Arsenal are proud of the youth system and rightly so, as it has produced some key players for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger is keen for that to continue, and has revealed that he would prefer it if the players coming through were local, ot at least British, as he feels that they would then be more likely to stay at the club.
Wenger is confident that one of the best players ever to come through the Arsenal youth system, Jack Wilshere, will not cause problems with signing a new contract because he is a local lad who has been with the club since he was nine years old.
“He has always been very committed to this club, and I hope he will show that. There is only one way to show it and that is to commit your long term future to the club.
“We have built a team we have a lot of young English players, or British players like Gibbs, Chamberlain, Wilshere. We still have the case of Walcott, Aaron Ramsey. We want them all on long term contracts.
“It is not by coincidence, it is down to the work that we have done that we have more good English players.
“We look first at quality. If the quality is local it is, of course, even better because it gives you more guarantee of stability, because the players who are English who play for Arsenal are more likely to stay for a longer term than foreign players.”
The Spanish giants Barcelona gave an extraordinary example of this at the weekend, when all eleven players on the pitch against Levante were products of their academy at La Masia. Three of the players, Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique and a certain Cesc Fabregas had moved on before returning, but a large proportion of the team was not only Spanish but from the Barcelona area. Iniesta was born closer to Madrid and Messi is Argentinean but it is still remarkable.
Arsenal used to get stick from the media for having too many foreigners in the team, but that has changed dramatically through the years. Of course the players have to be good enough, but it would be great to have more academy and local players in the team, especially if they are like Wilshere. There are a few academy players who are looking like contenders for the first team, such as Frimpong, Eisfeld and Gnabry. Let’s hope there are lots more to come.