Thursday, November 30, 2023

Youth players and timing – Mata linked again

Morning all.

Our transfer business continued a-pace yesterday as we provided another signing for another club. As expected Jay Emmanuel-Thomas joined Ipswich for around £1m. It’s an unsurprising move considering his career trajectory and his age. If he’d stayed at Arsenal this year he would have had to be included in the 25 man squad and with Arsene Wenger clearly not considering him a player of that stature a move was the only realistic option.

It’s another fine example of how talent which shines at youth level can struggle when it comes to making the step up to first team football. Still, he was gracious about the club and the education he got here and with a hefty sell-on clause inserted into his contract, if he does get himself on track any further transfer could swell the club’s coffers. I still think one of the greatest pieces of business we ever did was the clause in David Bentley’s contract, so when Sp*rs paid Blackburn £15m for him we got £7.5m of it. Bentley was last seen in a strop when he couldn’t get into a Birmingham team which ended up relegated.

It might sound a bit harsh but as well as providing us with players the youth academy is a part of the club’s business. A million here, a million there, a couple of million somewhere else, for players who don’t quite make the grade with us, it all adds up. Maybe just enough to pay the salary of a disgruntled Frenchman before he pisses off on a Bosman but it all counts.

There might be more coming this week with the news that Henri Lansbury is reportedly close to a deal with Norwich. I have to say I’d be a bit disappointed with this. Lansbury always looked to have something about him, he had the drive and energy that the side has been crying out for at times, and it wasn’t fans who raised expectations about him making it. It was Arsene Wenger stating he “will be an Arsenal player” and comparing him to Ray Parlour.

He’s only got one year left on his contract and with Wilshere and Ramsey in the mix it might well be a case that timing has conspired against him. He might view his future somewhere else too and the contract situation might be forcing our hand a bit. I don’t know the ins and outs of it, perhaps it’s a salvageable, but the information I have is that he could well go.

And while it might cause some consternation the one thing I’d say is that Arsene Wenger, for all his faults, rarely gets it wrong when it comes to releasing youth team players. Sure, some of them will go on to have decent careers, and I think Lansbury will be one of them, but off the top of my head I can’t remember one that has ended up playing at the very highest level, for a team with ambitions of the title or the Champions League. I know Steve Sidwell ended up Chelsea for a season but that’s about it. So if the manager decides it’s time for him to go then I guess we have to accept that in these particular instances he generally does know best.

With regard to players coming in it’s still very quiet. A story in Marca this morning, which makes their front cover and everything, suggests that Juan Mata is just ‘one step’ away from being an Arsenal player. Which could apply to any player in the world really, that step being ‘signing for Arsenal’. Anyway, they say that his dad, who is his Bendteriffic agent, is considering the offer, along with those from two other English clubs, before making any kind of decision.

What’s amusing is that if you read the article on Marca there are comments underneath from Valencia fans slagging off the author for suggesting a deal could be done for €15m. For example:

15 millones? Jajajajaja

Jajajajaja is Spanish for Hahahahaha, by the way. My old language teacher skills coming out there. Funny though really, they obviously value him more highly than that and, for some strange reason I can’t quite put my finger on, it all seems a bit familiar to me. If it did happen, and it’s still a fairly big if, it would be very interesting to see how it affected the Cesc/Nasri situations. It opens up a number of possibilities but I guess that’s a bridge we can cross if and when we come to it. All the same I wouldn’t go getting his name on the back of your shirt just yet.

Nothing stirring in the world of defenders, not a hint or a bit of gossip about the place, you can make your own mind up if that’s because we’re covertly going about our business, like super serial stealth spies, or if there’s simply nothing happening.

Elsewhere, Tomas Rosicky says what happened last season will make the team stronger but dismisses talk that it was all down to the Carling Cup final. He said:

When we lost the Carling Cup Final even a lot of players said that it went wrong from there but I don’t agree with that. There was still a long time to go in the season and it would have been enough had we just won our home games. We lost so many points at home and it would have made all the difference. The experience will be important and I hope everyone has gained from what happened last season.

While on the one hand it’s good to hear the Wembley fiasco not being used as an excuse, it’s not as if we haven’t had other painful moments and poor spells that we might have learned from in the past. If it does make us stronger, brilliant, no qualms with that at all, but the only way we’ll know is when we’re faced with pressure and adversity again and don’t bottle it like a cheap brewery.

And finally, as Xavi sits on a rock, his nipples glistening in the sun, his siren call bleating through the air to lure his one true love back to Barcelona, Denilson has told Sky Sports he thinks Cesc is going to stay. Something something sideways pass something something blah blah blah. Yeah!

Right then, that’s yer lot for this morning. The Emirates Cup draws ever closer, our best chance at silverware this season. I am up for the cup, baby. Till tomorrow.

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