Arsenal have let the promising 17 year old youngster Ruby Mace go to Manchester City and it is a disappointing decision despite sustained City interest.
There has been talk of an overall lack of ambition from the club for the women’s section in term of facilities and budget. To be clear, we are talking about ambitions to compete at the top of the FA WSL and in the Women Champions League.
The club’s budget is the third or fourth overall in the FA WSL but not on par with our two main competitors.
You have to wonder how the club managed to fail to get a player who has developed through our youth system to signa professional contract, letting her go to reinforce a direct opponent. This is the second time in recent years that Arsenal let a promising and exceptional youngster go to another FA WSL side. Obviously, when Lauren James moved to United, they were not title contenders like they are today. But we knew they were coming with serious targets in the near future.
Maybe City offered a better and longer contract than Arsenal, as well as more guaranteed playing time? At 17/18, a player needs to play week, in week out to carry on developing as we have seen with Mace’s loan at Birmingham City.
It is hard to know if she would have been ready to compete right now for a starting place at Arsenal.
Unless there are top quality senior players to be signed, this transfer screams lack of ambition from the club. It also does not convey a great image to potential Academy players, if the club is merely used as a stepping stone to bigger clubs.
In the past, and the present, youngsters coming through the system end up going to study in the USA or to FA WNL or with Championship teams. Some of them also end up at other FA WSL teams, but not generally to reinforce our direct competitors.
There is also an impact in term of homegrown players, as Ruby would obviously have been a homegrown player too, so that free transfer, as she was not under contract, is a bad business decision for many reasons.
Unless the club decided that she was not worth giving a professional contract to and in that case well…
Hopefully, Ruby will carry on improving to become a top player in the future, but if she could avoid performing well against the Arsenal, that would be appreciated.