Saturday, September 23, 2023

Pleguezuelo’s departure a shame but a necessity

It had seemed rather inevitable for quite some time, but when the announcement finally came it still appeared rather significant.

After six years at the club it was announced this week that Julio Pleguezuelo will leave Arsenal when his contract expires at the end of June, with the defender set to join Dutch side FC Twente.

Pleguezuelo leaves Arsenal having made one competitive appearance for the first-team, which came against Blackpool in the Carabao Cup this season.

Composed in possession and comfortable at bringing the ball out from the back, Pleguezuelo’s time at Arsenal will also be remembered for the passion that he showed, especially in games against Tottenham Hotspur.

The former Barcelona youngster amassed over half a century of appearances for Arsenal U23s and will certainly go down as one of the club’s most prominent ever players at that level.

He had certainly reached the stage, though, where regular first-team football is a necessity as opposed to something desirable.

During his time at Arsenal Pleguezuelo gained experience while on loan at Mallorca and Gimnastic de Tarragona, but, somewhat surprisingly, he wasn’t sent out on temporary transfer this campaign.

It is hoped that Pleguezuelo will go on to enjoy a successful career elsewhere, but his departure will provide other young centre-backs, such as Zech Medley and Daniel Ballard, with the opportunity to get closer to the first-team.

Both Ballard and Medley have progressed very well this season, with the latter having made his senior debut in addition to being involved in numerous first-team training sessions.

They will be aware, however, that the road to the top is a very difficult one, with Pleguezuelo, for instance, ultimately not being able to make it despite having frequently excelled at youth level.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird


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Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

I was expecting this young boy to progress to first team. The toughest period in football is when you have to progress from academy to the first team. It doesn’t only depend on you.

Paul Roberts

It’s a tough life being a young footballer. Good luck to him. 🙁


Is it? It’s probably one of the best life’s in the world

Segun Oshin

What if I told you that “tough” is not the opposite of “best.”


I think his introduction into the first team was delayed for too long and he ended up stagnating in the development sides. He was kept there for too long, even though he was one of the best players for us at that level. 50 appearances is too much for a player at that level, especially such a talent. If his height was an issue for not giving him a first team role earlier, he should have been tried in a different position. I always thought he had everything to be a really good right back for a possession orientated team.… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

Yeah, I think most will just conclude he wasn’t good enough, but the truth is we also really mismanaged his development. This was during the period where roads to the first team seemed blocked as there was pretty much a focus on short-term results, and also when we would send players away on loan without even keeping contact or monitoring their progress.

I think he’ll go on to have a fine career.


Jeorge, I remember you picking Pleguezuelo a few years back as the most likely of that generation to establish himself as a first team regular eventually. Shows how tough it is to call at this level who makes it and who doesn’t. Good luck to him.


Hope the best for this guy. Really glad I don’t have to learn to pronounce his name now


Seemed decent when he came on for us.

Certainly rate him higher than Jenkinson.

BUT we already have AMN in his ‘Natural Position” at Rback.

And Bellerin to return.

Chambers frankly should have been kept to cover Rback (also his natural position) but also RCB in a back 3 and limited use in midfield.

Instead Mslintat loaded Lichsteiner for 90K boxing us into panic loans in January


Instead Mslintat loaded Lichsteiner for 90K boxing us into panic loans in January. LOL


Another great article, thanks Jorge. But could you or any followers provide a little more insight into why he can’t make the breakthrough? What does Medley, Holding or Mavropanos bring that he doesn’t for example? Is Bellik going to head the same way?


Comparing to the ones you mentioned I can only think of one thing: “physicality”
I think that he’s seem as a “slow” full-back and a rather “weak” center-back.
I do believe that he could thrive on a different position / style of play
Hope he finds his way back up, unfortunately, elsewhere

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