Football has evolved to the level where everyone is more concerned about results, so there is a high demand for teams to lineup their strongest possible squads to challenge for every competition. Different football club board of directors have different expectations for their respective teams and it cascades down to the manager to assemble a team capable of matching those expectations, because if he doesn’t his head will be on a plate and a new manager would be hired.
Oil-rich clubs like PSG and Manchester City can afford to have their fare shares of ‘trails and errors’, because the money is readily available for the managers to sign whoever they please as long as the prices is right. With clubs spending big for talent out there, what would happen to the young ones coming up? Different teams have different philosophies (I know LVG has abused this word – sadly) when it comes to player recruitment. FC Barcelona, for instance, isn’t afraid to spend big when they want to, but the club believes in investing in the sheer talent available from their world-famous La Masia Academy, and when you think of the fact that the club has produced world beaters like Lionel Messi and co., you can tell that investing from within is a plausible option too.
That brings us to a club like Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger has been on the helm for 18 years and he has seen several generations of players come and go from Arsenal. We also know that Wenger is a strong believer of investing in youth, and under his tutelage, youngsters like Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere have broke into the first team and performed admirably. Wenger also chooses the option in investing in youngsters from other clubs to allow them continue their football education in Hale End Academy and today, the club can be proud of the likes of Hector Bellerin, that was snapped from Barcelona at just 11 years of age, and he’s challenging a veteran like Matt Debuchy for his place.
This season, the club signed a couple of youngsters from other clubs with two players, Vlad Dragomir and Jeff Reine-Adelaide, been touted as the players that have massive potential. Born in 1998, Jeff Reine-Adelaide played for the RC Lens Under-19 side and impressed heavily, featuring in a number of playing positions across midfield and attack. When he joined the club this summer, he was tipped to be part of the Barclays Asia Trophy squad but he withdrew and was replaced by Jon Toral.
After a successful Barclay’s Asia Trophy tour, Arsenal hosted three other European sides in the Emirates Cup and the fans got a glimpse of Reine-Adelaide’s talent in the mauling of Lyon. It was a very superb cameo performance and Wenger had a couple of sweet words to say on the youngster after the game,
“Reine-Adelaideis something special you know. He is a great talent and when he came on you could see that – 17-years-old, let’s not forget that. In fact, I don’t remember how I played at 17 but I didn’t play like that!
It is exciting to work with these players. You can imagine how they will look in two or three years for the club. That is always exciting”
When the club released the team sheet for the game against Lord Bendtner’s Wolfsburg, Reine-Adelaide was starting and he proved his worth with another great performance that was capped with a neat assist for Theo Walcott. I really don’t expect the young lad to start against a fierce opponent like Chelsea in the Community Shield but I’m confident that he’d get a run out in the Capital One Cup this season.
Let’s hope he can keep his feet on the ground and focus on improving himself.
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