On Sunday, Ian Wright named the five young players he thinks the new Arsenal manager should develop and build around, given the club’s reportedly limited transfer budget.
Speaking on Match of the Day, Wright first expressed his scepticism on the £50m budget the new manager is meant to have, then offered his solution if the rumours really are true.
“When they’re talking about Arsenal’s war chest, it’s meant to be about £50 million, which I don’t believe,” he said. “I can’t believe they were going to try and get a manager in that’s only got £50m to work with.
“But saying that when you look at [Ainsley] Maitland-Niles, [Alex] Iwobi, [Konstantinos] Mavropanos, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock. If that’s all they’ve got then I feel those players are good enough to go to the next level with someone who is going to coach them and help them to progress.”
For four of those youngsters, this season has been a bit of a breakthrough campaign. Maitland-Niles had played for the first-team before, but never as regularly as this season. He had 10 senior appearances total before 2017/18, now he has 36.
Nelson and Willock both hadn’t played for the Arsenal first-team, or any senior side, before this season. Now they have 27 appearances between them.
Meanwhile, Mavropanos was playing his first proper season in the Superleague Greece, and now he’s starting at Old Trafford and earning rave review on his Emirates Stadium debut.
Iwobi, on the other hand, was already a regular before this campaign. In fact, he seemed to stall a bit at times this season. However, that’s all the more reason to believe a new manager could breathe new life into his career. Plus, his nicely taken goal at the weekend will hopefully fill him with confidence.
With any luck, the new manager will take youth development just as seriously as Wenger, and all of the above players will continue to make forward strides in the coming campaign.