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October 2020
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Should Arsenal be using more youngsters? And Aouar

By Sir Hardly Anyone

There is a story in circulation that says that nine players in the BVB Dortmund squad are aged under 21 and all are serious members of the squad.

Which is interesting given that while it is written into the German constitution that Bayern Munich win the league each season, BVB Dortmund had to fight a real live competition in order to come second.  In fact in the last ten years they have only once been out of the top four in Germany.

And they are not the only ones who are placing ever more emphasis on youth.   Borussia Dortmund recently signed Jude Bellingham at the age of 16 from Birmingham City.  True he had to wait until he was 17 to become Borussia Dortmund’s youngest competitive scorer, but I guess it was worth it, both for the player and the club.

In the German league the minimum age for a player is 16 and it is said that when that happens for Youssoufa Moukoko, (currently playing in the Borussia Dortmund under 19s) he will move up to the first team and then become the youngest player in the league.

So I began to think about the younger players that we have in the Arsenal squad.

The first thing that is evident is that goal keepers mature later than outfield players.  We have, as ever, three keepers ready to play in the first team: Leno (age 28), Dejan Iliev (25) and Matt Macey (26).  So no youngsters there.  But what about elsewhere: how many younger players do we have in the squad?

William Saliba at centre back is 19, Gabriel (also centre back) is 22.   Rob Holding, despite seeming to have been with us for a long time is still only 24.

Two of the full backs are in the younger age group: Kieran Tierney and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are both 23.

In midfield Matteo Guendouzi and Joe Willock are both 21, while Emile Smith Rowe is 20.

Moving forward, Bukayo Saka is now 19 (and incidentally is rated as having a market value of £31.5m), while Gabriel Martinelli is 19 (market value £22.5m).  Reiss Nelson is 20, and Eddie Nketiah is 21.   So a fair range at the lower end of the age scale – but nothing to compare with what appears to be a new German trend.

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The issue of youngsters comes to the fore when we think that we have just committed to giving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang £350,000 a week.  Something which incidentally much of the media said was not going to happen because a) Arsenal didn’t have the money, and b) Aubameyang was going to Barcelona anyway.

In fact, as far as I can see there was never any chance of Barcelona signing Aubameyang because they are certainly in financial difficulty.   Oh yes and he was also going to Milan, I seem to remember.

Barcelona didn’t do too well last season, losing the title to Real Madrid, losing in the Champions League 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich and, most recently, having a public spat with Lionel Messi over the validity of his £630m release clause.

Barcelona now don’t have to worry about Messi leaving, at least for this year, but they do have to continue paying him, and as we have reported before, there is a real problem for them with the decline in many of their sources of revenue.

As for how much money Arsenal actually have available to spend on transfers, that remains a matter of debate.  Headlines such as “Arsenal willing to sell three first-team stars to make room for Houssem Aouar transfer” abound, and given that these stories are put out there to continue the regular theme that Arsenal are an unsettled team with no money, that seems par for the course.  HITC says that there have been numerous discussions over the transfer.

The Express tells us Arsenal are willing to sell three first team stars to raise the money.  Those three being Sokratis, Torreira and Kolasinac.

So, just in case you have missed out on who Aouar actually is, here are the bits and pieces…

He is a 22 year old French Algerian who has played 16 times for France under 21s.  He is normally an attacking midfielder, but can play anywhere in the midfield.  He also has a reputation for being calm.

He joined Lyon in 2016/17 and since then in league and cup competitions has played 139 league and cup games, scoring 24 goals.

If column inches are the measure of who we are going to sign, then he’s the absolute winner.

10 comments to Should Arsenal be using more youngsters? And Aouar

  • Nitram

    Not for a long time have I felt as calm and confident about the new season as I do this one.

    Arteta has not only steadied the ship in terms of the way we are playing but seems to of reinvigorated the entire club from the fans to the board. So far from being a club in turmoil with panic buys and premature sales, (which is always grossly exaggerated in any case when it comes to us, but forever has in been that way) everything seems to be being done with calm and reason.

    Of course not everyone will agree with every decision taken, from whom we sell and whom we keep, to whom we buy and whom we don’t buy, to how much we pay in wages and in transfer fees. To have everyone agree with every decision is impossible.

    What is important is that we can all have faith that whatever decisions are being made they are being made with the best interests of the long term well being of the club in mind, including financial stability and the building of a team that will ultimately be capable of challenging for the PL title and in time Champions League success. That must be our ultimate goal.

    I think it is undeniable that there is a massive feel good factor around the club right at this moment, but only time will tell if we really are making the giant strides forward we all hope we are.

    Personally I never ever thought we were as bad as a) Our final league position suggested and b) most pundits and many fans had us down as.

    My assessment of the top of the table was that, quite obviously, both Liverpool and Manchester City were, probably still are, a level above the rest. But I contested that even before the arrival of Arteta that you could put a ‘Fag Paper’ between Chelsea, Man Utd, Spurs, Arsenal Liecster and even Wolves.

    The nuances that can make the difference between finishing top (3rd/4th) middle (5th/6th) and bottom (7th/8th) of that group of 6 are many.

    Injuries. Form. Decisions. Luck. Disruption. Player unrest. Crowd unrest. If we are honest much as Man Utd suffered after the departure of their long term figure head, for whatever reason, we suffered similarly. I don’t think you can underestimate the effects of such a change.

    Whether the change was right or wrong is irrelevant, it happened, and all that mattered, matters, is how we move forward. Unfortunately, again as per Man Utd, maybe our initial steps were misguided. It happens. But now, hopefully the steps we have taken, some under the duress of COVID, some in the modernisation of our systems, seem, as I say, to of at the very least steadied the ship.

    1 game is way to early to make serious judgements, that will take time, but I feel confident, very confident that we are on the right course and as such I am perfectly happy with my £20 investment at 33/1 for us to lift the title.

  • Chris

    @Nitram,

    right on. Panic sale ?!?!? Who ? The team, except for our hero argentinian goalie, is the same.

    We’ve got some really serious reinforcements, and I dare say at, bargain prices.
    That Martinez leaves is I believe something that was unavoidable. And considering how he stood up to the challenge when most did not expect him to, is probably as well a way for Arsenal to say thank you by letting him develop a career as Nr 1 in another club. The money Arsenal got is not lost anyway. So I don’t think Arsenal mishandled this operation.

    And we’ve still got a few players who will be returning from injury.

    So all in all, I think we’ve got the most stable and ‘deep’ team, with most positions having taltented and experienced alternatives, a great mix of high level experience and talent as well as young players with talent galore. I just hope AMN will stay. We are going to need every player to sustain a full year of playing 4 competitions in parallel.

    And on a positions evaluation, I believe the defense has been added some serious ‘muscle and brains’. Considering that we were not that bad – contrary to what the scribblers keep writing, taking in 10 less goals a season may well end-up giving us 10 or more points more.

    Add to that the fact that in the past months we have beat Liverpool, City, Chelsea among others, so no team is safe from us anymore. We are top 4 competitive. And we are ready, except for PIGMOB…

    So as you, I feel positive and excited about what is coming up.

  • I wonder how long before the so caled “fans” start having a go at Auba about his “350k a week” salary.

    The sale proceeds for Martinez will most likely be needed to pay that salary in the absence of gate reciepts and the need to make the repayment to the tv companies, rather than to buy another player we do not really need or can afford.

  • Chris

    @jigsol,

    as I outlined it in another post, if we had ‘bought’ another player of Auba’s caliber, the transfer fee would most probably have been in the 50 millions. divide that by 156 weeks (3 years), you get 320’000 per week…

    so if he were to get 350’000 per week, it’s just 30’000 more then the probable transfert cost written off on 3 years with nodown payment…where is the problem ?!?!

    I’d even say it was a damn good piece of business, whatever people may say.

  • Dublin Gooner

    Mathematics is not my strong point but seems we already bought Auba once, so accounting for his new salary as a (re)purchase seems a bit iffy.
    We could have sold him. So that would be say bring in £20m plus a saving of £50m. So keeping him is sort of costing us £70m, as he will unlikely have much resale value in 3 years.

  • Chris

    @Dublin Gooner,

    My point was that if we were to have hired another player of Auba’s level, it would have cost tens of millions. So just saying he costs so much per week is factually right but contextually wrong.

    And I don’t see how ‘selling’ him without a replacement would have been a good idea…I can imagine the total meltdown we’d be facing. A replacement would have cost much more then what his release would have brought in.

  • I think you are missing my point, which was that in recent years Ozil’s alleged salary seems to have caused a lot of so called “fans” to view him in a very negative light.

    Time and time again the justification for such hatred has been his alleged salary.

    I was suggesting that it is likely that the same people will end up doing the same with Auba, especially as he gets older and starts to score less.

    His and every player’s salary is between him and the club and whatever it might be is none of our business and should not be used as a stick to beat a player with.

  • Chris

    @jigsol,

    I understand that, was just trying to deflect the argument. However, fact is that whatever Arsenal do, it will be given a bad press.
    I’m fully aware that no facts will be accepted as such by people of bad faith, of which many pretend to be Arsenal fans.
    And frankly, considering where we stand at the beginning of this season, I don’t give a rat’s ass about them.
    I’m enjoying watching them play and seing them evolved into a real team.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The easy way to enjoy supporting your team is to just support them ! Never waste time on wishy-washy fair weathered fans who demand more and more . But never appreciate the joy this club gives us.

    I for one don’t read the newspapers or watch the idiotic experts on tv , nor follow them on anyother media platform. So I suppose I am insulated from most morons ! I stick to the simple act of enjoying watching the Arsenal play. No need for me the prematch,halftime , postmatch, or the ’round up of all the action ‘ crapola !

    As I have never presumed to advice the club on transfers , team policy , or even on how they should conduct their bussiness , they must be happy with people like me !

    But then again , to each his own !

    Up the Gunners !

  • I agree with you and do my best to mind my own busines as far as the club and its players are concerned.

    The only exception to that was when I perceived that Emery was destroying our club, I advocated his immediate removal, something that our host clearly disagreed with, although I suspect he will agree that disaster was looming with the situation as it was.

    TO all of those who enjoy this site who are of the same religeous persuasion as myself, I wish you a happy and healthy New Year.

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