscielny 25 years old (part time int)

Sebastien Squillaci 30 years old (part time int)

Ryo Miyaichi 18 years old.

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Average age of the players we bought was +24 years.

In the season 2011-2012 we brought in

Carl Jenkinson 19 years old

Gervinho 24 years old (full int)

Oxlade Chamberlain 18 years old

Park 26 years old (full int)

Santos 28 years old (part time int)

Arteta 29 years old (not int)

Mertesacker 27 years old (full int)

Average age +24 years.

Last summer and winter we had this as our new players:

Podolski 27 years old (full int)

Giroud 26 years old (full int)

Cazorla 27 years old (full int)

Monreal 26 years old (full int)

Average age 26,5 years old.

 

So the total average age of players we have bought is 25 years.

So I think saying that we only buy kids is nothing but a myth. And I think that a lot of fans still believe in that myth. And if you see at the things I put behind I noted them as full internationals or part time internationals at the time we bought them. And you will see that most of them were full internationals for their national teams.

And when Arsenal is linked with a young player and some start shouting: “oh no, another kid. Just what we needed”. Well yes, in fact it is what we need. Because as I have just shown Arsenal didn’t buy a lot of kids the last seasons and has bought more older players in. And when you bring in more older players you also need to bring in some potential kids at the same time. Kids that know they have to wait a bit before becoming a regular. But they also know that when they perform good they can have their chance in making it in to the team.

I would say that for each player you buy who is around 27 you need at least 1 kid between 16-20 years to cover for that older player. So when this 27 year old player becomes 30-31 years old the next generation should be ready to step up being something around 20 to 24 years old then.

So when you see us linked with kids like Sanogo this is not really to take the place of Giroud immediately. No this is a possible back up plan for the future. Of course such a kid might be becoming better than the older player and then this can only be great as you have more options and more back up players just in case something might go wrong.

So one should be joyful about us buying some young players. In fact when you now look at a player like Bale. If Wenger would have bought him when he was a kid some would have shouted: oh no, another kid. Just what we needed. Now of course talking with hindsight the same say: Wenger should have bought Bale. But hindsight is easy. You cannot buy every young player around. And you miss out on some.

So when I look at the players we bought over the last couple of seasons, I think it would be wise to go out and buy a few young players. And hope they can be prepared to step up when needed.

Of course we should keep on buying established players. And who knows we might even buy a big name every now and then. But we should always keep in mind that we also need young (and cheaper) players to have as a backup. Even as a 3rd backup.

But what is clear for me is that the days of Arsenal only buying young and unproven kids are gone. And have been gone for a while.  But that perception is something that is difficult to change. Until you actually start looking for the numbers. And then find that we only bought 3 players younger than 20 years old in the last 3 season. One could say one per season.

Come to think of it… I find this an extremely frightening low number. Maybe this summer it might be a good time to bring a few extra kids to fill up the gaps that might occur when our current team starts getting older.

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17 comments to About buying kids and perception

  • DR

    Yeah, people are stupid.

    They can stare at facts for years and still believe the exact opposite, of course there are those who are simply ignorant too: Sky Sports said we buy too many youngsters, so we must do, right?

  • Bootoomee

    That is the problem with common wisdom. They are difficult to destroy because nobody wants to admit they were wrong. When the generality is proven wrong, they just act like the fact provider is nuts.

  • nyand

    I think the youth system is part of the answer to the clubs subsidized by Billionaires. If ten brilliant players are annually produced from each youth category, the market will be flooded with talent and thus the ridiculous transfer fees might come down. Experience is precious; but most players like Ronaldinho only performed at the peak of their youth. Rooney, with his weight problem, now seems to go the way of the Brazilian Ronaldo. Goetze and Cesc show that players do not exclusively peak at their late twenties. The only lingering problem is the wage structures between clubs — whereby the kids would look for the best place to make a quick buck. This can be seen in the matter of Juan mata — whom Chelsea might sell this summer. FPP should thus be implemented in a way that would pinch owners like Abramovich. He bought Lukaku only to pre empt Top four clubs, like Arsenal, from benefiting from the talent available at the youth level. Man city also hogs talent that should be playing for their rivals, never intending to promote the lads to their first team. Therefore, it all boils down to the advisers around a youngun. The ox came to Arsenal partially because his Father trusted Wenger would give the boy quality playing time.

  • kaius

    For all the young guys that haven’t worked out we have to stay the course and keep identifying and developing potential. At this stage i’d take Benteke or Isco over Rooney or Fabregas everytime. With Cesc it particularly stupefying to believe the interest generated – we’ve gone from the will-he-go-or-stay summer saga to the bring-him-back-already story, and we should be talking about the next Cesc or Wilshere in our ranks that’s coming through.

  • JohnW

    For me I don’t have a problem with the kids, the only problem I have with Arsene is that he no longer gives them much time to play. And part of the problem has been the AAA, whenever we lose a game, the young players will be the first people upon whom the blame is heaped. If Arsene uses more of these young players, learns how to rotate a team more, we will beat our trophy hoodoo very soon.
    For instance, there was a time when Sanchez Watt was on fire in the reserves, surely at that time he should have been given some minutes in the first team. Bellerin, Coquelin,Yennalis, young Chuba Akpom, Miquel, Gnabry and Eisfeld should all have played more in the first team. When Arsene learns to close the gap between the first team and the reserves, that’s when we will be more difficult to beat, it will create more competition, hence the trophy draught will end.It’s what teams like Bayern and Barcelona are doing and has been successful.
    From the Academy, Bayern has Alaba, Lahm, Muller, Bastian, Badstuber, Kroos and they all play for the first team, there’s another wave of exciting youngerstars led by Emre Can coming in. This is what Arsenal should be doing.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @JohnW an interesting point. I often wonder what is the use of bringing up youngsters only to keep them nailed to the bench. And, I have often admired Mourinho’s courage to make bold substitutions early in a match substituting 2 and at times 3 players in one go. It occasionally backfired on him but it certainly changed the complexion of the matches.

  • nicky

    @JohnW,
    I like the points you make.
    While Arsenal have a rightly envied youth academy, I’ve always been surprised that, percentage-wise, so few make it to the top.
    It’s encouraging to see the second string emerging to play in the Carling Cup rounds, but too little is seen of them afterwards.
    As you rightly say JohnW, the aim must surely be to close the gap between the reserves and the first team.
    If other successful Clubs can do this, we should follow suit.

  • Shard

    OFF TOPIC:

    Just a shout out to all the folk on Untold who live in the UK, and particularly in London. I’ll be in the UK for a period of about two weeks starting from Tuesday. Although I’ll be travelling around the UK in those 2 weeks, I would love catching up with some fellow supporters if they are willing and able to spare the time. Also, any recommendations for things to do there?

    Sorry to use the blog as a personal messaging service but….naaahhh. who am I kidding? I’m not sorry 🙂

  • Hi shard: here U can do a lot of things, but its all subject having good weather. In London U can do the bus tour, there is the river cruise also the boat trip on the canal. The national museum them there is the emirates, and the area around Highbury. But make sure U please the weather gods before u depart. U would love to meet up. Let me know ur program.

  • blacksheep63

    @JohnW makes a good point but let’s look at if from a different angle; when he brought Gnarbry on against Norwich he was roundly criticized, and more first team players were used in the League cup this season because of the pressure to win a trophy.So we can’t have it both ways. I don’t have a problem with Arsenal buying ‘potential’ but now we have the funds to introduce some proven quality I think we should – it will help bring out the best in the youngsters too, who did better when they were learning from the likes of Vieira, Bergkamp and Henry than they have from some of the current squad.

  • Shard

    Hi gouresh.

    Thank you for your suggestions. I should have made it clear that I’m not a complete stranger to London. But this is the first time I’ll be staying in London in the summer, so was wondering if there are any special seasonal events that might be happening at this time. Or any locations that are especially scenic. Apologies for not making it clear. I’ve done the Emirates tour and walked around Highbury. I’ve done the river cruise from Waterloo (I think. Just under the bridge near Big Ben) till Greenwich. Never did the bus tour though.

    I’m not sure what my itinerary in Britain is, since I’ll be travelling around a bit. But I will definitely post a message for the days I’m in London, and it will be a pleasure to meet you, and any other members of the UA community.

  • Adam

    Don’t do the open bus tour they are a rip off,

    http://www.londonbusroutes.net/times/011N011.htm

    Do the number 11 bus from Liverpool street station and it will take in most of the sites, that’s what we did for visitors. Get on the top of the bus at the front.

    Have you done the Old city (Square mile)?

    Or
    Dennis Severs’ House (restored house) see a taste of the 18th century.
    Or
    Chilsehurst Caves, near bromley.
    Or
    Fitzroy House (founder of Scientology).
    Or
    St Katherines Dock (near tower Bridge).
    Or
    The London wetland center (Nature reserve).

    There’s probably loads to do that you wouldn’t think about but, what’s your thing?

    I think you like history? What museums have you seen?

    St Albans is just outside London and is home to Verulamium, Roman ruins and museum.

    There’s loads to do mate, whats your flavour?

  • Stevie E

    Hi Shard
    I would suggest the south bank in London. There is always something going on over the summer in addition to the museums and galleries etc. check out http://www.southbanklondon.com which will let you know upcoming events. Of course, you could always spend £25 and go to the top of The Shard and check out the view from Europes tallest tower. I personally like Greenwich which has a lovely indoor market with great food and bit and bobs to spend your money on. There’s a new cable car crossing the Thames which I’ve heard is great and I think you can use your Oyster card on it… North of the river in that sort of area is The City, go for a guided tour and they’ll take you back hundreds of years and show you the spot where one of Jack the Rippers victims was found. You’ve also got the Tower of London which is pretty good. Of course you cant go to London without going to Camden Market, or Covent Garden, or China Town, or Soho… There’s so much to do! Hope you have a great time 🙂

  • Neey

    My whole opinion on the youngsters is if they are good enough they would make the first team.

    Once they make the first team, exposé them to some games, if they show the ability to hold their own, send them out on loan to a premier league side.

    E.g Wilshere – Bolton
    Sturridge – Bolton
    Welbeck – Sunderland
    Cleverly – Wigan
    Lukaku – Bolton

    I personally felt Ramsey should have spent the season at Fulham (Loan) & Chamberlain (Wigan)
    Miyiachi should have stayed at Arsenal to get a few games in the EPL first.

    There they can try whatever they want with less pressure.

    Just My Opinion.

  • Buying kids discussion has turned into the London tour guide 🙂

  • Adam

    gouresh, it happend before when Anne (whatever happened to her) visited, and I’m sure it will happen again. As Walter pointed out, We are the Arsenal.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, sorry, should have looked at this thread first as my ideas are now a little redundant seeing as you know London quite well.

    People have made good suggestions already. We need to know what your interests are.

    The British Library has free exhibitions which are sometimes interesting. Recently they had the A-Z of crime authors plus an exhibition of some of the greatest treasures from the library including Da Vinci’s notebooks and the Magna Carta. I think the latter is still there.