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Summer 2012 – Arsenal to Overhaul the Squad

Summer 2012 needs to see a change in direction in Arsenal’s transfer policy.  Out must go this incessant desire to collect 15-16 year olds from around the world and expect and hope that they will develop.

Arsenal have many youngsters in the reserves or on loan for whom the time is ripe for them to be given their chance.

Kyle Bartley will have played the better part of two seasons for Rangers, the time is for Kyle to come back and be given a real chance at Arsenal.  In addition we have seen Ignasi Miguel this season at left-back, 2012 must see play at centre-back.

In midfield we need to allow Frimpong and Coquelin a real chance.  Wenger needs to play these two guys next season regularly.  Arsene needs to learn the art of developing and bringing young players through the ranks.  This means resting your regular players.

In addition to these two, is the precocious talents of Henri Lansbury.  This youngster has Arsenal running through his veins, he has spent the last two seasons on loan at Championship teams and he was a vital member of Stuart Pearce’s England under 21 team.  If Wenger fails to keep Lansbury and develop him, then Wenger can be discounted as manager who develops and gives youth its chance.

Another youngster who will be given his chance, next season or more likely this season is Connor Henderson.  His progress has been hampered by severe injuries for the last two seasons, but Wenger believes in the young Ireland winger.

The final person that needs to be given an opportunity is our other summer signing Joel Campbell. Campbell will develop into a good striker, only through Arsenal’s folly in applying for a special talent work permit for Ryo rather than Campbell, has the Costa Rica international had to ply his trade in France,


These seven youngsters along with Szczesny, Gibbs, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain will be the basis of Arsenal for years to come.  They will fight for Arsenal and feel Arsenal, every defeat will mean something to them, they will give heart and soul for the club.

This is the promotion from within that we failed to undertake for many seasons.  Too often our talent has been releases, only for them to flourish elsewhere.

The club then needs to invest in three top quality players.  A central midfielder, a creative player and  a world-class striker.  The argument that buying these players will curtail the advancement of the players mentioned above is utter rubbish.  Young players will thrive by training and playing alongside top players.  The youngsters will develop better and faster in a winning team.

This summer needs a clear-out of our deadwood, and we have a lot of deadwood, we need to promote and give young Arsenal players the chance to flourish and we need to invest in three world-class players.  This is the mix that Arsenal need to overhaul our squad and put us on the right track.

Young Gun Recruitment

Whilst Arsene Wenger has been quiet in the transfer market with regards the first team, the same cannot be said with the youth recruitment programme.

Arsenal have signed Jamie Edge a centre half from Cheltenham Town. The youngster is 15 years old and will be one of many additions to the youth set up this summer.

Arsenal’s second youth signing was Martin Angha another centre half, who previously played for FC Zurich.  Some reports state that Angha will play with FC Zurich until January. 

Arsenal returned to Switzerland to secure the signing of another centre half, 16-year-old defender Sead Hajrovic from Grasshoppers for a fee of around £300,000.  This makes three centre backs for Steve Bould to add to another great defender in Ignasi Miguel. 

Arsenal are also looking closely at three forwards.  Frank Noble, who has left Chelsea’s academy and could be heading for Arsenal is the first.  Flumenese’s young striker Wellington is in England and a decision will be made this week.  Any deal will see the youngster go on loan to UD Salamanca for the next two years.  Wellington was in England in January, so the coaching staff know what to expect.

The third is FK Bubamara striker Veljko Batrović.  He has been invited to Arsenal for a trial, however the club Chairman Budom Miranović sees this as a mere formality as he stated on recently:

“Nothing is specified, but it is almost certain that Veljko will soon become a member of Arsenal’s Academy.”

“Nothing is yet finished, but Veljko will go to a club with the strongest agreement, not only for Bubamara, but for Montenegro football in general. The details we’ll talk about when the time comes.”

These will not be the only additions to the youth team, as Arsenal are expected to complete the signing of Feyenoord winger Luc Castaignos in the coming weeks.

Coquelin Arsenal’s Makelele

Last summer on the recommendations of Giles Grimandi Arsenal signed a young French midfielder from Stade Laval. As with most of Arsenal’s French signings Francis Coquelin was a mystery.

He made his debut against Barnet and also played against Szombathelyi Haladás.  Even though the opposition on both occasions was not top rate, Francis showed great potential.  He was not fazed by the stage he was playing at, he continued to play his normal game.

He breaks up play with ease, and strokes the ball around the field bringing in others into play.  He has continued to perform in this manner all season both for the reserves and the all conquering youth team.

Coquelin is not a tall player, he stands at 5 foot 10, but neither were Makelele nor Lassana Diarra tall, yet they are acknowledged to be two of the best holding midfield players in the game.  Many commentators have compared Coquelin to his two compatriots.

Coquelin is an aggressive player and will be looking forward to a place in the pre-season squad to Austria this summer.  He will be looking to show Arsene that he is not far away from first team football.  He certainly has the attributes to make into the first team, but not to become a regular at this moment in time.

This is the dilemma facing Arsene this summer, with young players like Coquelin, Frimpong, Randall, Merida and Ramsey all pushing for a first team start if not this season then certainly next season, who does Arsene recruit without curtailing their progress.

Give time Coquelin will become a regular starter for Arsenal and will be an effective midfielder, giving us defensive cover for the back four, whilst also contributing to our attacking play.

Arsenal Youth on Verge of Dominance

Today sees the Arsenal youth team visit Anfield, 20 years after the memorable and most dramatic of all title winning games in the history of English football.

Arsenal hold a 4-1 lead from the first leg, a game in which they withstood some early Liverpool pressure but then dominated the game.  Liverpool were fortunate to escape from the Emirates with a 4-1 deficit.

Unless Liverpool have an inspirational start to the game, Arsenal will have too much for Liverpool. Arsenal will remain focused and will not allow Liverpool back into the task.

Emmanuel-Thomas will lift the FA Youth Cup and this will be just reward for the boys who have been playing together for several years and for most of them this will be their last opportunity to win the FA Youth Cup.  Next season the boys will take the step up to regular reserve team football.

It is ironic that in the season that we have re-introduced our famous 1989 away kit, it is left to the youth team to visit Anfield and lift silverware in front of the Kop.  Arsene Wenger has spoken about the conveyor belt of youth emerging from Hale End academy and tonight we will see the youth team stamp their domination on youth football.