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August 2021

One for the future or is there more to come? The tale of Julio and Xavi.

By Walter Broeckx

I happened to mention the name a few weeks ago in one of my articles. And apparently the deal has been finished and we bought one for the future.  His name is Julio Pleguezuelo and he is what is called a higly-rated 16-year-old defender  from Barcelona.  I will call him just Julio from now on if you don’t mind. The name Pleguezuelo is rather long and not really easy to write down.

Now of course I can imagine some part of the Arsenal supporters contingent being angry. “Another youngster” or “just what we needed” or “has Wenger lost the plot we were going to buy big this summer”.  And what do we get? A 16 year old kid. A defender even.  Not a 25+ goal scorer. A defender for god’s sake!” Ok no need to say this in the comment section, I’ve just said it.

Some people will act as if we are on the last day of the transfer market and that this is it. But let me emphasise that this boy is bought for the future. He will go to the youth teams. And we could do with a few new players in our youth teams as we have released more than 10 players who we thought would never going to make it in to the first team.  So we need fresh blood at youth level to get some continuity.

And as we bring him in as a 16 year old we only will have to pay a minimal fee to Barcelona. And if he makes it to the first team we will have a good buy made.

Now I can imagine some saying: “so we bring in another youth player from Barcelona and so when he turns out good he will trot off to Barcelona because he will rediscover his Barcelona-DNA”.   But after doing some research on the internet I begin to think that this will not really be the case with Julio.

My research down in to the underbelly of Barcelona supporters taught me that fairly obviously they don’t like it at Barcelona when they lose a player to Arsenal.

But the research also revealed that he has only been some three years at the Barcelona youth academy. And before that he played for the youth teams of the other local team in Barcelona: Espanyol.  And it seems that his family and certainly his father is an supporter of Espanyol and not Barcelona.  So the chance that he will want to return to Barcelona city exists but then he will be more attracted to the smaller team, Espanyol.

And if he would want to go back one day to Espanyol this could mean a few things. It could mean that Espanyol suddenly is the biggest team in Spain. A scenario that is rather unlikely given the situation in Spain.  Or it could be because after a few years he doesn’t turn out to be good enough to play for Arsenal.

So I got the feeling that if he is good enough he will be happy enough to consider only Arsenal as his team and will not really go back to Spain. Unless he would get attracted by Real Madrid, if he really is good enough.

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I also think he will feel at home with the likes of Bellerin and Jon Toral already here at the Arsenal academy.  They can make him feel at home.  So he will have people around him to help him.

But there might be another twist to this story. A twist that is not really mentioned anywhere. The twist is that getting this boy is just the start. As I said I have tried to sniff around a bit at some places and found where they discussed Julio. And then they came up with a certain Xavi Pleguezuelo.

This Xavi Pleguezuelo is the younger brother of Julio. And rumour has it he has been released from the Barcelona youth academy. And the reason is that Barcelona think he will be off next summer. And according to the people in the know this Xavi (as I will call him from now on) is even more promising that Julio. Xavi is a midfielder and the people described him as a player with a style that can be compared to Bale. I do hope for Xavi he is better looking of course.

This Xavi will leave the Barcelona youth academy also this summer and will return to Espanyol. A decision made by his father they say. Remember not having real Barcelona DNA?  And the thinking is that Xavi will be off to Arsenal next summer to join his older brother.

So we do have not just Julio but might maybe also have some kind of pre-agreement with the parents of Xavi on him joining Arsenal next season. That is what they think in Barcelona and so they decided to not waste any more time on Xavi.

So we might have done another Cesc-trick. Of course we don’t know for sure that Julio will develop as hoped and we don’t know that Xavi will come. But if it all happens as I think it might, you will have read it here first.  Of course.

The feeling is that we have signed a real talent, not a big name (hardly possible at 16) but the hope is that he will develop in to a real star working under the guidance of our youth academy and under Wenger if he can work with the first team.

And if you really want to get angry because of us buying a young kid: just look at the calender. It’s only half way June. And to be honest I don’t really recall any top team having made a big signing yet.

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37 comments to One for the future or is there more to come? The tale of Julio and Xavi.

  • Adam

    Walter, apparently the lad was at Athletico Madrid for a season as well.

    And before anyone asks why his brother hasn’t already signed with us, we are only allowed to sign players from another association once they turn 16. Some exceptions are made for adjoining associations, but the player must live no more than 90KM from the club or something to that effect.

    Walter, it’s these sort of signings that highlight our failings in England to develop our grass roots football.

  • merkin

    This is the advantage that the youth academy gives, the chance to develop the next Wilshire or Gibbs for the first team and not quite Arsenal level players to sell on to recover the cost of the academy. We don’t have to have many youth academy graduates reach the first team to pay for the academy, say one every two to three years, considering the outrageous transfer fees first teamers demand.

  • I don’t know why some Gooners complain when we buy youngsters. Good piece, informative; thanks.

  • nygooner

    I have no problem with bringing in these promising young players (in fact it is essential for the long term). However, what do you make of the London papers reporting that Arsene is refusing the pay the buy-out clause fee for Fellaini? If true this is very disturbing when we fans were promised that we “are not afraid to spend” on the right players. This is beginning to sound like the Juan Mata affair when Arsenal apparently were not willing to pay the market rate. Arsenal are very close to having a contending team imho, its frustrating to see these reports.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    It’s a no-brainer…Just as we have to keep top players coming into the 1st team, so we need to keep top players coming in to our academy. Some make it, some don’t.

  • blacksheep63

    thanks Walter, its future promise but its promise nonetheless. Adam’s point is well made too, we do seem to have a shortage of youngsters England or possibly a shortage of coaches. I read somewhere that Spain have 25,000 licensed coaches, Germany 30,000 and we have just 6,000. If we want to improve the quality of our English talent (for clubs and the national team)we need to encourage more people to take their coaching badges and teach at grass roots. Oh and buy Stuart Pearce a one way ticket to somewhere far far away…

  • Sammy oras

    Well, i hope they turn out to be the next superstars for us

  • Adam

    blacksheep63, agree their is a massive disparity between what England can offer kids and what continentals can. Even down to the quality of facilities.

    When I have traveled in Italy most pitches looked fantastic, same in the Czech republic and to some degree Slovakia, whereas here we still stick football pitches on the side of a hill, go figure?

    With a population of 60million you would think we could provide better facilities for our national game and provide an easier root into the game, but whilst we are importers of talent this is not going to change, and that’s something people need to remember, we are the biggest importers of footballers in the EU and the lowest exporters.

    We had over 30 million people (half the bloody population) attend live matches last season, so the interest is there and its not just the premier league, more people attended the lower leagues than they did the premiership. Our Championship gets more people through the turnstiles than Ligue 1, Serie A, Eredivisie and all other leagues bar the Bundesliga and La Liga.

    why can’t we produce a very long list of talented youngsters? They’re out their they just need guidance and the facilities.

    Maybe we are just observers now?

    Sorry for ranting on Walter but your article took me there.

  • Stuart

    I’ve not seen the report about Felaini and the buy out clause however this would come down to the value of the buy out clause but most of all if the story is even true.

  • Slysoulman

    ‘I don’t really recall any top team having made a big signing yet.’

    Depends what makes ‘a big signing’, Walter. Think Man C (they’re now a top team, right?) already signed a couple.

  • nicky

    A point you missed about Julio which makes me excited about his signing. Barcelona are livid over Arsenal’s action and are comparing it to the sneaky way in which we signed young Cesc all those years ago.
    It makes me convinced Arsene has got a good deal here.

  • sperez

    95% of these youngsters won’t make it. In fact, Arsenal has a poor record of producing players via its academy. Especially when you consider the vast amount of money spent over the years as well as the large number of youngster at the club.

  • FunGunner

    @ nicky
    yes, I read that as well – gave me a warm feeling!

    @ nygooner
    According to Everton (in the original “report”), Arsenal have not even made an enquiry about Fellaini. The rest is spin – you could just as well say PSG or Anki Makachacla are refusing to meet the sum in his release clause, as they haven’t enquired about him either. It may even be that Fellaini himself would like to move (wants CL football?) and his agent is feeding this story to the press in a misguided attempt to put pressure on AW, or to get a bid out of another club.

  • FunGunner

    @ sperez
    June 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    95% of these youngsters won’t make it.
    Because the academy is strong and competition is high. This is good. That’s the whole point – competition makes the players better. We take only the very best.

    In fact, Arsenal has a poor record of producing players via its academy.
    Out of any club in Europe, Arsenal can boast the highest number of ex-youth players in top professional leagues. That is success – we’ve done well for our club and for the youngsters we trained.
    Just in the PL, many teams we face have an ex-Academy player in them.

  • Adam

    Sperez whilst agreeing in general I also disagree. the way you state things is an attack on the club, whilst I agree we struggle to get youth players into our first team the academy does produce players that go on to have a long career in the game.

    The issue is why can’t our youth players make that final step on a more regular basis.

    We had a mini golden period in the early eighties, but only Ashley Cole in the nineties.

    Things are improving but more time is needed.

    I wholeheartedly disagree that our academy is a failure.

  • greencardusa


    And Sperez you have conducted a study on this? A comparative one that takes in other clubs’ academies? If not, would you want to question your own motives? AAh, you will only do this if you value a sense of justice or fairness!

  • bc

    @ sperez

    Our academy is a self funding business seperated financially away from the first team squad and its budgets. The heads of academy brady and court wlthouvh we know that is set to change. Have their own budgets, they have control of which players they sell and which ones they buy. Obviously the might of wenger is used to attract these players but for example the 16 players we have moved on this summer will all produce income for the academy. Even the eldest of that bunch craig eastmond has attracted a fee from colchester. His deal includes add ons like 50% of all sell on fees and a first buy back option as well as interim payments linked to players apps internationql recognition and colchester success. Just like any other business the academy releases players an brings new ones in. 9 new young players have agreed deals already whilst sanogo will make 10. Although he appears to be a wenger signing for the first team not one of burtons boys. Another thing to add. When wenger takes a player to the first team officially. The academy is paid a fee from the first team budget. I bet you didn’t know that. That is why so many academy products are moved on quite simply because they can no longer stay in the academy and wenger does not want to “buy” them from his budget unless he can be sure that he will get some cash back from loan deals or the player will show his worth in the first team.

  • Adam

    bc, very interesting, would you be able to elaborate on this issue. Do you know if Wenger vets any youth signings or is it all down to the scouting network?

  • bc

    Also sperez. I am speaking as a coach here u say 95% of these kids won’t make it? Well I am not sure where u get those stats from? Or what level constitutes making it? But let me tell you if arsenal get 1 out of every 20 kids to play at the highest level (a top league and international football) then that is an absolute fantastic result. I would say that it is more like 99% of the kids won’t make it so of arsenal are achieving that no wonder so many kids want to play in our academy. If u speak to any kid that has ever played at the arsenal academy (me included) there is never any tegret even if theydont make it. I am in my 40s now and apart from some part time coaching (to ease the boredom) longer work. But I have made a living out of the game that I loved and that was all down to academy football. There are not many sports where u can get to retire at 40 having not made it. But that has allowed me to invezt wisely and now I can be with my family 24/7 because I can afford it. Would like to hear back if u make it in your career and get to retire at 40.

  • Darren, you DO know why some Gooners complain when we buy youngsters. They want proven talent. And they want Englishmen. And they are shocked when they find out that precious few players exist who are both. And they are upset that Wenger spends 3 million on a 17-year-old black kid from France. Yet, not once do they say, “Thank God Wenger let someone else spend 35 million on Andy Carroll.”

    True, they say Wenger should have spent big dough on Gary Cahill, and then they forget that both Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are far better than Cahill, something they can’t see because of their blinders which, I’m not going to apologize for saying, might as well have BNP on one side and UKIP on the other.

    And then they say Wenger’s 4th place finishes aren’t good enough, when they forget that George Graham’s last 4 seasons ended 4th, 10th, 4th and 12th. And he didn’t exactly spend big, either. They are looking back on a magical time when Arsenal won when a British manager spent big, and that never, ever happened. Arsenal have won with British managers spending smart, and the truly magical time came with the manager being, hello, the one we have now, that they want so much to be gone. The manager who is doing the best he can for the present while working to ensure that there IS a future.

    They moan about 8 seasons without a trophy. Well, Birmingham City beat us to win a trophy. Nottingham Forest won 2 European Cups. Leeds had a dominating period and not that long ago were in the Semifinals of the Champions League. Wigan just won the FA Cup. Not that long ago, Portsmouth won one and nearly won another. Where are those teams now? Nowhere, because they bet it all at once, and what they won didn’t come close to covering what they lost.

  • sperez: “95% of these youngsters won’t make it.”

    FunGunner: “Because the academy is strong and competition is high. This is good. That’s the whole point – competition makes the players better. We take only the very best.”

    An old song: “One hundred men will test today, but only three win the Green Beret.”

  • Stuart

    You can’t judge the academy a success or failure at this moment in time, it’s still very early days.

  • Bootoomee

    @Ucle Mike (6.33pm),


  • RobL

    @ BC & Uncle Mike, well said.

  • John

    @Uncle Mike and bc:

    Thank you for these contributions, which show a proper perspective and understanding of the issues.

  • Mick

    I have just read this and would urge all of you (including Sperez) to do the same. It’s bloody fantastic.

  • Mick

    Just for a change I challenge you to say something good and positive about Wenger or Arsenal, even if it’s only to enthuse over the soft quality of the loo paper in the Emirates toilets.

  • Stuart

    Good link Mick, thanks

  • Domhuail

    Come on everyone…we all know who Sperez likely or actually is:

    1)A spudsum supporter whose emasculated ego thrives on dissing anything Arsenal.
    2) A speudo-supporter whose suffering from occulitis: rectal nerve crossed with occular nerve thus giving him/her a shitty outlook on life and the Arsenal.
    3) A jealous, under-employed loser whose entire life revolves around some serious mental issues and depressive viewpoints.

    Whichever it is,he is definitely a total success as a loser and a total failure as A HUMAN BEING.

  • bjtgooner


    or: –

    4) AAA troll (a derivative of 2 or 3 above).

    5) paid employee of person unknown who may have a vested interest in destabilizing the club.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice Walter ,hope they both work out for us !Especially if it pisses off Barkalone !
    Lovey link ,Mick ,thanks .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    As for those ill informed AAA types , maybe they could try to listen better and learn ,and not just spew crap .

    Listening and understanding would not lead you to embarrassing situations like this –

    A male patient is lying in bed in the hospital, wearing an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose. A young student nurse appears and gives him a partial sponge bath.

    “Nurse,”‘ he mumbles from behind the mask, “are my testicles black?”

    Embarrassed, the young nurse replies, “I don’t know, Sir. I’m only here to wash your upper body and feet.”

    He struggles to ask again, “Nurse, please check for me. Are my testicles black?”

    Concerned that he might elevate his blood pressure and heart rate from worrying about his testicles, she overcomes her embarrassment and pulls back the covers.
    She raises his gown, holds his manhood in one hand and his testicles gently in the other.

    She looks very closely and says, “There’s nothing wrong with them, Sir. They look fine.”

    The man slowly pulls off his oxygen mask, smiles at her, and says very slowly, “Thank you very much. That was wonderful. Now listen very, very closely:

    Are – my – test – results – back?”

    DISCLAIMER – This joke may not be deemed funny and/or insensitive , and may also be lost in translation in certain countries/continents !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Then again ,there are those that listen but didn’t understand or misunderstood .Like this –

    A very ,very elderly and lonely widow went to see her doctor
    to find out from him the best and sure way to end her life .
    The doctor was very discouraging but finally give up due to her insistence.
    He informed her that the best method was to put a gun just below her left nipple and fire .
    She went home did what the doctor told her and blew her left kneecap off !

    DISCLAIMER – No old ladies were maimed or killed in the telling of this joke !

  • WalterBroeckx

    LOL Brickfields 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    Indeed Mick a great link. Thank you.

  • ARSENAL 13

    people who are surprised that we signed (are going to sign) some youngsters are truly DUMB. What do you expect after a big ‘clear out’.

    I think our Academy and the youth project has been a success. Wilshere, Gibbs, emergence of Yennaris and Akpom is definitely a victory of our Academy. The players like Ramsey, Theo, Ox, Jenkinson, the development of Gnabry, Eisfeld…are all the indicators of a successful youth project.

  • Asif

    @Mick – thanks! Great link…recommend all of you to read it…especially the Ruperts and their cousins…!