Arsenal’s Golden 30. There’s so many brilliant reserves we need a new training centre


Untold recently published some thoughts on the players who are part of the club and could be on the edge of breaking through.  I asked for gaps in the list to be completed and for the details of loans, along with thoughts on the future to be added.

Below is a simple compilation of the thoughts and ideas sent in.  I am in fact running the piece again, simply because the results, when seen as a unit, are overwhelming.

And I can add that if you sent in an idea and I have not listed it, my apologies – it proved a bit difficult to pull everything together.

The list, as far as it has got, is below.  But it is not complete – please help add more information and ideas.  It is being kept on the site as a permanent feature so that we can keep upgrading.  I like the notion of their being 30 men on the list.  My thinking is that if some of the names do fade out (and one or two are listed with a suggestion that this is so) we find someone else to replace that player on the list.

Arsenal’s Golden 30

But before we get to the detail, just contemplate what we have got here.  None of the 30 players listed below are in the first team regularly, but many could be in the next year or two.

The point is that when these players are a year or two older, just think of the options and choices we will have.   We’ll have

  • The double first team squad we need,  to cover the fact that they will be subject to Shawcross style assaults
  • A double Cup team to play in the FA Cup, Diddley Cup and odd Champs games
  • A team of young players who can turn out for England other countries.

And that reminds me – can we clarify the nationality (in football terms) of each of these players.  I’m guessing at some.

Here’s the list…

  1. Ayling – Yeovil – certain for bigger things.  England
  2. Barazite. One season too early I think.  Had a bad injury for a while, now battling back.  Holland
  3. Bartley – Sheffield Utd – in the squad for next year, been doing really well at Sheffield United recently; back up CB Carling team.  England
  4. Bothello.. Celta Vigo (i don’t think is quiet good enough – or not good enough yet).
  5. Chesnay…Brentford (future Number 1 ) definitely the forgotten man off the original list.
  6. Coquelin. I thought he could come through this year, but he didn’t.  Surely not another year in the reserves?  I really think he is a talent – it just depends how long it takes to finally make it to the top level.  I hope he stays.  France
  7. Cruise. Too early for him, but in the Diddly Cup team for sure.  England
  8. Djourou – I just want him to be there as the backup to Gallas/Vermaelen.  I have no idea what goes on inside Gallas’ head, but he really ought to understand where his best interests lie.  But if h goes Djourou should be ready to step up.  Switzerland
  9. Eastmond. I sure didn’t see his promotion to the first team come through.  But there he is, and building his strength all the time.   A few more games next season I imagine.  England.
  10. Freeman who is improving in every game.  England.
  11. Frimpong.. he needs as many chances as Eastmond.  England.
  12. Galindo (don’t know if he will need to go on loan to Spain next season though to get his EU passport).  Bolivia.
  13. Gibbs – trouble is where does he play?   I can imagine him being in the England team and not the Arsenal team.  Actually that could mean at last that we welcome internationals, as a chance for our reserve squad to get a game.  England.
  14. Gilbert… Peterborough (leaving).  England.
  15. Hoyte – Brighton.  England.
  16. JET – Doncaster.   Oh yes – he really ought to be breaking through somewhere – not least because he can play every position under the sun.  He is getting great reviews. Doncaster is the sort of club that sounds like it should be in the obscurity of league 2 but with JET playing well they are surging up towards the Championship play-offs.  English.
  17. Lansbury..watford on loan.  Maybe another loan.  England.
  18. Merida. So what’s he doing?  Going to the Athletico Madhouse, or staying with sanity.   That goal he scored against Liverpool (I think) was something special.  Maybe we could play one team at the weekend and the other midweek.  Just to give everyone a chance.  Spain
  19. Nordtveit, I know that he’s not doing really good in Nurnberg, because he doesn’t get the chances.  Another loan.   Holland.
  20. Ozakhup young Dutch international
  21. Pedro – Salamanca
  22. Randall…MK don (leaving).  England.
  23. Simpson. Is he turning out to be not quite good enough?  I am not sure.  Problem is he has got so many other people blocking his way through at the moment.  England.
  24. Sunu is way too young to break through.. it’ll be early.. if you throw him in now he’ll find it hard to adapt to the physicality.. but surely in the diddly cup.  France.
  25. Szczesny. Brentford.   I really think Szczesny might be taking over from him soon, maybe as soon as next season. He looks like one of those rare goalkeeping early-developers like buffon, akinfaev, cech or lloris.  Poland.
  26. Traore. again, I don’t   know where he will play.  But on the basis that we need two or three teams, and given that he can play midfield or full back, I guess there is a chance of some games.   Come to think of it, we are going to have a second squad that ought to win the League Cup this coming season.  France.
  27. Vela.  2010/11 must be his year, surely.  Mexico
  28. Watt. Been on loan at Southend for a month where he got four games.  Just returned.
  29. Wellington Silva. Young Brazilian striker who is currently playing for Fuminense in Brazil.  Joins Arsenal in January 2011.  Brazil.
  30. Wilshere. the time out doing his stuff in the lower part of the league will have done him no harm.  And if he has learned that he just has to come on and play, then that will be fine.  No fancy tricks, no Bergkamp finishes, just play the game, and you are there.  England.

Please add names, correct errors, add positions (sorry I forgot to do that) – anything.  This list will stay forever as one of the permanent pages listed on the home page.

It will also be a permanent testimonial to the Wengerian revolution, to our youth policy, and to World Wide Scouting.

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58 Replies to “Arsenal’s Golden 30. There’s so many brilliant reserves we need a new training centre”

  1. lol, Szczesny’s made the list twice! Taking the fifth and twentyfifth spots!

  2. Ah so you spotted my deliberate mistake… (errrr)

    So, we need another player in to keep up the 30.

    Any suggestions

  3. Nordtveit is Norwegian I think, Wellington is currently at fLuminense, Botelho is Pedro, & I personally reckon Hoyte will be let go this summer…

  4. which ever of these players break into the first team we can look forward to 12 to 18 months of “le Grove” telling us that they are not fit to wear the shirt and should be sold to the tots.followed by a period of quiet where no one admits that they no nothing about football compared to A W .Is it just me who thinks those D & G merchants should at least hold thier hands up ? Sorry to harp on on this great site but ,they are tossers

  5. Chuks Aneke – young english central midfielder currently playing outstandingly well at U18 level.

    Benik Afobe – his scoring records at all levels speak for themselves. Young English striker, may get carling cup time next season, though likely from the bench.

  6. Two duplicates – Chesney and Pedro (Boetelho). I would bring in Chuks Aneke and Benik Afobe as those two look the likeliest to step into the League Cup side next season from the current U18’s.

    Players who will go this summer:

    Gavin Hoyte – not even playing for Brighton. See ya’. Will go the way of his brother.
    Jay Simpson – was never good enough. His Englishness fooled people for a short time. Will be a very good Championship or lower level PL player though.
    Luke Ayling – this time last year I thought he might make it but I no longer think so. Just doesnt have the pace although he has a great attitude and will be a solid Championship level player.
    Pedro Boetelho – attitude, attitude, attitude.
    Kerrea Gilbert – seems he has been around forever. Could have been a good one.
    Mark Randall – just not good enough.
    Fran Merida – I like Fran, but he isnt going to EVER be a regular at Arsenal. Let him go back to Spain and follow his dream.

  7. Phil – great minds think alike.

    Zak Ansah would be another good one. Trouble with him is his allegiances and what happened at The Emirates and on Twitter earlier this year.

  8. I don’t understand why Jay Simpson was signed up on a new long-term contract if he won’t get any chances. He’s not 16, he’s 21 now, isn’t he??

    I only saw him once, in that Carling Cup game against Wigan when the kids trounced Bruce 3-0. He scored two and hit the bar with his 3 chances. He’s like Emile Heskey but scores more goals. Seen him a few times on QPR highlights as he’s scored quite a few.

    The only player like him in the squad at the moment is Bendtner.

    My take is: he needs a chance to try for the 1st team squad or he might as well be allowed to succeed elsewhere…….

  9. Sessegnon plays for PSG. He has a long-term contract. No chance of him leaving PSG. The tabloids were full of him last summer because his agents were trying to get a new contract out of PSG and were touting him around to any interested buyers at a very cheap price, because his contract was about to run out. They succeeded. He would cost a lot of money now.

  10. Rhys – you have to sign up these young players to long-term contracts so that you can get a transfer fee for them when they leave.

    With Chamakh looking likely to come in, Simpson is not going to get a chance. He is decent, nothing more.

  11. Hey there , just wanted to say that I think this is one of the best arsenal blogs/site around. Does anyone know what happened to Galindo? he was caught up in a passport scam and went off the map after that..? I’m looking forward to seeing him and Wellington Silva tearing up the field together.

    Keep it going GUNNERS!!!

  12. Presumably you’re writing to Sepp Blatter and the FA to inform them that ‘international football’ is now on a par with the Carling Cup??!!

  13. Paul C

    This site’s been saying that all clubs except Arsenal FC are bankrupt, so how is signing Simpson on a long-term contract going to extract a bigger fee??!!

    Arsenal are going out there on a fire-sale freebie this summer, so who’s gonna pay £3m for Simpson, eh??

  14. Obviously I have no direct line to the Lord Wenger’s thinking, but he does often do long term deals on players he thinks will grow in value. The most obvious cases at Henry and Vieira, whose value shot up over the years – I am not saying Simpson is like this, but it could be that, like Bendtner, he needs some games and then we see what’s there.

    Bit like Anelka, signed for £250,000, put on a five year contract, sold a year later for £25 million.

  15. What a great list. And if you think of the young age most of our current first team players have, it will be hard for them to make it unless they have some patience, or we have many injury’s.

  16. Could we not re-open Highbury as an extra training ground ? There is some room in the middle of the park.

  17. Rhys – I think 3m for Simpson is a bit ambitious. If we get 1-2mill that will be a good price. There is always someone willing to pay that kind of money for a good player. What has to stop is mid-level clubs paying 5-10mill for mid-level players (Hull buying Bullard for example, or Portsmouth’s splurge a few years ago). We dont need to sell anyone, so if someone wants Simpson they will have to pay a transfer fee.

    The point is simply that you have to sign these kids onto long-term contracts when they are 19-20 since you have no idea how they will develop and you dont want a good one to get away cheaply. Arsenal have been doing that in the past few months with a whole load of the young players such as Eastmond, Bartley etc. Some won’t make it, and if you can get ANY transfer fee then that is great. Some will JUST miss out, and for those guys you might get 1-2mill, such as Simpson. Others will just want 1st team football, such as Bentley, and we’ll be able to get more in fees for them (we got 15million for Bentley when all sell-on fees are included) and the money you get from those guys generally pays for the ENTIRE youth system for a year. But 20-24 is generally the age when footballers progress into the 1st team squad (great ones come through earlier) so at that age you’ve got to have them signed to long-term deals.

    I just dont think Simpson has developed in the 16 months since he signed his new contract. Lack of development is the one cardinal sin when it comes to young players.

  18. The future is really very exciting, isn’t it? All these young players coming through; how in heaven’s name are we going to accomodate all of them? I seriously believe that Arsenal needs to start thinking about registering in another European league to nurture these many talents.

  19. Pedro Botelho—Brazil; You can add Roarie Deacon–England–striker;
    Conor Henderson–England–Center-mid; Ignasi Miquel-Spain–Defender(another one we stole from Barcelona)

  20. Very good article – as always.

    I often ask Wonderman what our busines model will be going forwrads. We earn so much money each week, but we don’t seem to need any new signings over the next 5 years.

    Surely/Shirley? it can’t all go on wages, once the debts are repaid..??

  21. Agree with the calls to include Benik Afobe the boy loves a goal.

    Another young keeper we have signed is the Argentinian Damian Martinez I don’t know much more than that on him unfortunately.

    Roarie Deacon had a good start to the season to not sure where he will be next year probably reserves maybe a loan move?

  22. With youth players who don’t quite make it, our usual policy is to sell them on at a relatively low fee, with high sell-on clauses. This makes them initally cheap, meaning they generally go to a smaller club and get game time, which boosts their value. When they “outgrow” the smaller club, they are sold on and we take a tidy cut of the fee.

    Bentley is the best example of this, though there are others.

  23. Thanks Phil, you made my point for me.

    I read Le grove the other day, for a bit of angst, and they were at pains to complain about the ridiculous amount we pay young players, ludicrous contacts and the waste of money that is the youth system.

    Given that Le Grove undoubtedly have no idea what the financials of the youth set up look like and that the first wave of players are still yet to come through it is all specious bullshit.

    Then the other point is that Bentley probably made us 15M in profit – he isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last player with a profitable sell-on clause.

    The model works.

  24. I don’t know why some of these players suffer. Simpson has not had a chance yet. He’s been scoring goals and needs to be offered opportunities to prove himself. Nik got that and has improved. Eduardo is struggling and may not be part of the team if Chamakh signs finally. Eduardo is 30 next season and with his injury, doubt he has a future here but why not give Simpson some tries. Simpson is also good at the wings and has the power and pace suitable for the EPL.

  25. Barbados is back from the beach!

    Is that deliberate misinformation?

    “Eduardo Alves da Silva (born 25 February 1983 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil),
    commonly known simply as Eduardo…”

  26. In case you get confused Barbados,

    2010-1983 = 27/28.

    You do know that Bermuda & Barbados are not in the same location, don’t you?

  27. Was hoping Jay simpson and Carlos Vela to play more but both never got their chances.Better next season guys.
    Wellington Da silva is the new ronaldinho!

  28. Nordveit is not doing too bad at Nurnberg, he’s been played out of position, which should do him some good, a la Song. Boethelo has also been pretty good this year, I know his club haven’t set any records but, left back isn’t the most influential position. It is going to be difficult to cull some of these as there’s so much promise. I’m glad Wenger re-signed Campbell, his performances proved that players should be welcomed back, if beneficial to the club. Maybe he could sell them with buyback options.

  29. I check some info about Håvard Nordtveit again and I think that he will made it at Arsenal. I read from some blogs that he’s doing so well at Nurnberg. But we should be aware that the guy is just 19… and there are not many players that AW would loan out for the whole season to a Bundesliga club (I mean, it is the Bundesliga, not the Championship). This should show how highly Nordtveit is rated and that he is supposed to have a strong character.

    By the way, making 16 appearances (12 starts) in the Bundesliga at 19 is not that bad for a defender (who can actually play as center back, full back or DM), is it? It looks like he was injured as a new manager was appointed and it doesn’t help. But for the last game, he was reported to be back on the bench. When compared to other defensive prospects (except Djourou who for me is an established first team member), the Norvegian is actually the most experienced there with almost 50 first team appearances in the elite of different countries.

    I really like this blog, undoubtly the best around when talking (in a very entertaining way) about football money and culture in England. Well but there is some homework to do when the topic changes to Arsenal reserve and youth…

    Don’t mind… The upside is: people like me feel they can also have something to say. Just hope it won’t result in a loss of quality…

  30. Pedro is Bothello. But how about the two finest young players at arsenal in Benik Afobe and Chuks Aneke. they may be young but they’re the same age as Freeman and only a year younger than Wilshere. Plus Gibbs could be considered a first team regular already this season. How about Rhys Murphy maybe. I do like the look of Bartley, he could turn out to be an England International and hopefully at that time he’ll still be with the gunners

  31. I meant: I read from some blogs that Håvard Nordtveit ISN’T doing so well at Nurmberg…

  32. Well said Jonny, I can;t fasthom why anyone would question it.

    My point though, is that we have an absolute conveyor belt of top talent on the way through, and like you say we even make money on the ‘failures’.

    So we make shed loads anyway, (almost?) don’t need to buy anyone for the foreseeable future , and have a few we can sell on. What will a ‘sensible’ club like Arsenal do with so much cash washing around, on the basis that we aren;t going to start paying anyone £200k per week.

    I also read that Le Grove article… left me speechless. I’ve asked Geoff more than once why he’s always kicking the club he loves.

  33. rhys Murphy. Striker – England
    not sure if he has been included. If so I apologise.

    Ps le grove is an embarrassment to the Arsenal establishment. Forever slating Denilson who on all accounts played a blinder on the weekend

  34. Sharkey – you ask a valid question, and here is what I think (this is purely my personal view):

    The club will gradually increase wages in line with revenue growth, always maintaining a fixed % of wages versus turnover that ensures a healthy balance sheet.

    The profits we have made this year and last are distorted somewhat by the property deals we have. Once those have gone through the system we will probably settle down to a profit figure of approximately 10% of revenue (so if we make 200m in revenue, we can expect 20m profit etc etc). That is a healthy figure and the majority will be made available to the manager on a yearly basis (75% of it for instance). If the manager wants more transfer money he will probably be expected to generate himself (i.e. AW’s current surplus from the Toure and Adebayor sales). The remainder of the profit would probably be put into infrastructure projects on a yearly basis (improving The Emirates, Training Complex, etc etc).

    That leaves our current 100million cash pile we are sitting on right now plus the further 50million or so we can expect to see from the completion of the property deals. What do we do with that? I would imagine the club will just sit on that money and earn nice interest. It would be too easy to spend all that money but that would be short-term thinking and our club has never been about the short-term. We are doing great at the moment and making lots of money but what about that day down the road when we dont qualify for the Champions League or some other disaster? What if we ever get relegated (God forbid!!!! Knock on wood!!!)? Those things seem silly to think about now but wouldnt be great to know as fans that if our club ever got into that kind of trouble we had a large nest egg just set aside to cover any such eventuality. That is a smart way to run a business.

    There used to be a company in the UK called GEC. They had a brilliant CEO named Lord Weinstock who was constantly criticized for sitting on a massive cash pile that he had built up over the years. “Spend the money” people cried. “Buy something” they yelled. “Invest in the future” the screamed. Sound familiar? It didnt matter that GEC was one of the biggest and most respected companies in the world. They had money and it should be spent, to get bigger. In 1996 Weinstock retired and his successor thought it prudent to spend the money the company had so patiently built up over the years. GEC went on a spending spree, rebranded themselves, changed their name to Marconi, and by 2005 was bankrupt, split apart and sold in small pieces to whoever was willing to bid a couple of pennies for the company. One of the UK’s great, great companies, a business that supplied the British Army for years with high-tech goodies, a rich, rich company had taken less than 10 years to ruin even though when Weinstock had retired the company had over 3billion in the bank account.

    The moral of the story: sometimes it is smart to just put your money in the bank and wait for that rainy day to come. If it doesnt come then you are no worse off. But if that rainy day does come, it is good to be prepared for it.

  35. As ever Paul your comments are more than worth reading. I agree with everything you’ve put there. However I don’t doubt that we are ahead of the schedule in regards to paying down the debt. This is ultimately where much of Arsene’s generated surplus has gone to, and he therefore will benefit from the money saved on interest payments.

  36. Phil – 100% agreed. As our revenue grows our interest payments will decrease as a % of revenue (and in real terms as well) and that will obviously free up more and more money. That is why I put % as much as possible. I dont think it would ever be the case that the manager would receive 100% of the profit in any year to spend.

  37. Thank you to everyone for all the suggestions which I will incorporate into a new golden 30 – although I am starting to wonder that we might have more than 30, even after I have removed my double entries and other mistakes.

    It is even more of a stunning list that I thought in the first place

  38. Aneke. He will be another Diaby / JET in the making.

    Also don’t forget Afobe who I regard as almost good enough to make 1st team.

    Aneke and Afobe are the only two players described by Wenger as perfect.

  39. It’s an extremely impressive list but I do feel we should make it more systematic. For instance, it should have the age of each player, number of years at Arsenal, position(s), current level (U-18, Reserves, loan, first team, etc), medals if any (FA Youth Cup, Academy League, etc) and number of appearances at various levels.

    This would make it better than an opinion piece. When we see so many names it’s easy to lose track. For the feel good factor this looks good but doesn’t really have an objective impact, which is something I associate with this blog.

    Since you want to make it a permanent fixture (a great idea), the more structured it is the better it will be. Makes sense?

  40. 8 inch knob – nobody knows who the two exact footballers are that AW described as “technically perfect” two years ago. They were 14 at the time so it wasnt Afobe or Aneke. Most people beleive that one was almost certainly Zak Ansah, and the other may have been Callum Webb.

  41. Why not do a cross-site link up and get somone from the Jorge Bird or Young Guns blog to do the next write up?

    To be fair, your own write up is decent, but you have a lot of mistakes and errors.

    Also, it would definitely be nice to give some promotion to blogs that regularly follow the youth teams

  42. Paul C. Luke Ayling just comeback from long term injury so i doubt he was going to break first team this year.After his impressive match barnet game early this year,i thought he was going to break in the first team too bu he got injured.Loan for him next year.Ayling is the Laurent Blanc type CB,using skill and brain rather than power.He will become good

    i think too Freeman is closer to first team chance than Afobe,Freeman don’t just score ,he provide more on the attacking side of his game (KEEPING BALL,ASSIST…)he is the most improve striker in our youth squad.

    Some of them need to be loan in the championship,because reserve league are quiet poor standard and not really that competitive

  43. dorely vad Conor Henderson i think is Irish and Igansi Miguel is not stolen from Barca,they release him and we bought him when he was playing in the lower spanish division

  44. i think u listed chezesasazzzny twice. His father’s fault for being a smart guy. confusing us with the spelling.

  45. @ Paul C.: Zak Ansah and Callum Webb- who are they? Never seem to’ve heard of them… (pardon my ignorance)

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