If Mikel Arteta isn’t keeping tabs on the talents emerging from the Arsenal academy, he should be and if Per Mertesacker and Steve Bould aren’t banging on his door daily with a shortlist of names, then the problem at the Emirates is worse than we all thought.
Next season should see massive changes in personnel at the club with several high-profile exits. It’s expected that there will be some new arrivals in the summer but the Arsenal bench could start to reflect a stronger reliance on emerging talents including Joel Lopez, Omari Giraud-Hutchinson, Folarin Balogun, Miguel Azeez, Omar Rekik, Catalin Cirjan, Ben Cottrell, Trae Coyle, Nikolaj Moller, and George Lewis.
Let’s not forget that Arsenal still have to decide on William Saliba, who has been slapped with a one-month ban by the French FA a few days back, and Konstantinos Mavropanos, currently plying his trade in the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart, so that’s a whole new side, plus that could save Arsenal a small fortune and at the same time provide the energy and quality that they so urgently need.
I don’t expect them all to come through next season but I’d be amazed if at least four or five didn’t join Saka and Smith Rowe in the same side at some point, even if it’s from the bench. We’ve had our period of doom and gloom over the last week or two and it’s time that we put the season to one side to some degree so that we can plan for the brand new season.
Arteta needs new faces for sure, but he has an abundance of talent waiting in the wings which he has so far failed to call on such as Gabriel Martinelli, something which has left fans bemused. The majority of fans including myself would have quite happily had him starting ahead of many inconsistent senior players well over a month ago.
Arteta has flatly refused to take a chance on the Brazilian even though results have been less than impressive but surely, he can’t continue to ignore the talent at his fingertips or that’s just emerging from the shadows. Although there have been rumours that the club will support Arteta in the transfer market in the summer, don’t expect a cash injection of £200m because much of the spending will be dependent on sales.
Therefore, Arteta needs to look at the resources at his disposal at Arsenal and give some of the emerging talents the chance to show their ability in the Premier League. Saka has shown what can be achieved along with Smith Rowe and there are a host of others just as good waiting for the call to arms.
Just as George Graham had to rely on his youngsters after his appointment in 1986, Arteta faces his era knowing that he may have to follow in the Scotsman’s footsteps. Would that be so terrible?