Arsene Wenger has suggested in a press conference that he may choose to promote some more youth to the Arsenal first team squad, once the transfer window closes for the summer. Although he didn’t directly say anything about the Arsenal youth, he made it clear that he wanted to bring in quality rather than quantity. Every single year he seems to say this yet we are always left with it the other way round.
Famously two years ago when we were in a similar position over a lack of signings because of the Champions League qualification play off stage. We signed 5 players on the last day of the window and although they were called panic buys, three of them managed to succeed in Arteta, Mertesacker and loanee Yossi Benyayoun. Andre Santos and Park never really made it but overall it turns out Wenger’s panic buys at that moment weren’t as bad as expected. But of course we won’t be hoping for that same situation to happen again and in fact Wenger’s latest quotes state that he won’t be making lots of additions.
He said, “We look more for quality than for numbers. Yes, we would like two or three players and if possible more, but we will not compromise on quality.”
If we are to bring in two or three players then they need to be of the highest quality because let’s face it our squad is crying out for talent. The main concern here is the fact that two or three players isn’t going to solve our squad depth issue, in which we rather stupidly decided to let go of 27 players and not replace a single one, unless you’re counting Sanogo (I suppose we have to have at least one player to boast about.) Of course I never expected the club to replace all 27 because that would be a ridiculous squad overhaul, however like everyone I expected more from Arsenal this summer but they simply have not produced.
This means that if Wenger is to bring up the squad depth to a level where we won’t have to bring back Jens Lehmann or Sol Campbell, or even worse having Steve Bould named as a substitute, then Wenger is going to have to promote some of the youth and reserve players. The likelihood is that Martinez, Yennaris, Miyaichi, Afobe and Akpom will all make the step up to train with the first team, whilst I wouldn’t even be surprised to maybe see the likes of Jon Toral and Gedion Zelalem.
Watching a young player developing their football skills on the pitch is always good to see, however it shouldn’t be happening regularly at a ‘big club’ that’s supposedly ambitious enough to compete for the Premier League. These players mentioned above probably won’t do much more than fill a squad place and maybe occasionally get on the bench but as soon as the injuries or suspensions build up, we could see them edging closer and closer to the Arsenal team. And we all remember what happened last time we filled a team full of reserves. 8-2.