Saturday, 2 July 2011

Does a youth policy work?

I've been thinking over the last couple of days about how Arsenal approach things. Don't get me wrong, they do things the right way, they don't do it the Man City or the Chelsea way and just try to buy success. Arsenal actually HAVE a scouting system and we don't tap up players like Barcelona.

We bring in players when they're young and cheap and nurture them as a team together. For example, bringing in Fabregas, Clichy, van Persie and Flamini for pittence and nurturing them up toegther. Then adding to this season by season in the likes of Walcott, Nasri, Wilshere and Ramsey. But the trouble is a lot of footballers are just disloyal money grabbing mercenaries and you do get the occassional traitor like Flamini, Adebayor and (possibly) Nasri and when they don't get success right away (not the aim of a youth policy) they want out and get grabbed by money and the team is dis-orientated and there is a need for further re-building.

When these players join the club they must know what they're getting into and that we aren't a club like Chelsea that flog £100 million a season for instant success ad that we are building a team for long term success and stability. It is a good policy in that it is a long term one, a stable one financially and it is good at gelling the players together over the years they spend together. If Fabregas, Wilshere, Nasri, Ramsey and co stay together for a few years then their understanding will develop, their relationships on and off the field will and this will benefit the team by giving them a mutual understanding, allowing their play to be more effective.

Which hints at the possibility, or fact, that footballers are just generally thick. They don't consider the aims of the club when they sign, or if they do, they lose sight of them when big spenders like Man City come along waving sacks with big dollar signs on in front of them. Yes Barcelona spend quite big and yes they are a terrible club off the pitch but they have built a team from youngsters and add to this with bigger singings where needed and the likes of Nasri need only look at this as an example that this policy can work and that building a team for the long term works and that you have to be patient. They went 5 years without winning anything in the process of this and look where they are now. It's not even like Nasri and other players like him are approaching the end of their careers, he's 24, has years ahead of him as did Flamini when he left, Fabregas is 24, the ingredients are all there for Arsenal to be a success. But this begs the question, is this the reason Nasri hasn't signed a contract yet and that the reason is simply money.

So my point is, is there room for a youth policy in todays football environment of money grabbers and big businessmen coming into nothing clubs like Man City and buying success? I think money is getting in the way of it, in the form of ridiculous wages, clubs that have limitless funds and clubs that spend big no matter what they're financial position is. Hopefully these financial fair play rules can sort it out, along with some player loyalty, but the bad thing about this is that they don't come into action until next season for some reason.

The main point is that it should be allowed to work, it shouldn't be spoilt by money because the worry is that Arsenal won't be able to compete with the likes of Man City and Chelsea when it comes to bidding ridiculous sums of money for players and offering them ridiculous wages. And being able to offer our players much better contracts than we can, but this is hopefully something the financial fair play rules will sort out.

A good example of all this is where will new Arsenal 16 year old signing Hector Bellerin be in a few years time if he proves to be a success at Arsenal? Will Man City come in and offer him £250,000 a week to take part in their 'project'? Will this happen sooner, like in a couple of years? This sort of thing would defeat the object of a youth policy and that is my point.

I'm not blaming Arsenal for this, I'm blaming the footballing environment and the ridiculous boundaries that are set in todays climate by clubs like Man City and Chelsea who are spoiling football. The right/ Arsenal way shouldn't be made virtually impossible by these teams, and something has to be done.

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