Arsene Wenger believes that he can predict a players future by the age of 24.
Wenger reckons that, given his experience in the business, he can usually predict whether a player is going to have a successful career or not by the age of 24.
“People don’t imagine how difficult it is when you’ve been on top of the world to continue with your life and to accept that you’re not at the top anymore, no matter what you do after. You can talk on television but you will never share on the pitch or in the dressing room that feeling that you’ve achieved something together. And you miss that for the rest of your life.”
The boss has been in the football industry for practically his entire life, firstly as a player and then as a manager, where he has 33 years of experience. He started coaching at French club Nancy in 1984.
Therefore, it stands to reason that he can predict the outcome of most players’ careers by a certain stage. He’s seen hundreds of footballers come and go, so it’s likely that he’d have at least an inkling.
What’s interesting is that 24 is three to five years before most players are said to reach their peak. Although of course, their ability will be clear by then. But it’s also pretty old compared to some of the wonderkids we see coming through the ranks at various European clubs. For example, Monaco striker, Kylian Mbappe, is just 18.
When you apply Wenger’s theory to the current Arsenal squad, it gets even more intriguing. Jack Wilshere, who’s been linked with a move away, is 25 – just above this crucial age – suggesting that the boss has now, finally made his mind up on the midfielder once and for all.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who Wenger insists will stay put and become a massive footballer for Arsenal, has just turned 24 himself.
Shkodran Mustafi was 24 when Arsenal signed him from Valencia and only turned 25 in April. Now it looks as if the boss is shipping him off the Inter after just one season in north London.
Definitely some food for thought.