I don’t know about you, but there is nothing more satisfying to me (other than winning trophies) than seeing a young player burst into the first team and produce top performances in the famous red and white shirt. It has been a long time since Arsenal have had a young superstar at the club but things could be about to change. With the arrival of Sven Mislintat who has been hired to scout and sign some of the most talented young players in the world. We have already signed Konstantinos Mavropanos, the young Greek being classed as ‘the next big defender’ from Greece. Names such as Pavon, Malcom, Lozano have also being linked to Arsenal.
Arsenal have recently invested in young central defender Kostantinos Mavropanos. The Greek defender cost around £2 million, leading to a rather irritated response from Arsenal fans who felt like the club needed reinvestment in proven quality players and many fans reaction was “who?” But who are they to judge? No one has seen him play other than on a short compilation of his tackles on YouTube, only Mislintat has, even since he was at Dortmund he had been keeping tabs on him. To add to this, Mislintat has a prestige of picking out hidden talents and has acquired the nickname ‘diamond eye’.
Whilst Mavropanos is not exactly the star name fans can get excited about it is far too early to write him off. After all, we haven’t seen him play yet. From what I’ve heard he is a strong tackling defender who is good in the air. An area that Arsenal are renowned for being exploited in. Mavropanos is said to be a good defender but lacking the technical side of the game. But I heard an old quote say, “George Graham made Tony Adams a defender. But Arsene Wenger made him a footballer” why can this not be the same. Mavropanos comes from a side which are defensively strong and often rely on clean sheets to grind out results and he already looks like he has all the assets to fit into the Premier League. He’s tall, fast, strong and good in the air. Mislentat is no fool either, he is famous for finding hidden gems such as Lewandowski. Whilst Mavropanos will not solve our current defensive crisis, under more advanced coaching at Arsenal he may well become a regular starter.
Arsenal have also identified a number of potential Alexis replacements. With Cristian Pavon leading the race at the moment, he has a £27 million release clause and it has been reported Arsenal might be willing to pay it. Cristian Pavon is 21 and plays for Boca Juniors. The Argentinian is highly rated and has been dubbed “the next Di Maria only with better decision making”. Pavon is a player with all the characteristics of Alexis and he possesses the ability to succeed in the Premier League. He is a fighter, fast, good on the ball and looks to take on defenders. He drives with the ball and can operate on either wing. It is time for him to make a move to continue his progress, he looks ready and at a top club we could see a superstar emerge. Why not take a gamble? We have seen Jesus succeed on his move to England and if a player is not given the chance how will he ever reach his potential.
Another player Arsenal have been heavily linked with recently is Malcom from Bordeaux, some reports even suggesting we have met up with his representatives. Malcom is Brazilian and left footed. He plays on the right wing and would cost around £44 million. He cuts inside onto his left foot, has a good shot, can play a final pass and has lots of pace and skill to take on defenders. He would be an excellent addition and would further strengthen our core of young talents.
Once again Arsenal have been linked to the highly rated French winger Thomas Lemar from Monaco. There have been suggestions that Monaco could be willing to sell this window for a cut price to the £92 million bid that was accepted on deadline day, reports hinting at around £61.7 million. Lemar would suit Arsenal perfectly. He is fast, agile, great touch, great passer, runs past players, can shoot…let’s just say he’s got everything. He is still very young, only 22 and is one of Europe’s biggest talents. He would be the perfect Sanchez replacement whilst one of the young South Americans previously mentioned develops at the club. Whilst he is not the same type of player as Alexis, he could quite capably fill the position Sanchez will leave vacant. Lemar’s future is in the centre of the park, at Arsenal he would slowly be integrated in there by starting on the left wing (similar to Santi).
Arsenal also have some of the most talented young players the club has had in the past 10 years. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has recently broke into the Arsenal first team. He has been classed as a defensive midfielder by Arsene Wenger but is currently operating at LB or LWB. However, to only call him a defensive midfielder is harsh, he looks fast, skilful and agile going forwards; rather a driving box to box midfielder than merely a defensive midfielder. Reiss Nelson is also a name Arsenal fans are branding as a future superstar. Nelson has a rare natural ability which allows him to glide past defenders with ease. Everything he does oozes class, he can shoot and see a pass. Nelson is one of the best talents in the Premier League, he is shining in the youth sides and has been one of the few bright sparks in Arsenal’s cup and Europa League campaign which has mainly consisted of our second team. Eddie Nketiah has already made a name for himself. He grabbed 2 goals in the League Cup against Norwich to save the day and take Arsenal through 2-1. Nketiah has yet to start but he looks lightning fast, has quick feet, a confidence to his finishing and great movement, at such a young age he looks really promising. We also have Calum Chambers and Rob Holding who have had up and down seasons but have certainly shown they can perform at the highest level, especially after the first leg of the League Cup semi final away to Chelsea, both being very impressive. Hector Bellerin is another young gun who is having an up and down season, he often gets criticised by fans because we know how good he can be, I feel as though confidence is the only thing preventing the Bellerin that ran at defenders back. Now onto a name that most fans want out (not Wenger). Alex Iwobi. The young Nigerian broke onto the scene with bags of confidence, he looked like the real deal. However, he lost his place in the side after a spell of poor form and has never properly recovered. He is strong, glides past players, drives at defences and can see a pass. It all comes down to his finishing. He has missed too many big chances. He lacks the conviction, but this is something that can be worked on. Look at Raheem Sterling for example, Iwobi has a bright future and when his confidence returns I am convinced he can become a success at Arsenal. Arsenal have a youthful side with some of the most exciting youngsters in the league and are being linked to some of the hottest prospects in world football. This makes for exciting times at the club and a new age. One of youth and talent rather than what we was accustomed too pre 2013.
With Mislintat leading Arsenal’s transfer business we can expect to see more of the same, an expert at picking out the most talented youngsters and world class players to suit our needs. We signed the super scout named ‘diamond eye’ to identify and bring in the hottest talents in the world. But this does not mean this is the end of marquee signings. We do not need a super scout to identify the already proven world class players, we are now likely to see a mix of high prospect young players, some relatively well known and some a mystery along with world class players. I for one am excited to see how we progress as a club after the excellent backroom additions.
Are you excited with the change of approach Arsenal have taken regarding transfer with Mislintat leading the way?