Young Guns – What Next?
Following the Carling Cup exit at Burnley, everyone has gone quiet on the youth at Arsenal. This is typical of the media, one defeat does not mean that they are no good, in fact, if you look at the match, the second goal was a slip by Silvestre and Bendtner, no longer considered a youngster was culpable in our defeat.
Defeat at this stage means Arsene can assess the youngsters and either keeps one or two behind for the rest of the season, but for the majority loan spells beckon. This will be beneficial in their long-term development, as reserve football will teach these boys nothing.
Jay Simpson has already been mooted as a possible target for Norwich. This move will see Jay step up a level from his outstanding season at Millwall. Keeping Simpson at the club will ruin his development.
Another striker likely to move on loan is Carlos Vela. This move, however, will be dependent upon the fitness of Eduardo and if Bendtner is sold, the replacement for the Dane. Vela will go out on loan towards the end of January. If Vela does not play in the FA Cup, a move to a premier league team is on the cards.
Fran Merida, who is considered by many to be as good as Cesc will also move in January. He spent part of last season in Spain, but it will be favourable if Fran moved to a Championship team and get used to the physical side of the English game.
Gavin Hoyte, despite making his premier league debut against Manchester City will also spend time away from the Emirates. Arsenal have plenty of players who can cover at right-back, so he will not be required to spend the next few months kicking his heels on the bench. The same cannot be said of Kierran Gibbs. Gibbs started as a left-winger, but has been playing as a left-back recently (a complete contrast to Armand Traore). With Traore on loan at Portsmouth, Gibbs is Arsenal’s only left-back cover and I will be surprised if Wenger and his staff allow the youngster to leave in January.
The other two candidates for a spell away from the Emirates are Henri Lansbury who filled in as right-back on Tuesday and Mark Randall. Lansbury’s progress was hampered by an injury last season and he has fallen behind others in the pecking order at Arsenal. Lansbury needs to spend the rest of this season and next season at a good Championship team, before he can be seriously considered as a first team squad player. Randall on the other hand had a good spell at Burnley and has featured in the first team squad on a regular basis. Wenger will be hoping that Randall can go on loan to a Premiership team and could be used as part of the bait to lure Martins to Arsenal from Newcastle.
Sending these boys out on loan will be better for them than hanging around for the odd substitute appearance, especially as Wenger tends to send out his “first team squad” players in deference to the youngsters. With so many out on loan, it will give others the opportunity to shine in the reserves and build up the potential, in particular Frimpong, Bischoff, Coquelin, and Rui Fonte.
On notable absentee is Wilshere, whose development will be best, served at the Emirates under the watchful eye of Wenger. Clearly, Wenger likes Wilshere and is not shy about giving him a chance.