No one doubts that Arsenal are a work in progress under Unai Emery. Yes, he has started to make an impact at the Emirates after arriving in the summer to take over the reins from Arsene Wenger. You might even want to bet on winningsportsbets.co.uk at them picking up some silverware this season. New faces arrived in the shape of Uruguay midfielder Lucas Torreira, German keeper Bernd Leno, Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Stephan Lichtsteiner and young French talent Matteo Guendouzi.
And as Emery shapes his squad new faces are bound to be recruited in both the January transfer window and next summer. But what is exciting a lot of Arsenal fans is the crop of youngsters who were at the club when the Spanish coach arrived in north London. Does he have plans to integrate these players into his team, thus saving a fortune in transfer fees, and promoting harmony at the club by promoting youth?
Let’s face it, the writing is on the wall for Aaron Ramsey, who has seen a deal worth in the region of £250,000 a week withdrawn and every indication is that he will be leaving the club either at the end of the year or come May. Will youth prevail?
One example that demonstrates what is possible with those of tender (by now we have forgotten former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen’s assertion that “you don’t win anything with kids”, referring to Manchester United back in 1995 — they then went on to win the Premier League and FA Cup) is Emile Smith Rowe. The attacking midfielder, who is aged just 18, has been brought into the squad and offered game time by the Arsenal boss, and shown great promise.
Reiss Nelson, also, has shown he could be a force at Arsenal. The gifted forward, who, again is aged just 18, has gone on loan at Hoffenheim and has thrilled fans of the Bundesliga club with his ability, pace and directness. In between flashes of genius, Nelson hit the headlines when he found time to score a sensation free-kick for England’s Under-21s against Scotland.
The so called wonderkid enjoyed a productive pre-season under Emery but felt he would be better served learning his craft served by more game time with the Germans. And it is proving to be the case. Should this scintillating form continue, Emery will no doubt be bringing the youngster back into the fold at the earliest possible convenience.
While he is keen to continue his footballing lessons under Emery, the lure of playing for Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann was a consideration for Nelson, he says, adding:
“A loan wasn’t always my first option, but when I heard the Bundesliga and Hoffenheim was an option for me and working with the manager there, it was something I wanted to do. Julian’s a great manager and he’s got belief in young players so it’s a good place for me to go and play. ‘He’s very young, he’s only 31 and I think it’s important to go to a team and a coach who believes in you, so he was the main reason because he is willing to play us.
“It was hard to leave my boyhood club Arsenal, it’s still my dream to play for Arsenal, but I know I have to put that on hold and go and play abroad to get some experience in Germany, so I’m trying to do my stuff there, get stronger and come back ready to play for Arsenal’s first team, so I had to take the opportunity to go there. I’ve settled in well and I’m enjoying it.”