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Arteta excited by Arsenal’s young guns

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Mikel Arteta says he’s optimistic that Arsenal can build a team around their promising crop of youngsters but he admits the club still have “a lot of changes to make”.

The Spaniard heads into a third transfer window of his tenure eager to further reshape his first team squad but faces an uphill struggle given the club are unlikely to play in Europe next season and its finances have taken a battering during the pandemic.

“Absolutely,” said Arteta when asked if he’s optimistic about putting Academy graduates at the centre of his plans.

“There’s great potential with them, they’ve shown that this season. They are ready to take responsibility in important moments.

“They have the level to do it, they have the hunger to do it and they have the right senior players around them to help them as well.

“It’s about how we click and how we are consistent. Because we’ve shown that on the day we can compete and beat the top teams but through 38 games, we haven’t done it.

“Through the Europa League, we have done it to the point that we are so close to getting to that final, but in 38 games that’s the duty that we have and the challenge ahead of us: to compete with the big teams in this league.”

In addition to bringing new players to the Emirates, the boss faces big questions over the future of a number of squad members.

“There are so many things to do because we already have a lot of players on loan and a lot of players with contracts still that we need to sort.

“It will depend what happens with a lot of those players and what we are able to recruit to improve the team, that is going to determine where we are.”

Asked if he might look to pay off more contracts – as he did in January – he added: “I don’t know where the summer will take us. I think every situation will be different and hopefully, we are not in that position anymore.”

He also hinted that the club’s tighter budget could influence whether some big names stay or go.

“I don’t think it’s completely like that, but it will restrict and alter some plans in relation to what happens with one or two,” he said.

While Arteta is buoyed by the youngsters at his disposal, Gunners legend Ian Wright is concerned they could be pilfered by other clubs if Arsenal continues to stagnate.

“Talking about him [Smith-Rowe] and Saka, you’re hoping Arsenal can match their progression because if they don’t, then clubs will try and take them off of us,” he told Premier League Productions.

“It is a massive concern. It is a massive concern that are Arsenal are able to sort out whatever is going on upstairs, with the manager, with the players that are going to come in, whoever he is going to bring in to try and execute whatever game plan he wants to do, because these guys are going to be a major part of that.

“If they continue to play well, if we do not progress as quickly as these guys progress, then you have to be worried about their ambition and what they want to do because they’re fantastic players.”

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Ndouzi

The jury is still out on Arteta’s level of trust in young players.

Johnny 4 Hats

He’s very trusting in our youngsters, providing everyone else is injured. I mean, the evidence speaks for itself… Nelson – Never got a look in Nketiah – A few sub appearances and then gone Willock – Ditto ESR – Still got dropped for Odegaard Balogun – A few sub appearances Azeez – The odd subs bench Saka – Saka I think he needs to improve when it comes to giving youngsters time on the field. Being out of Europa doesn’t bode well for the Hale End lads as it’s fewer games to blood them in. Not a that he really… Read more »

Futsboller

I guess it depends on what the cutoff is to define “youngster” these days, but I felt we got to see a fair bit of Tierney (23), Gabriel (23), Odegaard (22), ESR (20), Martinelli (19), and Saka (19) at times this season, and even a fair bit of AMN (21), Eddie (21), and Willock (21) in the first half of the campaign as well. I know it doesn’t fit with the current narrative, but we’ve had a lot of younger players involved with the first team throughout the season, and whether we like it or not, they seem to credit… Read more »

filsuf

Nah. MA was FORCED to use the youngsters. He couldn’t get laca to play well so he threw in eddie. When we were on a downward spiral near christmas, he eventually caved in and played a CAM. That was the beginning of ESR’s emergence this season. You must remember his early season lineup was a 343 with Auba-Laca-Willian, Saka-Xhaka-Partey-Bellerin, Tierney-Gabriel-Luiz.This was his preferred lineup until he realized it didn’t work and started experimenting with ESR at CAM, and then Martinelli at LW, then Saka at RW.

Johnny 4 Hats

Just referring to Hale End graduates.

loose_cannon

There are plenty of sticks to beat Arteta with, and I really mean plenty. But “not trusting youngsters” is not one of them. He’s given pretty much all of them opportunities, to be fair to him. Whether he’s used and coached them all appropriately is another question…

Takeshita

I second that –

Saliba, Martinelli, Nelson, Niles, Willock, that’s a massive list.

kasgood

Sadly I doubt when any of the above will either want to stay or come back off loan.

ParteyPants

Unpopular opinion incoming but… things definitely got worse in the first half of this campaign but things are getting better under Arteta. We’re 4th in the form table if you started the season from when we played Chelsea. This was also when we shifted to a back 4 again and regularly played a “10”. Found a random blog that confirms it. https://www.twtd.co.uk/league-tables/competition:premier-league/form/matches:21/type:home-and-away/ Europa exit, and the nature of it, was horrible, but based on this I err on hoping Arteta keeps his job because things are, slowly, getting better this season. And bear in mind we’re a club that has… Read more »

pedro

The season isnt judged on games since we beat chelsea
cherry picking stats to support a bullshit argument that we have improved.
The table doesnt lie and even since that chelsea game we have been woeful and play the most boring football i can ever remember arsenal playing.
9th in the table and exiting the europa and fa cups with a wimper should have been enough to see arteta sacked already we have not improved.

ParteyPants

“Even since that Chelsea game we have been woeful”. Compared to what? Compared to the invincibles? Yes, absolutely. Compared to where we all want Arsenal to be in the next couple of years? Yes, too at times. Compared to the three or four years prior to Arteta joining? No, it’s clearly been better than that. And yes it’s over the season that matters, but if we didn’t sack him after that terrible run in the autumn, then why sack him after there is very clear evidence that he might be making us better than we were before he took over?… Read more »

Atom

The whole we’re making a lot of progress argument kind of falls apart when you look at how weak our European exit was & our ability to collapse every time we had an opportunity to move up the table.

Qwaliteee

Well said. The twisting of facts to suit personal agendas on here is something else. After all that’s happened this season and some are still trying to peddle ‘progress’ – it’s insane.

I’m all for wanting better for this club – we all are – but to not acknowledge the current situation for what it truly is, is beyond me. It’s denial and playing straight into the hands of the clubs hierarchy. Talk about Bread and Circuses…..

goonshow

As long as we all ‘acknowledge the current situation’ in your terms, you mean?
The point of this forum is to allow different opinions – and, unlike your comment above, P-Pants has at least bothered to offer some support for his argument.
Too easy too simply fling emotive terms like ‘twisted’ and ‘insane’ mate – and decidedly counter-productive to us moving forward as a club.

Qwaliteee

Yeah, we shall see next season won’t we?

My opinion is neither here nor there, Arsenal will remain a crock of shit under Arteta.

ParteyPants

Thanks. Although hoping “P-Pants” doesn’t stick off the back of this 🙂

Canadagoon

The season isn’t judged that way overall but it shows a clear trend in the second half of the season. Whoooosh! And if this is the most boring you’ve seen us you must have memory issues because under Emery it was turgid we were getting outshot all the time and couldn’t beat the big 6 for the life of us

Timorous Me

Yeah, I noticed these stats the other day and was kind of taken aback. This is for the past 21 games, so we’re not talking some small sample size here, and it’s certainly not luck (if anything, we’ve had lots of bad luck in this stretch with VAR and officiating and injuries). 4th in the table in that stretch, 3rd in goals scored, and just off 4th in xG and expected points.

I know it doesn’t fit the popular narrative, but this does indicate some actual progress.

Qwaliteee

“Whoosh” 🤣

If there’s one word that is clearly not the word to describe this team’s playing style under Arteta, it’s ‘whoosh.’

We are painfully slow, for the whole 90+, no matter who we play against.

Tapps

Yeah, we were truly awful away to West Brom, the first half against Wolves, at home to 5pur2, away to Slavia……! I’m aware that there have also ben some really poor performances, but this is a team in the process of rebuild, with a number of youngsters in it. So it’s to be expected. This whole ‘Emery was better’ narrative is laughable! Name me one good performance under Emery?

pedro

18/19 under Emery 73 goals scored +22 GD 5th (wins against tottenham, chelsea, man utd)
20/21 under Arteta with 3 games left 48 goals scored +11 GD 9th (wins against tottenham chelsea man utd)
Im no fan of emery but to suggest we are more enteraining now and beat the top sides more is laughable.
Memory issues???

ParteyPants

I’d agree here. I wouldn’t say we’re more entertaining under Emery. But it is a hell of a lot less chaotic where we were finding ourselves having to score three every game to win. I think an argument of “are things better under Arteta or Emery” isn’t really useful. Under both they haven’t been good enough for this club end of. The point I’ve been trying to make is that there’s signs that Arteta is starting to turn things around and I wouldn’t sack him right now to see if the trend continues. Switching managers every 12-18 months is the… Read more »

Qwaliteee

If anyone’s got a memory issue, pal, it’s you.

https://youtu.be/TyE3cP27VoY

Qwaliteee
goonshow

Actually – you’ll find that we’ve been 4th best since we beat Chelsea, which is exactly the point ParteyPants is making!
And – unlike you – he’s actually offered some factual reference to back up his point…
Perhaps actually read and consider your fellow commentator’s posts before dismissing them as ‘bullshit’ – which word, in itself, gives us a fair idea of your capacity to debate any point with civility.

Qwaliteee

If anyone needs to practice what they preach, it’s you pal.

Qwaliteee

Here’s some factual reference for you.

We’re 9th in the table.

We’ve lost 13 league games this season with 3 still to play.

Those stats are not my opinion- – they’re facts.

pedro

In the last 15 games 8th in the table there is no narative. You can pick stats to support your agrument they are meaningless.
If you think Arteta is doing a good you have very low standards. This is Arsenal not some fucking tin pot mid table club
Im using the stats that actually matter the current league table.

ParteyPants

Qwalitee & Pedro… it’s possible to believe that overall this season hasn’t been anywhere good enough (no-one is disputing that and it is a “fact”) and believe also that sacking Arteta right now isn’t the right call for the reasons I’ve laid out.

For what it’s worth I thought when we hired him, and still think, that taking on Arteta was a big gamble that could go either way.

Sacking him now just puts us back to the start of another 2 years of a new manager coming in and bringing in players that suit the system he envisions.

Futsboller

Unpopular does not mean incorrect. Thanks for posting it, Parteypants. (I just wanted to use your name in a sentence. Love it!)

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Definitevely much less trust in young players than Le Prof.

Canadagoon

Everyone saying Arteta hates young players isn’t backed up by facts. Found this from mid-April, Arsenal are one of only 3 Prem clubs in Europe to be ranked in TOP 20 minutes played by U21 players (others are Wolves and Sheffield Utd). Does your hate for Arteta blind you to reality?
https://tribuna.com/en/news/2021-04-13-revealed-where-arsenal-stand-among-best-clubs-for-young-players-in-europes-top-5-leagues/

Atom

Just FYI that’s almost entirely down to Saka & to a lesser extent ESR. They have played over 95 percent of those minutes. Saka was a regular before Arteta took over

jw1

Play ’em like ya’ stole ’em Mikel!

C.B.

4th lowest number of goals conceded in the PL. Defence isn’t that bad. We need to improve the midfiled and attack.

Will be a busy summer trying to sort out the players we have on loan, those we have loaned out and the dross in the squad.

The optimist with little hope

I’d settled for that defensive record next year if it means we cut out the errors, play higher risk football & concede the odd goal because of that.

Merlin's Panini

It’s all about the midfield for me. The defenders are ok, nothing remarkable. However if you have a midfield that is easily bypassed and not competitive you just expose the defence over and over again. We need two good strong central midfielders to take some of the burden off Partey. I think we’ll see the forwards perform better then. It seems Joe Willock’s loan has done him a lot of good. I would keep him and Partey, move Xhaka and Elneny on (who are both ok but not quite enough to really compete) and not go anywhere near Dani Ceballos… Read more »

ChickPEA

Agreed on the midfielder, but it seems to me Buendia is more of a winger. I would go for someone like Bissouma, or Sabitzer from Leipzig.

Timorous Me

I think Sabitzer would be such a perfect fit for this team, but I won’t let myself get excited about the idea because I have no faith that it would ever actually happen.

Daveo

Couldn’t agree more. I would love Buendia, IMO he should be our #1 target. Can play #10, on the wing or even in midfield. He’s super creative, can bang in goals and his work rate is second to none. If we can get a really solid young box-to-box CM as well we might turn things around a bit. I’d be happy to keep Elneny as he’s cheap, mobile and can do a job when needed and adds squad depth – seems a good guy too. Between Partey, Willock, Azeez, [Buendia], [Young CM], and Elneny we’d have enough there. The other… Read more »

Kolasinac still has a contract till 2022. He can’t leave for free unless it’s terminated.

allezkev

He’s not shifting, not on his salary and I can’t see anyone paying a fee for him so loan him out and at least save some of his wages until he leaves in 2022.

Daveo

I know that, but surely we can work something out. I just anticipate it will not involve incoming transfer fees.

Daveo

Having Odegaard have shown ESR can play with a reasonable similar player. And we need more technical quality in the forward third (something else Odegaard has proven). A future front 4 of:
Saka Buendia ESR
Martinelli
Is a juicy prospect and well balanced between directness and control.

Scott

We shouldn’t sign anyone that gets in the way of ESR playing no. 10.

Gunnerboreus

Agree with all that but would keep Xhaka for his durability and his seeming leadership role in the squad

Were we not to manage a Bissouma-style athletic signing might have to keep one of Elneny or AMN?

Optimist

If you want a new start, it can’t include Xhaka.

Too much water has gone under that bridge.

downbutnotout

Buendia the one for me, was excellent in EPL last time excellent in championship this season. i also think he is a realistic get for us unlike lots of the other names the media tend to bandy around. were desperate for more creativity in our midfield …only 2 or 3 goals from our midfield will always see us struggle and if we only have Elneney xhaka and Partey there’s no reason to see that figure change next year

Man Manny

This issue of “anyone really wanting to come to Arsenal” is, sometimes, made to sound like we are going down to the championship!
There are very good players in lowly clubs across Europe who would jump at the chance to play for us, European football or not.

Eme

Spot on mate

A Gorilla

Honestly, I’m glad we’re not in europa league. Worked well for Chelsea and Liverpool – the only difference is Arteta is not performing as well as Klopp or Conte.

Timorous Me

He’s not, but I think he and the players would benefit a lot from having not only all that time in training during the week during the season, but also an actual preseason. (Of course, he’ll have to deal with a massive problem with AFCON in the middle of the season, but that’s another worry for another time, though I’m never averse to stressing WAY too early about things.)

Qwaliteee

The E word.

Again.

🥱

pedro

The lack of self awareness from these clowns is unbelieveable.

Qwaliteee

I dunno what the fuck they think we are – a stoned munchkins collective, living in giant teapots in Oz.

Moxrex

Arteta: These young blokes look real good”
Edu: Lets get rid of them
Arteta: Agreed. Make them feel unwelcome and offload on loan
Edu: Done

Arteta/Edu: Five more to go and we will have alot of money by selling them and buying so retirees

KSE: Yay

filsuf

looks up chelsea’s squad list and filters for players 32 years or older. Ok, we got Giroud, Azpi, Thiago Silva, Caballero. Ring em up Edu!

Mark

The only positive thing to take from this year is the development of players like Saka and Smith-Rowe.

filsuf

others have stagnated or declined though. Martinelli, nketiah, nelson, willock

Santi's Little Helper

Think you’ll find this is true at EVERY club. No team has every young player improve. Willock I would say made quite a bit of progress…not at Arsenal directly, but that is hardly relevant.

gooner

Yes Nelson who couldn’t get a game at Hoffenheim for more than half a season and Nketiah who was stuck on the bench in the championship till Arteta brought him and started playing him (ahead of Martinelli) and sometimes Laca

Nostalgic Gooner

Arteta is just trolling us. I’m stunned he still has a job. Talking of young guns, which youngster has he given a chance? ESR, Saka and Martinelli were all promoted by Emery. The others have gone backwards, like Nelson and Nketia, while Willock and AMN were sent on loan. Balogun only played because he threatened to leave, and we haven’t seen him since he signed on. It’s really hard to get excited about Arsenal. Arteta trolling us with his BS and excuses doesn’t really help.

Canadagoon

ESR didn’t play much under Emery. Nketiah got more chances with Arteta than Bielsa or Emery. Balogun doesn’t sign if Arteta didn’t turn it around.

The facts say Arsenal are one of three Prem teams to give minutes to U21 players in Europe’s top 20.
https://tribuna.com/en/news/2021-04-13-revealed-where-arsenal-stand-among-best-clubs-for-young-players-in-europes-top-5-leagues/

Me from Here

Arsenal’s problem as a club runs very deep. Arteta is a rookie manager that sometimes looks clueless or overthinks everything, but Arsenal does not have the right backroom staff to be successful. Everyone can point to Chelsea and City are City’s sugar daddy but they have the right strategies, structure, and individuals that handle recruitments, player contracts, brand, and the likes. Both city and Chelsea also have top academy and women team. They rarely buy flops, overpay, cancel contracts, or sell cheap. Fikayo Tomori who barely plays 10 EPL games will probably fetch Chelsea 25m minimum if they sell to… Read more »

I definitely agree that our administrative problems are due to our clown posse of backroom staff as someone here eloquently put it. However, the Chelsea and City approach is more successful because they’re more willing to burn through money until they hit the right one. In the last calendar year. Chelsea terminated the contracts of Pedro and Lucas Piazon. In the last decade they’ve also terminated the contracts of more coaches than another big six team. Their severance payout so far could be our transfer budget for a season. Then regarding the issue of flops. The difference between them and… Read more »

Me from Here

Thank you for your insight mate. You made strong points. Chelsea has terminated managers with big payouts. I am not a big fan of that, but they make more money in terms of winning trophies and brand improvements over the years. This is because they correct their mistakes quickly. Arsenal’s brand is worse than it was 10 years ago. We also have an owner that is equally rich but not willing to invest. I am not saying we should spend like them but a problem that is not quickly corrected will become bigger. That is the state of Arsenal. You… Read more »

100% agree. I don’t know what can be done to fix the club besides a staff reshuffle and good investment.

If you don’t mind answering. Which staff members at City/Chelsea would you take to replace ours with?

Graham

Bernardo Silva is a flop??? err..nope

Canadagoon

Disagreed with you before but these are all excellent points.Piazon is a name I haven’t heard in a long time

A Different George

From what we know now, Saka will almost certainly be a star and Smith Rowe will (at least) be good enough to start in a Champions League-level team. The same is true of Tierney (dependent on fitness in every case, obviously). Martinelli looks like he will be in that category, but we haven’t seen enough yet. There are hopes for Balogun, and for Gabriel and Saliba (in a position where almost no one is very young). I like Pepe a lot more than most supporters as well as Bellerin (who I am resigned will probably be sold). With Aubameyang for… Read more »

Qwaliteee

At the risk of sounding like Bad News Biggles, another season like this one (Saka great; Arsenal awful) and the tapping up will start – if it hasn’t already.

He, ESR, Martinelli and the rest won’t want to stick around in a mid table club playing crap boring football.

N10

Please don’t be a PR arm of the club, guys.
#ArtetaOut.

Qwaliteee

Well said.

There’s enough Kroenke PR nauseous BS elsewhere – especially the club’s official site, which has taken fictitious rhetoric to new levels of vomit inducing hypocrisy.

Sean

Frankly getting a bit sick of this:

“It’s about how we click and how we are consistent. Because we’ve shown that on the day we can compete and beat the top teams but through 38 games, we haven’t done it.

That’s on YOU Mikel. Nobody else but YOU. From mismanaging Saliba to persisting with Willian to underusing Martinelli and overusing Saka… and there’s more, much more

SB Still

For me in this article, Wright makes more sense than Arteta.

downbutnotout

am i the only one who hates the idea of being in the europa conference league?

Twatsloch

What’s happening with Saliba?

Biggles

Once he’s back from OGC Nice, it appears he will be part of the Arsenal contingent for the pre-season warm-ups. Whether he’s going to be at The Emirates other than in the short term though is still to be decided I suspect.

Jarghs

Guendouzi, Mavropanos, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Saliba, Torreira. Surely amongst that lot there has to be a few players who can be integrated back into the team and, with the right coaching and support, play a big part next season?
With us (almost certainly) out of Europe, I can’t imagine we’ll have a load of spare cash and, to be honest, we’re probably not a very attractive option for a lot of players – especially those looking to further their carer with European football.

Biggles

Unfortunately, I think you’re correct.

Club “X” – join us and you’ll play in the CL and have a shot at winning the league.

Arsenal: join us and you may have a run in a domestic cup (or two).

Decisions, decisions!

Five_a_Side_a_Day

Hey Bloggs: isn’t this Arteta’s 4th transfer window, not his third?

He was in situ for the Winter one in his first season. I appreciate he was just through the door, but he must have had some input in the purchase of Mari at least.

4 is quite a few.

Biggles

Four windows is quite a few. However, while I’m not defending the record of purchases – which is clearly patchy at best – transfer activity at Arsenal is not entirely down to Arteta. For example, Edu has a very big input, perhaps the biggest in that he appears (from reports on this site and elsewhere) to be selecting the targets in many cases.

pedro

Arteta is the manager and has the final say over recruitment of players.

Rich

We should renew Saka, Smith-Rowe, Saliba + Tierney on 5yr deals

If we don’t renew Saka now, he’ll have just 24 months left next summer, and things will start getting twitchy

Who could really blame him for wanting to go to City if they came in for him?

Canadagoon

When they asked Wrighty this question on DAZN I wish he would’ve launched witty comeback about how Kane has stuck around Spurs forever.

MojoWillneny

I hope we can keep Kido Taylor Hart. Kid can ball…

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