The 2019 Academy Rewards … “We love you Freddie ….”

The club have pretty much spelled out that they are putting a lot more emphasis on the development of academy players, and there has been a subsequent staff reshuffle in order to do so. On that basis, I’m going to take a leap of faith and say there will be more players promoted from the Academy than in previous years. It’s obvious that they must have some confidence in what we have currently, in order for them to highlight this approach in their recent PR campaign.

This quote from Raul Sanllehi was widely reported in the press last week.

“Promoting young players from within has always been a key part of Arsenal and what we represent,” Sanllehí says. “We want to continue that tradition for a number of reasons but you could boil it down to two main ones. Firstly, these players grow up with the club and we think having players with this natural bond around what it means to play for Arsenal is good in the dressing room and for the connection with our fans.

“Secondly, despite the huge investment we make into our academy, with rapid inflation in transfer fees it is financially efficient. It’s not about cutting costs or being ‘cheap’, it just means we can then focus funds to make the biggest impact, to get better players when we need to go to the external market.”


Freddie Ljungberg has moved from the Academy into the first team coaching team. He will no doubt continue to have a close bond with some of the stars from last seasons 2nd place finishing U23 squad (pipped by Everton). Along with some returning loan players, we should be able to add serious numbers to the first team.

Personally, I love this. These players coming through are well versed in Emery’s style and the Arsenal way in general. You can pretty much rule out settling issues with these recruits and for the most part they will have a really good understanding of what to expect in the league. I say this with Torreira in mind. It would be a massive shame for him to leave as, judging by the pats on their own backs, the club were quite pleased with the acquisition last summer.

Add the fact that a typical Academy graduate will probably have a lot more loyalty to the club that raised them. Think Bellerin, Wilshire, Ramsey all of whom declared a lot of love for the squad. I believe that we should be looking to embrace this new system as fans, rather than mourn the lack of expensive signings. After all, where has that gotten us of late.

We dipped into the transfer market for ‘Star’ players with the likes of Ozil and Sanchez towards the end of Wenger’s reign and we are still dealing with the financial fall out of that now. I think it’s safe to say we rolled the dice on these guys securing us Champions League football and came up snake eyes. Sanchez moving on and causing issues amongst the squad, and the financial burden of Ozil’s contract forcing us to say goodbye to players such as Ramsey who (probably fairly) believed they should be on a similar wage.

So we have taken a safer route. A path that when things go wrong you have a situation like losing Serge Gnabry. I’d take that over the loss of an established cup winning maestro like Aaron Ramsey. By creating an obvious and realsitic path for young players to make it into a premiership 11 that challenge for champions league football we will surely become a desired destination for elite youth players once again.

For me this is the right time to do it. There are teams in Europe that have provided first team players from their academies. Athletico Bilbao and Ajax on a consistent basis. Ajax have had some serious success that have raised their profile. If we follow in their footsteps and look to actually promote players and give them game time, the baying mob that is our fan base may be open to the prospect.

For me the fact that we played Elneny only a handful of times last season creates a bar for players to reach. Surely having his space taken up by a Chris Willock or Reiss Nelson would be preferable?

I am hoping to see a good few of our loaned out players make up vacant places next season, with a lower wage bill and less transfer activity needed from this point forwards. Hopefully the transfer money we do spend, can go on established winners that will provide guidance on and off the pitch.

Which academy players do you think deserve their chance next season?

Written by Els

This is a 24 minute interview with Vinai Venkatesham & Raul Sanllehi if you’ve got the stamina to watch it …



42 Responses to The 2019 Academy Rewards … “We love you Freddie ….”

  1. Els says:

    Morning Rasp. Thanks for cleaning that up and the snappy title.

    So how are people going into this new focused academy operating system?

    Personally I’m really excited. For me a lot of the pomp around signings is just business and agents giving sky sports back handers to make a circus out of it. I still think that the Ozil and Sanchez signings are quite a big factor in our drop from the top four.

  2. Rasp says:

    Morning Els, I agree wholeheartedly with the premise of your post. If we have limited funds, it’s the only way ahead. The chavs are going to have to do the same thing with their transfer ban, let’s hope we make the better job of it.

    The supporters need to be patient with these young players – more patient than some have been with Iwobi in the past. The youngsters won’t be able to produce in every game. they will have energy and enthusiasm, we need to nurture their talent and protect them when necessary.

    There is a pithy post planned for tomorrow that will be relevant to the topic of recruitment and raising more money through player sales.

  3. LBG says:

    Thanks for the post. Echoes my views of several years now.
    Mavrapanos, Smith-Rowe, Nelson, Wiilock, Zaka and poss Eddie would be my 5/6 to get a good chance.
    Followed by Medley and Thompson.
    “All we are saying, is give youth a chance”.

  4. RC78 says:

    Reiss Neilsson, Willock, Saka should be given a chance

    I d cash in on Bielik. What the hell happened with Zelalem?

    I d loan out ESR and Nketiah

  5. allezkev says:

    Good post Els, yep, Project Youth 2 is the way to go in the short term until the club can move on those players on inflated salaries.

    Saka has enormous potential for one so young, Willock is probably ready to be part of the senior squad on a regular basis with that knack of scoring goals – except in cup finals…

  6. allezkev says:

    Unfortunately young English players are very much in vogue with top continental teams targeting some of our best youngsters on the back of the success of Sancho in particular.

    From an Arsenal perspective we could lose two quality players this summer in Xavier Amaechi (Bayern) and Yunis Musah (Valencia).

  7. RC78 says:

    Do we have a really good GK coming through our ranks?

  8. Els says:

    Thanks Allezkev

    I like LBG’s list of… Mavrapanos, Smith-Rowe, Nelson, Wiilock, Zaka and poss Eddie

    But I’d also make some time for Bielik and Amaechi.

    Also I’d be keeping Chambers. After the conversation about a few more Lauren’s, I’d think that Chambers and Holding are both good shouts for that type of service.

    With a cup / europa team that would be mostly academy players and a few spaces free in the first team we should be able to find some minutes to develop these numbers.

    At what point would you loan out some of these players. Haven’t we just hired someone to sort out loan players?

  9. allezkev says:

    Arthur Okonkwo from what I read, has a lot of potential Els and could be pushing Iliev for the No.3 spot between the sticks.
    It seems likely that Macey will leave this summer.

  10. LBG says:

    Good job, there is quality cricket today. Sorry my dear, no chores today! Loving it!

  11. Els says:

    Allezkev, I’ve not seen much of him. Or if I have I’ve not noticed.

    I guess Macey has ran out of squads at 24. I remember him being highly regarded at one point.

    LBG can you get away with that? Sheesh. Alright for some.

  12. RC78 says:

    Yes Iliev is apparently quite good so maybe our number 3…

    Bielik is apparently quite good but is he better than Mavro? The last spot is between these 2. We re gonna recruit a new CB but we won’t have more than 4 CBs so I think we keep Holding, Sok, a recruit and then it s either Mavro or Bielik. Chambers can cover as well, which means we get rid of Mus, Kos and Monreal which is fine with me on top of either Bielik or Mavro

  13. Good post Els and thank you for putting in the effort to write it.

    I think it’ll be good to start incorporating some of our homegrown into the 1st team squad. I know that the club felt that all the Willock boys were talented and it’s great that we’ve still got one at Arsenal. Similarly Reiss Nelson just wanted to play and thankfully he’s been given the opportunity. It’s a shame that Emile Smith-Rowe didn’t get many chances during his loan spell but experience is key for all these boys. But some of them are still too lightweight.

    In my other life I have a connection to the Academy of the ‘other lot down the road’ and so I hear a lot about how it feels to suddenly be playing up against men and how different that is. Even at U23 level occasionally teams will have to play a recovering 1st team player and the difference is huge. So these boys do know that however talented they are there’s another step to becoming a 1st team regular.

    The battles between the Academies of Arsenal, the totts and the chavs are always pretty good to watch. I’m looking forward to the new season.

  14. fred1266 says:

    [video src="" /]

  15. fred1266 says:

    Isn’t VAGUE supposed to pick that up

  16. Sue says:

    Really looking forward to a week Saturday – the match at Boreham Wood. Plenty of U23/U18’s on display – as well as the new kit – hopefully it’ll be shown on Arsenal’s website – it was last season.. I doubt we’ll be seeing an Auba hat trick this time!! 😀
    I’m also hoping this time next week, things will be a lot clearer, with regards to who we’re buying (😳) and selling! All of these rumours really are doing my head in – all these thousands of players we’re linked with, yet we supposedly have no money!! Sheesh!!

  17. Pete says:

    From past experience of the way the club does things, I reckon that if they say we have a budget of £40-45m, that’s probably the case. Selling players and reducing the wage bill will boost that figure. There is a legacy from the previous management (not just Arsene Wenger) that will need to be dealt with before we can truly move on.

    Hi Sue, I share your frustration … how do you think Unai must be feeling?

  18. RC78 says:

    Arsenal offers 30 mln EUR for Saliba but may loan him back out to St Etienne. Zadagou another option from Dortmund

  19. Sue says:

    Hi Pete.. stressful times, not only for us.. but Unai!! One thing’s for sure – I wouldn’t want his job!! Trying to magic up at least 3 world class players with 45m!! Jeez!!

  20. fred1266 says:

    Martinez emery seems to like him

  21. fred1266 says:

    Loans usually done in January which I agree with, if they not featuring in team by December then let them go out and get some game time

  22. Sue says:

    I tuned into Japan V Netherlands to see how Miedema & Van de Donk played… VDD did really well, Miedema not so well 😮 was a great game – Japan were by far the better team.. they must be absolutely gutted going out to a last minute penalty! Just goes to show you have to take your chances!! (Us gooners are very familiar with that 😀)

  23. RC78 says:

    Ndombele to move to Tottenham for 62 Mln EUR… Good purchase for Spurs. We were after him last year, sad we didn’t make an offer… Same with Pepe who s pbbly joining Bayern or Liverpool

  24. RC78 says:

    Winger joining us will be Perisic or Carrasco
    Izzo or Saliba as CB
    Tierney will join as well at LB
    At RB, not sure
    In midfield, the question remains.

    Other names seem less credible

  25. RC78 says:

    Every team needs a midfield balance with players that are good at getting the ball back, at running with the ball and at passing the ball where it huts the opposition. I think we alreasy have good passers but do we have players that break plays and that can run past the opposition in a few strides like PV4 used to do. If we were to only spend on 3 recruits, I d like a CB, DM and CM to add steel and flair to the squad.
    Izzo – Ndidi – Vidal?
    Saliba – Capoue – Doucoure?
    What about Gueye?

  26. allezkev says:

    Gotta say RC78 that the prospect of signing Perisic leaves me seriously underwhelmed, whilst the Carrasco saga leaves me alarmed at the thought of him joining Arsenal.

  27. Sue says:

    How is that even possible for the spuds to spend that much, with the cost of their stadium? Yet we’re haggling over 15-20m!!! Sheesh!!
    I read that after all the hoo-ha surrounding Carrasco, he isn’t for sale! 😳 Perisic – he’s too old!! All these rumours I swear are getting worse!!

  28. LBG says:

    Still believe A M-N or even Smith-Rowe can develop into that Centre Midfield carrier we are looking for.
    Saliba and Tierney will do for me at present, then, if we can get rid of more of the dross before the window closes, a big bid for Pepe or Saha. Other than that “all we are saying is give youth a chance”!!

  29. RA says:

    Morning Sue,

    It is no surprise really that the lowest budget brings the highest chance of recruiting rubbish.

    We are pretty good at that.

    The Spuds are supposed to be prepared to sell Erickson, who was bought for peanuts, and is likely to go to Spain for big bucks.

    They are much better than us at buying potential talent carefully and selling big. The obvious one is Bale to Real — we did not want him, and bought Walcott, they bought Bale for £5m and sold for £95m.

    It can be done — but Arsenal seem to buy and sell by committee, and instead of buying a thoroughbred horse, end up with a camel.

  30. RA says:


    You must be careful about disparaging our mighty £45m transfer fund — next year Mr Kroenke will restrict it to £20m.

    Ridiculous? Well who in an age when players are frequently bought/sold for £100m to £200m, and even CBs are fought for by top 4 English clubs for £70m, while we have such a ridiculously low transfer kitty + what we can get by selling players no club wants for anything more than buttons?

  31. Sue says:

    Hello RA.. yes I totally agree – half of the team are 2 humped camels 😳😂

    Ha 20m? If we’re lucky… Stan is having problems of his own (no not his wig) with being sued? Will it have an impact on us??

  32. Sue says:

    RA.. so Eriksen may end up going to the Mancs!! That explains it then – thank you for that! 😄
    I have to say, I am a lil excited over Tierney, I only watch Celtic when they play Rangers (😁) but I’ve been watching clips of him and he does look gooood!! Buy him (& Wilf) sell a few camels & we’re good to go!! (just about 😜)

  33. Rasp says:

    Morning all …

    … New post …

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent post, Els. It will be a hard read for those who believe we need to spend BIG to achieve glory, but investing in youth and slowly building a team of winners is a worthy strategic approach. The problem is that Arsenal play in the PL and not in the Dutch or French league. The gap between youth players and established players is big in the PL and we at Arsenal are not very good at developing and then nurturing a clear and competitive system of football. Ajax are renowned for this and the likes of Bosz (now gone) and Bergkamp did magic with a group of youthful talents. I really cannot see Arsenal do this, especially not under Emery.

    So I am hoping that we will see a few more youth players getting a chance in the next seasons and that we keep strengthening the team with one or two quality additions, especially on the left flank. I believe we have a good team that needs to be managed better next season. Focussing much more on youth is a romantic thought, and I am not totally against it and much prefer it to the let’s get ourselves our own oil-daddy approach, but I reckon we need to build further on the qualities of Leno, Sok, Hold, Bel, Xhaka, Tor, Ozil, Auba and Laca next season, and if Emery cannot do this he will be doing us a disservice and a need to go.

  35. fred1266 says:

    U saying that with a lot of confidence RC78

  36. fred1266 says:

    Every keep saying we need a DM isn’t torreira that

  37. fred1266 says:

    Who suing him sue lol

  38. Sue says:

    Fred.. it’s something to do with the Ram’s fans.. about buying tickets before they moved to LA

  39. fred1266 says:

    Thought was u doing the Sue ing

  40. Sue says:

    Nice one, Fred 👌 brilliant!! 😂

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