In recent transfer windows and recent seasons we constantly hear Wenger and the Board remind us that we are building a team for the future, a club for the 21st century, one that does things differently promotes from within and doesn’t need to pay huge transfer fees to compete.
Some fans have countered this reasoning (fairly) that without a present the future means nothing, and that the future has as little guarantee as signing a £50million striker or a £35million striker depending on which team you prefer laughing at the most.
As we reside in 7th place and the season looks to be disappearing from our grasp taking Champions League football and our Captain with it its time to take a look forward and see if what we are aspiring to is better than what we have at the moment.
According to most our current squad has 11 first team players and the rest are disposable, I would actually say that we have maybe 9 players of sufficient and proven quality, 6 others with potential (some already proving it), and maybe 5 senior pros who should when asked be able to do a job. (List at the bottom of the blog to keep you guessing)
Thats 20 players who I think should be able to be relied upon to get the job done. Admittedly they need at least five of the proven quality players on the pitch to help them, but we see United week in week out with all sorts of squad changes able to get the job done.
So in one sense I am asking what is so wrong with what we have now. Is it good enough? How much better are others? Or are we just so bereft of confidence as a team and as supporters of our team that no matter who is in the team the season would end in failure anyway?
As for the future what are we building to, what is the dream, we seem to be awash with young talent, but for whatever reason the young talent brought forward over the last few years has yet to fulfil its promises. Some of that talent has gone from the club, some never achieved the level it was hoped they would.
Should we be more optimistic about the current crop of youngsters coming through the system, if we should why should we?
Recently we have felt too much of a disconnect between us and the players, maybe its age maybe its just modern football, but I think its because of where they have come from. Some have arrived as eager faced 16-18 year olds straight into the reserves, plucked from the youth system of a club on the continent and given an Arsenal tracksuit and pay packet to match. Some have arrived with the knowledge that younger players get game time at Arsenal and under Arsene Wenger, only seeing it as a stepping stone to the biggest clubs and pay-packets.
I see a huge difference between the youth team players coming through now and those that have been used in the last few years, and the main difference is pride of wearing the red and white shirt and a cannon on their heart. The youngsters now coming through the system have been at the club for many years, they have had to work hard to not only be the best in their age groups but to be the best at the club to have a chance of getting a professional contract. When they have taken the field they have played with so much passion and desire and whilst they are young and inexperienced if you could take some of that desire and love for the club and inject it into those that have come before I don’t think the likes of Bendtner and Denilson would be moaning about sitting on the bench, they would realise how lucky and privileged they are to sit there and be part of this great club we all love.
So do I buy into the hype about the future? Yes, wholeheartedly. Do I think it will be better on the pitch than what we have now? I honestly couldn’t tell you, but one thing I think they will all do is leave it out on the pitch and show us fans that they care, every week, every game.
I also think that we are building a squad now of 18-21 year olds that will come to fruition together and we will not be in our current position of world class forward on pitch, average forward on bench.
Just take a look at this group of youngsters in our Reserves and tell me you don’t have a warm feeling about seeing those lads progress.
Current Squad Breakdown
Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Song, Arteta, Wilshere, Gervinho, Van Persie.
Coquelin, Frimpong, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jenkinson, Gibbs
Rosicky, Walcott, Arshavin, Santos, Mertesacker
Written by Gooner in Exile