Now I know what you might think, that this may be a bit too far-fetched, but if you look at the new man in charge at Arsenal, Raul Sanllehi, it isn’t that hard to connect the dots. Raul has recently been appointed as head of football, and will handle the day to day works at the clubs, as well as have a say in transfers and closing deals, along with Vinai Venkatesham.
Before Arsenals vicorty against Everton in September, Raul along with Vinai, talked with Arsenal Supporter groups as they were introduced as the men to take over Ivan Gazidis role when he leaves for AC Milan. Raul talked about his success at Barcelona and how he was going to use the same tactics to bring success at Arsenal; promoting the youth players. During his time at Barcelona, their academy, La Masia produced club legends such as Lionel Messi, Andreas Iniesta, Xavi, Gerard Pique, Carlos Puyol, Pedro and Victor Valdes, where they won multiple champions league and La Liga titles. Raul said the importance of promoting youth players in the first team, can transmit their passion and love for the club to the rest of the team, which creates a fighting spirit.
Over the past couple of years, we have criticized players of not showing enough fight for the club and not fit to wear the shirt. If you look at the current crop of players, we don’t have anyone who can teach and transmit the energy of playing for Arsenal to the new boys. No longer are the stories of when Tony Adams famously threated Lee Dixon to fight for the club prior to a North London Derby. Arsene Wenger himself inherited an Arsenal team with local lads who loved the club, and this transmitted to the whole team. Over the last couple of years, as pressure started to pile on Arsene Wenger, he chose to spend money on already proven players at the peak such as Lacazette, Aubamayeng and Mickhitaryan, rather than buying younger and lesser known players (which to be fair, as fans would have moaned about). The last young player to have come through Hale End and become a regular is Alex Iwobi and that was quite a while ago.
At the same time, Arsenal have one of the best youth talents in the league, if not the best, with the likes of Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock, Daniel Ballard, Emile Smith Rowe and plenty more all coming through. The best thing about our youth talent this time around, is that there is a special player in almost all positions. We just don’t have attacking talents, we have midfielders as well as defenders. Additionally, we have Hale End Graduates in the first team set up in Alex Iwobi, Hector Bellerin and Ainsley Maitland Niles.
With Sven Mislintat identifying and luring young talents for the youth teams as well like Lopez, Greenwood and Heins, Rauls method for success might just suit us, especially if Kroenke doesn’t want to spend huge sums of money. If there’s one thing for sure, is that Arsenal have an abundance amount of talent coming through, which we can call one of our own, and a manager who has a track record of giving young talents opportunities and improving them. However, we have seen though Chuba Akpom and Benik Afobe, that talent alone isn’t enough, and the young stars have a long way to go, and we as fans have to give them patience.
The future does seem bright. Up the Gunners.