by Lewis Ambrose
Arsène Wenger has revealed that no matter how much money Arsenal have he will only merge big signings with the club’s philosophy of developing young players.
Arsenal have a fantastic reputation for allowing young players opportunities in the first-team and Wenger has insisted that there is no chance of that changing, despite the pressures of the modern game.
“We want to continue to combine stronger financial resources with faith in our policy,” Wenger said.
“That means we want to continue to give chances to young players and build the players from inside our club with our culture.”
The current Arsenal team consists of Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs who graduated from the Hale End Academy. Along with them the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wojciech Szczesny and Héctor Bellerín all joined Arsenal as teenagers and have since been given the chance to grow into roles in the Premier League. Arsenal’s commitment to what helping players realise what they can become, not just what they already are, is superb.
But that isn’t where the squad building ends. Recent activity in the transfer window has shown that Arsène Wenger is prepared to add experienced players like Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker or proven quality like Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez. New addition Petr Čech represents both, but developing young talent remains important to Wenger.
“After, if we can buy the exceptional players, we can compete. But that will not be the basis of our policy,” said Wenger.
“Most of the clubs who have been successful are clubs who have done that well.
“You can take Barcelona or Man United, who had a generation and built their success on players who came from within. These are our values and it is our DNA. It’s important we keep that.”
The Arsenal first-team now has a core of young British talent and huge time and investment is going into developing Hale End and the entire process at the Academy so Arsenal can find and nurture their very own players form a young age. It is a policy that most top clubs have abandoned as competition for young players has grown fiercer and the demand for instant success has grown. Manchester United have barely developed any young talent of the very highest calibre since the famous ‘Class of ’92’, and one academy graduate – Danny Welbeck – is now with the Gunners after facing limited chances at Old Trafford.
“Today there is no patience for them to continue to do what they did and they have the financial resources to go with a different policy,” the Arsenal manager explained.
“As well, they do not have available the players like Scholes, Giggs and Beckham inside the club, because youth talent is spread more through 20 clubs than it was 20 years ago.
“You cannot group together as easily now the best English talents. You would have a shock if you knew what the average 18-year-old footballer earned.”
With more competition for young talent it is more important than ever to take the very best talent in at a young age and develop them in-house. That is what Arsenal are now geared towards and, if successful, it will provide the club with an incredible base to work from for many years.