Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Tough task ahead for Jonker following Arsenal appointment

It has been a week of considerable change for the Arsenal youth set-up, with the most significant incident being the appointment of Andries Jonker as the new Head of the club’s Academy.

Jonker is the current assistant manager of Wolfsburg, a position he has also held at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, whilst he is most well known for his work with the Dutch Football Association between 1990 and 1997.

It is clear that there is much work for Jonker to attend to with regards to the development of Arsenal’s young players, although the transformation of the club’s Academy will undoubtedly be a long-term process. The club have proved in recent years that they are capable of spotting promising young talents from abroad, such as Serge Gnabry and Gedion Zelalem, and integrating them into the first-team set-up, but question marks still remain about the overall quality of players being produced by the club’s Hale End system.

Jack Wilshere is of course the leading light as far as the club’s recent Academy graduates are concerned, whilst Kieran Gibbs was also acquired at a relatively young age, but many of the club’s internally-produced players tend to be let go within two or three years of signing their scholarship deals having been unable to impose themselves on the senior set-up.

Jonker will officially take over from Liam Brady in July, but, before then, Arsenal’s youngsters face a multitude of fixtures in several different competitions. Their form at U21 level has dropped a little in recent weeks, with a disappointing 4-2 defeat to Liverpool the latest setback for Steve Gatting’s side.

The upcoming week is a rather busy one for the second-string, however, with the youngsters facing Chelsea in the U21 Premier League Cup on Monday evening before resuming their league campaign away to Norwich City four days later. Next month they will also participate in the latter stages of the UEFA Youth League and FA Youth Cup as the season heads towards a tantalising climax.

One player who won’t be involved in the above fixtures, however, is Anthony Jeffrey, with the winger, who is renowned for his searing speed, having joined League Two side Wycombe Wanderers after leaving Arsenal by mutual consent this week.

The 19 year old had impressed whilst on loan at Boreham Wood this season, but did not come anywhere near to making a first-team breakthrough at Arsenal and it was decided that it would be best for all concerned for him to move on.

German defender Leander Siemann, who has struggled to impress since joining the club, could also depart in the near future after he spent time on trial with VfL Bochum this week. It certainly appears that, over the past couple of seasons, the club have adopted a more ruthless approach with regards to allowing youngsters to leave if it is clear that they will not make the first-team squad.

Jeorge Bird is the author of  www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com  Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

Related articles


Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fiendish Astronaut

Is he wearing a wig?

the only sam is nelson

as long as he makes sure we aren’t going toupe over-the-top wages to the youngsters, who cares?


Jonker looks like the sort of guy that would play a manager in a tv series based around a football manager.

Brian Topgooner

Can’t do any worded than Brady


He needs to find a spring in his Ntep straight away

Sorry, wrong article….


The guys has some pedigree for this position. Is this the 3-5 yr grooming of Arsene’s successor??


Youngsters, you win some and lose some I’m afraid. Great at 15 doesn’t mean great at 20, there are too many other things that go on in young players’ lives eg injuries, dodgy friends, lack of progress as they had already peaked etc etc. I had high hopes of Aneke/Afobe being a top partnership for the next 10 years and this is looking remote now. Plus we are restricted geographically where we can take kids from in the UK. Plus we have the most homegrown players in our team in the league, so something is going right. So I think… Read more »


Jonker I think u might be bonker’s trying to replace Brady, but welcome all the best


At least we know he can strike a pose, which is half the job done…


Jonker out stefanowski in


Jonkers Conkers drive the ladies Bonkers.


Does anyone else think he looks a bit like Glen Roeder (sic)? (spammers ex manager)


One of the best things about being an Arsenal fan i that you get to see all these young boys trying to make it on the big stage. Welcome Mr. Jonker, unearth the next *insert name of favorite player* (Bergkamp)

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x