How do you rate our young players?

We’ve talked a lot so far this season about the potential of some of our youngsters. Unai Emery started the ball rolling using Nelson, Willock, Smith-Rowe, Nketiah, Martinelli and Saka sparingly and now some of those are starting games for us.

Arteta (and Freddie before him) has continued to allow these talented young players to grow in the first team and in front of our eyes. Eddie Nketiah was brought back from a loan to Leeds where he wasn’t getting game time and last Sunday started in the Centre-forward position alongside Pepe and Aubameyang. He was unlucky not to bag a goal, having a terrific shot rebound of the post but that meant that Martinelli missed out.

The player that has impressed me the most is Saka. I’m sure that with all his attacking prowess he would not have expected to get minutes in the first team as a left-back. There was an interesting quote from him yesterday which, to me, sums up what an intelligent young man he must be.

Saka: “In the future if I do get to go back onto the wing I feel like I know how full-backs play and playing as a full-back I know what wingers do, what I like them to do and what I don’t like them to do. It’s a good learning experience for me.”

So yesterday, Rocky posed this question on the blog, it was rhetorical but lets explore what people think about the diamonds we might have produced.

 

RockyLives says:

I can’t quite make my mind up about Guendouzi’s ceiling.

At times I feel he could grow into a Vieira/Yaya type of player. At other times (when he’s running round like a headless chicken), not so much.

I would rank our young up-and-comers in this order based on their potential:

1. Martinelli
2. Saka
3. Willock
4. Guendouzi
5. Nelson
6. AMN
7. Nketieh

I know that seems harsh on Eddie, but it’s tough to make it as a central striker and we’ve seen many promising candidates over the years burn brightly for a short while before fading away. I hope Eddie is an exception.

I don’t feel I’ve seen enough of Smith-Rowe to include him at this stage but I know many fans rate him very highly.

How would you rank our youngsters in terms of their potential?

peachesgooner

45 Responses to How do you rate our young players?

  1. So ……. really I wanted to write a post about how injuries to another of your best players could impact on your season but as I believe in Karma I thought it best not to go there 😉

  2. Pete the Thirst says:

    Martinelli & Saka look real prospects. I see Martinelli becoming a CF & Saka on the wing.

    Guendouzi is potential world class if he sorts his attitude out.

    Willock has bags of energy but not sure what his best position is right now.

    AMN needs to cut out the silly mistakes, but again I’m not sure what position he is best in.

    Smith-Rowe is a season away from the first team.

    I haven’t seen much from Nelson to justify the hype of a few seasons back. Saka’s emergence has overshadowed him.

    Nketiah is another that hasn’t really produced yet. There must be reasons that he wasn’t starting at Leeds. I don’t think he will make it with us.

  3. RA says:

    It’s not a bad idea to respect Karma, Peaches and thank you for your composite Post with Rocky that should garner some very interesting opinions. 😁

    I, too, try to rein in my opinions about young players – and some older ones as well – as having followed the career paths of some of our younger players over the years, it has often proved somewhat anticlimactic as they then achieved relatively little as the years passed by.

    One of those has been L’il Jack Wilshere. So convinced was I that he was the next Arsenal footballing God, that I tried to get to see as many ‘junior’ games as possible (and some where it was impossible) for the pleasure of watching his skills develop and then see him burst into the first team.

    We all know what happened there, through no fault of his.

    So, I shall ponder on what and how I give any opinion on the latest batch of youth coming through, and try to avoid jinxing them. 🥺

  4. RC78 says:

    1. Saka
    2. Martinelli
    3. Guendouzi
    4. Willock
    5. Saliba,
    6. AMN
    7. Nelsson, Nketiah, Smithe-Rowe

    I am putting Saka first because he has shown some real tactical awareness and physical fortitude in the last few games. Martinelli grabs headlines and will be but I think that Saka can pip him to be our next talisman. If Saka can quickly develop into a Sancho type of player, it would be quite amazing. Sancho is really phenomenal.

    I put Saliba in the top young prospects as well 🙂

    As for my last 3 players, I think they can and will do fine but will they be starters for us. I am less convinced and out of the three, Nelsson has the most chances

    ? – Bellerin, Chambers, Saliba, Tierney – Torreira, Douzi – Nelsson, Wilson, Saka – Martinelli

  5. RA says:

    Who is “Wilson” RC??

    Is he someone you have hidden up your sleeve? 😜

  6. RC78 says:

    @RA – Wilson is Willock with Nelson s dribbling skills 😉

  7. Rasp says:

    Thanks peaches, all very encouraging and potentially a situation that could save a lot of money in the transfer window to target on one or two really top quality signings.

    That’s a very mature and sensible response from Saka to playing at LB. It seems strikers (TH14) learn a lot from playing as wingers, wingers learn from playing as wing backs and DM’s learn from playing as CB’s. It makes sense really.

    As for the order of potential, I’d put Saka and Martinelli on the same level = massive prospects – and both already being looked at by ‘big’ clubs, so tying them up to improved contracts is a must.

    Guendouzi is the conundrum. We’ve seen him take hold of games and drive play when his teammates stopped making runs and showing for the ball. He may be at some sort of crossroads now. If Arteta has had to drop him due to attitude, he must buckle down. He’s not a superstar yet. The very best players never stop working on improvement. It’s a short career, the partying can happen when he retires a multimillionaire!

  8. Sue says:

    I really hope ESR has a great loan spell at Huddersfield… has real potential… I hope we don’t let him go permanently.
    I’m not sure about Nelson… have my doubts about him being with us long term. And yes why wasn’t Eddie starting at Leeds???
    All being said though we have some real gems on our hands 👍

  9. LBG says:

    Thanks Peaches
    Given the glut of talented yoof, I am no longer convinced of the future top level ( our level) success of AM-N and Nelson. But I want to add three names to the rest ( as Rasp predicted), Mavrapanos, John Jules and another left back called Bola.
    My top three for real success would be Martinelli, Saliba and Smith-Rowe.

  10. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Peaches, and Rocky by default 🙂 Missed a few posts recently, including my own one, but time has been a tad limited.

    So our youngsters? A very tricky question as to how to rate them as there can be many variables involved in a promising youngster transcending into a top 1st team player. Injuries, who else (more senior) plays in their position at any given time, high level coaching input, individual attitude and belief, the success or not of loan spells e.t.c

    Without sounding negative we really haven’t progressed our promising young players to any great effect for the last 10 years, maybe a couple of minor successes aside. I am sure there are many different reasons for this, and each one may be different for each young player.

    One factor that now makes me a lot more confident about more promising youngsters making that progression is having the right modern coaching environment in place. I think we have lacked this for a number of years now, but something feels more positive about how these young players are being coached now that I feel will see more succeed.

    Time will of course tell, but I feel the academy and 1st team coaching now seems to be of the modern required standard to help our youngsters make that jump. Much may also depend on who comes and goes in the summer and how Arteta sees this, however, I have confidence and faith that Arteta knows what he has and doesn’t have, and which player has the true potential, and will make the right choices.

    It could easily be that ones we thought were more certain dwindle and ones that we thought weren’t going to make the jump suddenly do. With that in mind, I am not even sure if I can rate them in order because some current factors favour one over another, but it doesn’t mean that ones seemingly further down the pecking order at present will not blossom a bit later.

    Certainly Martinelli and Saka look the stand-outs, and kudos to them. They have seized their moment but have also had favourable opportunity in the positions they play. There was an opening at left wing / wing forward as an available position and Martinelli stepped into it. Ditto with Saka at LFB, but it will be interesting what happens with Saka if he indeed goes back to being a winger once Tierney returns, because at present he is being judged as a full back.

    In my mind Saka is maybe in competition with Pepe in the longer term, so his opportunity for game time may diminish somewhat if and when he changes position, unless of course one of him or Pepe moves into a central number 10 / ACM role and shows they are the eventual successor to Ozil.

    Reiss Nelson could still become an excellent player across that front line behind the striker and joins Saka, Pepe, and Martinelli in our options in those roles, and in reality 4 is not too many.

    I am in the camp that feels Douzi has been slightly overplayed in how good he is right now. Part of me feels that is because, in our recent period of dire play and results (pre Arteta), he has shown, at a tender age, some commitment in his play and a few flashes of brilliance. It stood out more because there was very little else that was decent and positive to seize upon.

    These plusses need to be recognised though, just more in context, and right now I feel we should ensure we keep him and develop him, but I still feel there is a lot of his game that needs improving if he is to carve out an effective CM role at a top EPL team. Chiefly for me is that something still feels a bit pedestrian about his game that is not entirely complimentary to the EPL, but I would like to see if he can increase the pace in his game and his forward drives and goal-threat.

    Smith-Rowe needs an injury free period, and maybe a decent loan spell, but he is one to be judged later on at this stage. Nketieh was a tad unlucky with his loan to Leeds in that he was not complimentary to Bamfield and it was a choice of playing either or with those two. Bamfield is a work horse, which Biesla seemed to prefer, but most Leeds fans would probably say that Eddie was the superior goal scorer and was a bit unlucky with his lack of playing time.

    We maybe need to wait another full season after this to see what happens with Eddie. What happens with Laca and Auba may have a big say.

    AMN worries me the most. He looked for all the world as if he had the tools to be a modern attacking FB, but it was almost as if he didn’t fancy the position enough to really push his development in it, and I now wonder if he has missed his moment.

    He sees himself as a midfielder, but where in reality does he drop into our side in midfield where we are not already well covered? He would be far down the pecking order in almost every midfield position, but again you just never know.

    The one CM position that he could nail, if he shows an aptitude and desire for it, would be at the base of midfield. He has the athleticism that Xhaka doesn’t, so has a head start in many ways. However, this position requires focus on reading the game, seeing and reacting to danger in advance, and a good understanding of positioning. Sometimes I worry about his “in game” focus, and I am not sure whether this is one of those areas that can be coached into a player beyond a certain age.

  11. RA says:

    Trawling through my memories to see how I could separate wishful thinking from analytical value judgements, I thought I would have a look back at other ‘gems’ in Arsenal’s past, one of whom (L’il Jack) I have already mentioned, who did not make it, for whatever reason, and found we (fans) are not alone in trying to establish some sort of a tick list to help our decision making about which, if any, youth players can make a career at Arsenal.

    That led me to realise the Arsenal coaches were not too good at that either, and that was also the case at other clubs.

    The way I went about it, with a lot of meandering through the internet, was to look at some top players who did make it, and see if there were some consistent markers in their early development, other than talent, that had helped them to become top professionals.

    It was really interesting.

    We all know how determined salmon are , once they mature as adults, to return from the deep dark ocean to the river, and fight their way upstream to the breeding grounds where they were born.

    A lot of beautiful fish do not make it, as humans, bears and other natural calamities cull them at nearly every turn.

    A similar thing happens to youthful footballing tyros as they are culled at every stage of their development, not by bears and the like, but by coaches who have to be convinced they are suitable to proceed to the next level of football development, or chucked back into the ‘also ran’ stream.

    Talk Sport had a great article showing some of the decisions by coaches that may have broken some youthful hearts, but ended up breaking the errant clubs’ hearts instead.

    Don’t forget, these coaches were attempting, with greater knowledge, to do what we have been tasked to do by Peaches and Rock!

    So here we go:

    Arsene Wenger was angry when he found out the Tottenham and England striker [Harry Kane] had slipped through the net, while City thought United ace Rashford was too small.

    By talkSPORT

    Kylian Mbappe once had a trial at Premier League club Chelsea before he decided to join Monaco’s youth team.

    The 19-year-old decided the south of France instead of south west London was where he thought he had the best chance of developing his talent.
    “I was still young back then, maybe 10 or 11. I went to London and spent just under a week over there. I trained at Chelsea and we played a friendly match against Charlton,” he has said.

    “We won 6-0 or 7-0. I played upfront, but I don’t think I scored. It was great – it was my first experience abroad and a chance for me to see what the game was like in England.”

    11. Mario Balotelli at Barcelona – scroll through the gallery to see more footballer who were rejected as youngsters – Balotelli’s family secured the young Italian a trial at Barca in June 2006. However, doubts about his attitude meant the deal never went ahead despite scoring an impressive five goals.

    10. Marcus Rashford at Man City – At the age of nine, Fletcher Moss Rangers’ Rashford was on Manchester City’s radar. The club was walking distance from his family home, but he was deemed to small and Man United capitalised to beat their rivals to the striker’s signature. “They didn’t fancy him because he was a bit on the small side and didn’t pick him up,” Fletcher Moss Rangers’ club secretary Ron Jamieson said.

    9. Diego Costa at Corinthians, Palmeiras and Santos – Brazil-born Costa never made it to one of the country’s top club academies, due to a lack of proper scouting rather than a lack of talent. He was eventually spotted at 15 by agent Jorge Mendes who took him across the Atlantic to Braga.

    8. Roy Keane at Brighton – Desperate for a trial at any club, a 15-year-old Keane thought he had one at Brighton, but the club cancelled it the day before because they heard he was too small. This is the same Roy Keane who was the heartbeat of Man United’s success in the 1990s and early noughties. Undeterred, Keane wrote to Football League clubs asking for a trial and was eventually signed by Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in 1990 before joining United three years later.

    7. Antoine Griezmann at Lyon – As a boy, Griezmann was rejected by a host of clubs including Lyon, Auxerre, Saint-Etienne and Sochaux. The clubs cited his lack of height for their decisions.

    6. Luke Shaw at Chelsea – A boyhood Chelsea fan, Shaw played at the club’s Guildford development centre, but wasn’t offered an academy place. Instead, Shaw joined the Southampton academy aged eight and stayed there until his big money move to Man United in 2014.

    5. Harry Kane at Arsenal – Kane spent a year in the Arsenal academy before being released, due to a lack of height and pace. In 2015, Gunners manager Arsene Wenger said he was disappointed the club had chosen to release Kane. “I didn’t know, I read it in the papers,” the former manager said. “I found it quite funny, you know, and you are always a bit angry as well because I asked: ‘Why did he go?’ But at that age, boys can move here and there.”

    4. Javier Zanetti at Independiente – As a teen, Zanetti was told by Independiente’s youth academy he didn’t have the physique to succeed in the game. The Argentine ended up playing 868 times for Inter, winning a host of silverware in an incredible career.

    3. Ruud Gullit at Arsenal – When he was 19, Gullit had a trial at Arsenal but was turned down because manager Terry Neill couldn’t justify the £300,000 price tag. “Every manager has a skeleton in his cupboard and Gullit is certainly mine,” Neill, who managed the club between 1976 and 1983, said.

    2. Franco Baresi at Inter – If things had turned out differently, the Milan legend could have ended up playing for their bitter rivals, Inter, where his brother was playing. “I wanted to follow him so I had a trial first with Inter, and they said, ‘Well, come back next year.’ But my coach took me to Milan, and there I was accepted, although it took a couple of trials. They were worried about my size, that I wouldn’t grow much, or toughen up. I was only 14 at the time.” Baresi ended up playing 719 games between 1977 and 1997 for the club and was crowned ‘Player of the Century.’

    1. Ronaldo at Flamengo – As a teenager, Ronaldo was turned down by his favourite club Flamengo. He joined Cruzeiro instead and scored 44 goals in 47 games and went on to become one of football’s greatest ever players. Among other players, he starred for Inter, Barcelona and Real Madrid as well as winning the World Cup with Brazil and has 15 strikes to his name in the tournament.

    After reading that, I wish you all well with your opinions as to who will make it at Arsenal, and who will not – I think I might give it a miss, after reading that! 😛

  12. Maxwell says:

    Thanks Peaches. It’s an annual event to trawl the Academy and predict which potentials will become successful. I thought Chuks Aneke was nailed-on to make it. Now plying his trade at Charlton. I also believed Josh da Silva would be a star. Playing at Brentford. Then there was Daniel Crowley, rather small, but very skilful, and with wicked dead-ball delivery. Back in England at Birmingham City, after a spell in Holland.

    So to the current crop, the most exciting aspect of whom is the number. Surely some of these can reach for the stars!

    1) Miguel Azeez
    2) Charlie Patino
    3) Gabriel Martinelli
    4) Bukayo Saka
    5) Omari Hutchinson
    6) Folarin Balogun
    7) William Saliba
    8) Joe Willock
    9) Matteo Guendouzi
    10) Tyreece John-Jules

    I’m afraid I have doubts already about Emile Smith-Rowe and Eddie Nketiah, and I’m seriously disappointed with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson.

  13. RC78 says:

    PSG is the king of missing out on promising young players and at losing in CL knock-out stages too 😦

    PSG also is very good at not giving a chance to promising players like Dembele, Edouard, Coman, Diaby, Zagadou recently…

  14. kelsey says:

    Thanks peaches.

    I rate 1 to 4 and maybe 5 but this isn’t project youth part two. These kids need mentors like Fabregas had when at 16 he made the first team he was surrounded by class.
    I also think Auba will go and Saka,Martinelli and Willock are already proving they are the real deal. Ozil needs to play as he is a mentor but he won’t play every game. Guendouzzi already is a step up for me but as I said before he will be part of the squad. Xhaka may still go as weighing things up he is more of a liability than an asset. I hope Torreira stays and Dani goes back to Madrid at the end of the season so we maybe looking for anorher playmaker.

  15. LB says:

    Good post and top question from Rocky which I have to admit that I missed yesterday.

    I agree with the majority, Martinelli and Saka are rightly at the top, not a lot to choose between them but I would then put Guendouzi above Willock followed by the other three but the one that most interests me at the moment is A Maitland-Niles.

    I think he had cut out a lot of the mistakes in the last games that he played at right back to the point where people on here where calling for him to be played ahead of Bellerin against Chelsea.

    The fascinating part is what is Arteta going to do with him? He is no longer reserve right back that has been taken by Soares; he is way too talented to be let go and yet nothing seems obvious as to where he should be played, it really is a case of watch this space.

    I find it very interesting.

  16. RA says:

    Spot on, Kelsey. 😁

  17. Sue says:

    Says on Arsenal’s website Ozil will miss tomorrow because of personal reasons…. and Torreira is ill… but may fly out if he feels better…

  18. RockyLives says:

    Interesting discussion.

    There seems to be a lot of agreement around Martinelli and Saka (not surprisingly, given that they have been the stand-outs so far).

    Guendouzi could go either way.

    I’ve seen enough from Willock to think he has a decent chance of making it. I’ve said on here before that his style reminds me of Rocky Rocastle. Part of that is his body language and shape, but also his style of play.

    For me the jury’s out on Nelson and Nketieh.

    AMN is an interesting one. I think he’s done pretty well at RB (better than some are giving him credit for). Don’t be surprised if he’s getting games in MF before the end of the season.

  19. RockyLives says:

    GoonerB and Redders

    Dear Lord!

    I felt a great deal of satisfaction as I reached the end of GB’s characteristically long and informative post. I had enjoyed the read of course, but finally seeing light through the trees, as it were, I had the satisfaction of a jungle explorer who has been hiking across the Amazon for weeks and finally sees ahead the end of the forest.

    Not so though! No sooner had I emerged than I immediately wandered into an even bigger forest (this time of Giant Redderwoods) that made GoonerB’s effort look like a municipal park.

    Having now traversed both mighty slices of the Greenwood, I am full of fresh information and thoughts, but need to go away and have a lie down.

    Well done gentlemen, very well done!

  20. RA says:

    Rocky 😄 😜

  21. RA says:

    Rocky,

    I was heartened to learn that you were very taken by GB’s expounding on the merits, or otherwise, of Youth A, Youth B and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

    That set me to thinking, yet again, that, in my opinion, AA may well have been built on the concept that listening/reading the opinions of all its contributors and treating those opinions, subjective though they undoubtedly are, with due respect, and that in turn enables us all to avoid hurtful and really rather pointless arguments or forceful disagreements!

    What a lovely warming idea, and one we can all be justifiably proud of.

    And yet, and yet ……. there is just a small snagglepuss clonking around, in what is left of my brain, telling me I’m talking utter bollix when I express that opinion, because my own opinions. on the whole, tend to be frivolous flibbertygibbets out for a good time, and very much on a par with the smugly felicitous smile of a beguilingly duplicitous Cheshire Cat directing all and sundry to a mad hatters tea party.

    👀 Not that I am admitting to being a Tigger bouncing around pell mell looking for someone to play with!! 👀

    — We are family, I got all my AA’ers with me
    We are family get up everybody and sing, — sing it to me
    Tigger brings you cream cake and tea……….

  22. RC78 says:

    FYI
    – Most valuable U23 players according to transfermarkt and all worth more than 80 Mln EUR:

    1. Mbappe (PSG) – French
    2. Sancho (Dortmund) – English
    3. Trent Arnold (Liverpool) – English
    4. Joao Felix (Atletico) – Portuguese
    5. F. De Jong (Barcelona) – Dutch
    6. Havertz (Leverkusen) – German
    7. D. Alli (Tottenham) – English
    8. L. Martinez (Inter) – Argentine
    9. Rodri (Man City) – Spanish
    10. Rashford (Man Utd) – English

    -> 9 European players, 1 South American
    -> 4 English players,
    -> 4 play in the Premier League

    The first Arsenal player is ranked 30, valued at 50 Mln EUR and is…Mateo Guendouzi.

    Martinelli, Willock valued at 18 Mln and Saka at 13 Mln.

  23. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    @4.26
    You’ve summed up this place perfectly – it’s the reason I stick around…

  24. RockyLives says:

    RC
    I was really impressed with Sancho last night. How come Man City let him go?

    Alli at number 7 and Rashford number 10 seem way too high up the list, but perhaps that reflects the inflated value of UK ‘home grown’ players in the EPL.

    I wouldn’t swap Alli or Rashford for Saka or Martinelli…

  25. RC78 says:

    @RL – Sancho is phenomenal. I think Sancho basically left because City already had plenty of firepower on the wings and they also are decent enough to let young players grow elsewhere.

    Alli seems a bit high on the list but that said, the guy could turn out to be the next hybrid “Lampard-Bergkamp” so let us see…

    Rashford at 10 is fair – I think that he has proven at the highest level already that he can make a difference. He is fast, direct, can dribble and score. He needs more consistency but overall, he is a very promising young forward. I d take him in my team but not swap him with either Saka or Martinelli. He could come as a supplement maybe once Auba leaves 🙂

    Haaland’s value is going to go through the roof by this summer. He is really a young and better version of Ibra. Impressive.

    If Douzi is already worth 50 Mln and Arteta does not want to have him in the squad, then I suppose we can take these 50 Mln and reinvest them in a player like Brozovic, Milinkovic-Savic for example.

  26. Pete the Thirst says:

    Sancho & his agent forced a move from Man City. The story goes that he wanted playing time. Makes sense, but there could have been financial reasons too.

    If you look at the lack of playing time Foden gets Sancho made the right decision, but I’m not sure Foden is half the player the media are making out.

    Think of our own massive mishaps in this area. The biggest Serge Gnabry: the guy clearly had talent but was wasted with a loan to Spewlis at WBA.

  27. RA says:

    Rocky,

    Pep Guardiola said Jadon Sancho left the club because he “didn’t want to” accept the challenge of breaking into the team at the Etihad Stadium.

    Sancho left City for Borussia Dortmund in 2017 aged 17 without having made a first-team appearance for the Sky Blues.

    Per the Mirror’s Matt Maltby, Guardiola was asked about his decision, and while it’s clear he bears no grudges against the youngster for leaving, he indicated Sancho took the easy way out:

    “I don’t know. He didn’t want to take this challenge, this opportunity to discover if he was able to.

    “He decided to go there. So, it’s perfect. It’s going well and congratulations on what he is doing.

    “He is doing an incredible performance. He did it incredibly well this season. What would have happened this season [at City]? I don’t know. Again, with the players, it depends on them and what they do on the pitch.”

    The decision seems to have paid off for Sancho, who has become a first-team regular at Dortmund this season.

    He has made 34 appearances in all competitions, starting 23 of them, and contributed nine goals and 15 assists along the way.

    The teenager’s remarkable pace and skill have been on show for all to see:

    — Football on BT Sport
    @btsportfootball
    £100m for Jadon Sancho? 🤑 He is being linked with a huge move back to the Premier League… He’s tearing up the Bundesliga this season 🙌

    Squawka shared the numbers behind his impressive showing against Hoffenheim:

    — Squawka Football
    @Squawka
    Jadon Sancho’s game by numbers vs. Hoffenheim: 7 take-ons 4 shots 2 shots on target 2 chances created 2 crosses 1 goal So, so good. ⭐️

    His efforts have earned him three senior England appearances under Gareth Southgate, and he’s in their squad once again for their upcoming UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying fixtures against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

    BT Sport pundit and former England international Rio Ferdinand has a high opinion of Sancho:

    —- Football on BT Sport
    @btsportfootball
    “I think he will be the best English player in the coming years.” Driven. Professional. Talented. Jadon Sancho is setting the football world alight 👏 His showreel is 🔥

    By contrast, Phil Foden—who was in the same generation as Sancho coming through City’s academy—has played just 876 minutes of senior football with the Sky Blues this season.

    Spread across 23 appearances, he has averaged just 38 minutes on the pitch per outing and started just eight times. Of those starts, none have come in the Premier League, and half of them have been against lower league opposition in the Carabao or FA Cup.

    Had Sancho remained at City, he’d be competing with Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva for game time, so for all his talent, he’d likely be in a similar situation to Foden.

    Foden has impressed and may gradually become a more regular contributor in the first team, but Sancho is playing high-level football regularly in a formative time in his development.

    What’s more, while getting into Dortmund’s side may be easier than doing the same at City, Sancho’s exit also saw him move to a different country at the age of 17.

    If his move to Dortmund seems easy, it is because he has made it look easy.

    City tried really hard to keep him, but failed.

    Sancho is from London, and Chelsea, Arsenal and the Totts tried to get him, but he was 17 y.o. and only Borussia would pay the wages he was demanding, and also he did not want to upset the City fans by staying in the EPL.

    But that is a ridiculous fee Borussia are demanding – and will get.

  28. Pete the Thirst says:

    I’m surprised Marcus Rashford is so high up that list. IMO he’s fast but a rotten finisher. Similar to Theo Walcott.

    Alli on the other hand has a serious amount of talent (shame he’s at Spurs)

    Mbappe is just phenomenal.

  29. RockyLives says:

    Interesting stuff Redders. Someone should show that piece about the relative fortunes of Sancho/Foden to the likes of Saka and Martinelli if they get tempted to up sticks and head to the likes of City of ‘Pool.

    Be a star at Arsenal, or a bit-part bench-warmer at Man City…

  30. RA says:

    Pete,

    Rashford is at Spurs??? Secret transfer then?

    You compare Rashford to Theo — both being fast but rotten finishers. I have to admit that is quite the opposite to my thoughts/opinion on Theo.

    Theo was fast years ago, but his many injuries slowed him down, that was why he rarely took full backs on, and preferred to pass backwards, but when given the chance, and he got in on goal, he finished well – and poorly in equal proportions.

    Just an opinion. But rather ancient history now. 🤪

  31. RA says:

    Sorry, Pete,

    Misread the ‘Ali” bit as I am speed reading – please accept my apologies!! 😩

  32. Sue says:

    KDB is pure class 👌 West Ham are short of goals… splashed 22m on Jarrod Bowen, and he’s on the bench!!! They’re in trouble now……

    Thought Leipzig would be winning by now 😉

  33. Rasp says:

    They are Sue …..

  34. Sue says:

    Rasp.. ain’t that sweet?! 😜

  35. RockyLives says:

    Oh Dear… Spuds lost at home 😀

  36. Rasp says:

    Maureen’s implosion cranked a little closer …. I give him no longer than to the end of the season …

  37. Sue says:

    A very enjoyable week so far……

  38. RockyLives says:

    Dunno Rasp
    I reckon Maureen knows this is his last chance saloon so he might control himself for longer than otherwise.

  39. LB says:

    I agree Sue, this has been a good week so far……

  40. Le Coq Monster says:

    Arsenal are the only team, in the top 5 European leagues, still unbeaten in 2020……………………………I could see this happening at the start of the year………………….it was my 2020 vision!

  41. RockyLives says:

    By far the greatest team…

  42. Sue says:

    LB.. 👍

    You funny sod, Le Coq 😜

  43. fred1266 says:

    Mikel Arteta confirmed Matteo Guendouzi was dropped for Sunday’s 4-0 Premier League win over Newcastle United due to his attitude in training.

    The France youth international was reported to have been involved in a bust-up with Arteta at the club’s warm weather training camp in Dubai during the mid-season break.

    Speaking at a news conference ahead of his side’s Europa League clash with Olympiacos on Thursday, Arteta revealed the 20-year-old’s absence was related to issues with how he was training.

    “I just do my team selection in regards to how they train, how they play, how they behave and every week it will be different,” he said.

    “One week it will be one reason, one week it will be another reason. It was about the way we trained, the way we live and I want the best players for the game and I select them in relation to what I see on a daily basis.”

    Guendouzi has been named in Arteta’s squad for the last-32 first-leg clash in Athens, but the Spaniard refused to confirm if he will be selected in the starting XI.

    Arsenal

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    Athens, let’s go! 👊

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    He added: “We had a break of 15 days. We played just one game so I’m going to send out a team that I think is the best to play.

    “The rest of the game will take care of itself. We cannot control everything. Sometimes you think about resting somebody and in training he gets a little issue or he gets sick.

    “So, we will send out a team that we think is the best to beat Olympiacos and the rest of the teams after that will take care of themselves.”

    Arteta has also not ruled out that Pablo Mari could feature for the Gunners for the first time against Olympiacos.

    Mari is yet to appear for the first team since joining on loan from Brazilian side Flamengo in January, but Arteta has suggested that he could be involved soon after coming through a reserve team game earlier this week unscathed.

    Arteta, who was not present at the match, said: “I could not be there for a personal reason. I was pleased they [his staff] were there.

    “His [Mari] commitment has been really good. He did well the other day and hopefully soon we can start to use him.”

  44. Yay ….. game day ……………

    Morning all

    We have a New Post ……………..

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