I think it was Ivan Gazidis who said it a few months ago in an interview. He said him and Wenger had been discussing what our lineup would be like five years from now. It showed how short sighted us fans could be compared to the managers and coaches who actually know what they’re doing. So I’ll attempt to be a little less myopic and look into how our team could be shaping up for the future.
Our U-21 lineup (warning, some might be 22):
Jenkinson Djourou Miquel Gibbs
Chamberlain Ramsey Miyaichi
I think that’s pretty decent (and I haven’t included everyone). What is really promising is that most of these players have already had a chance at proving themselves in the first team, and they’ve impressed. Szczesny is already our number 1. Ramsey (captain of Wales), Ox, Gibbs are in and around the first team. Wilshere was named our player of the season in 10/11.
Players like Coquelin, Miyaichi, and Campbell have impressed away from the club on loan. Ryo, despite starting just one game for Bolton so far, has been named their Player of the Month. And while Campbell is often a substitute for Lorient, he can’t stop scoring for his country. Afobe, another player whose season was blighted by a major injury, is also highly regarded by the coaches and players. Captain van Persie was gushing about him in his programme notes on Sunday.
So I think the future looks really bright. Wenger has built his success on staying one step ahead of other clubs in the transfer market, and the young players we have assembled recently show Wenger hasn’t lost his touch in that regard. Some of these players will be like 30m signings in a few years. And to think, there were suggestions that Wenger had abandoned the “failed” youth project.