Emery’s halo slips as an Arsenal academy prospect serves a warning for the emerging talents at the Emirates.
The Arsenal academy has been mentioned heavily for one reason or another over the last season or so.
Much has been made of the wealth of talent waiting in the wings and that Arsenal are in excellent shape for the future.
The media has suggested that the club could save millions on buying players by introducing a number of prospects instead of actively seeking expensive replacements from overseas.
When Unai Emery was installed as head coach, CEO Ivan Gazidis mentioned the Arsenal academy and the inclusion of its players at the top level, something that Emery was said to be in full agreement with.
That was then and apart from Iwobi and Maitland-Niles, Emery has tended to stick with his senior players, even when a decent finish in the Premier League eluded them.
So, it’s not quite the success story we imagined thus far, especially when the club released the highly regarded left back Cohen Bramall, midfielder Charlie Gilmour and young Spanish defender Julio Pleguezuelo.
This week the 23-year-old Bramall, who was plucked from obscurity from non-league side Hednesford Town, shed light on his departure.
He’s said that he knew that his future was in doubt as soon as it was announced that Arsene Wenger was to leave the club. The initial euphoria of being scouted and snapped up by Arsenal was replaced with confusion and frustration. Bramall never got his chance to shine and was never to appear in the first team.
“When Arsene left it changed the whole thing for me,”
“I’m gutted that he left. When Unai came in I was hoping to train across with the first-team but I didn’t really get that opportunity.”
He went on:
“A lot of staff went, Neil Banfield, the boss obviously and other people round the club. A lot of people went and that made a big impact. But that’s life and it happens.”
“I didn’t have a conversation with Unai at all. That’s the thing. I didn’t have a conversation with him once.”
“It was probably difficult for him because I’m guessing he was told I didn’t have the best of loans at Birmingham, so he just binned me off.”
“And when I did get told to go over there and train, it was at the last minute. That’s the thing that upset me a bit because I didn’t get the chance to show Unai what I could do, like I did with Arsene.”
So, like my previous articles on the same subject, I have to ask, is their any real intent in the claims that Arsenal are committed to the Academy or are they just released to balance the books or sold on for a tidy profit.
I’m starting to think that Arsenal’s financial woes might be a blessing in disguise for the youngsters and the fact that the club won’t be able to spend their way out of trouble is a good thing.
All the time Chelsea were throwing money around, the club loaned out its youngsters and at one time under Mourinho, the Londoners had around 30 prospects out on loan.
It’s quite a lucrative business and one that allows the parent club to remove a large chunk of wages from it’s accounts whilst collecting a small gratuity in the process.
Is that what we can expect from Arsenal ? I damn well hope not because in the past, the academy has been nothing but a cash cow selling to other clubs.
Bramall is just one of many that hasn’t made the cut, but he still managed to look back fondly on his time with the club and was in a positive frame of mind when he said
“Obviously the last two-and-a-half years have been amazing. My dream was to start for the first-team in a competitive game and I didn’t get to do that.”
Let’s hope that he is the last Arsenal academy player to be ‘binned’ without a single word being said.
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