By Tony Attwood
First of course the apologies for the inconvenience you’ve probably been caused by the tech failure on Untold over the last couple of days. It was bad enough by itself, but made worse as it happened exactly when our IT colleague had a couple of highly deserved days off. I am aware of all that is going on with the site, and we really are trying to get it sorted.
But I shall plod on regardless with some Arsenal thoughts…
Of course the big news is not only are the new signings starting to happen, but that Eddie has indeed signed a new five-year contract. He started eight league games last season and came on as a sub 13 times, scoring five league goals. Across all competitions, it was 13 starts, 14 sub appearances and 10 goals.
But those figures hide an important point. Eddie’s run in the league and his goalscoring came in a burst at the end of the season. Eddie scored five goals in the league, and all five came in the last seven league. He turned 23 last month, and so is, I suspect really ready to start showing us exactly what he can do.
What’s more, signing Eddie is a clear indicator that our young player policy is continuing. Vieira was born in 2000, Matt Turner is a keeper and so older than the outfield players and he will turn 28 in a couple of days, Marquinhos is 19.
This is very much in keeping with Arteta’s whole approach to transfers, and maintains the fact that we are playing using a young squad.
In February this year Sports Keeda did a review of the age of squads in the Premier League and rated the youngest five as
- 1: Arsenal 24.2 years
- 2. Brentford: 25.0 years
- 3: Norwich City, 25 .3 years
- 4: Southampton, 25.3 years
- 5: Leeds United, 25.4 years
Of course just having a young squad doesn’t actually achieve anything but with players like Saka, Martinelli and Smith Rowe, we do seem to be getting it right. And when we do get it right it means the future is that little bit more secure.
In terms of those leaving, Lacazette is 31, while Gabriel Jesus who looks to be joining soon is 25, so once again the tendency will continue.
It is also interesting to note just how many youngsters the club had on the books last season who got a first-team number but no games – or hardly any.
Folarin Balogun got two starts and two sub appearances, Charlie Patino got one start and one sub appearance (in which of course he famously scored) and Reiss Nelson did get one game.
Now Reiss Nelson is of some interest in that although we don’t normally hear much about Arsenal players on loan overseas (on the grounds that for the media if it doesn’t happen in England, it doesn’t happen), but he played 23 league games for Hoffenheim two seasons back, and 21 times for Feyenoord last season and has played 12 times for England’s under 21 squad. And he’s still an Arsenal player.
Beyond these, we have 19 players who last season had a squad number but didn’t play. Now some have gone or are about to go – such as Bellerin, Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson, Torriera and so on, but there are also going to be a few others in the list who are going to make an appearance in the coming season. And we can be fairly sure of this because of Arteta’s determination to bring through Arsenal youngsters, alongside the big money signings – exactly in the way that Arsene Wenger did.
In fact each time I take another peek at the details of the way the club is working the more I see of the Wengerian model. Arsene Wenger was never afraid to bring in the high cost player, but he also loved to see young talent make their way through the ranks and emerge into the first team. And that tendency seems to be continuing.
As for the technical point of squad numbers, those relinquished or likely to be relinquished include
- 1: Bernd Leno
- 2: Hector Bellerin
- 11: Torreira
- 12: Willian
- 14: Aubameyang
- 15: Maitland Niles
- 27: Dinos Mavropanos
- 29: Mattéo Guendouzi
- 30: Eddie Nketiah
- 31: Sead Kolašinac
- 32: Aaron Ramsdale (presumably taking number 1)
I wonder if Gabriel Martinelli fancies having a lower number?
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