I don’t really know what to make of all the Lucas Torreira nonsense, so instead I think I’ll ignore it, because until we hear from more credible sources about the potential move, or until we hear about credible offers (a two year loan deal and €38million fee at the end is, frankly, an abomination of an offer) then there’s no point in getting too worked up about any spurious links to a club with less money than us.
What does need to happen is that we take a serious look at some of our kids. Particularly those who have been playing in the Under-21s tournament this summer. Step forward Bielik and Nelson, both of whom have scored and both of whom I am hoping the manager has a really proper look at when they return from international duty. Bielik has been a star for his native Poland and whilst scoring a couple of goals nets him some headlines, it’s the way he’s commanded the pitch that should have Arsenal saying “yep, you’re in”. Particularly given he has just two years left on his deal.
That timeframe means the club must act decisively now. They either fast-track him in to the first team for the season and let him be a squad player, proving himself in the League Cup, Europa League, maybe even a few league games if he manages to break through, or they need to cash in on him now. We also can’t have a situation like Gnabry’s was when he wouldn’t sign a new deal and that will happen next summer so decisions need to be made ASAP. The other option is of course a loan but unless the club get him on a new deal this summer then that should be thrown out of the window too.
Of course the positive side for Bielik could be seen in Reiss Nelson, assuming the player gets a chance to make it in the Arsenal first team this upcoming season. We tied him to a new deal, he’s gone away and had a decent enough season on loan (some highs, some lows), so if now he comes in and is part of Unai’s squad for the 2019/20 season then Bielik himself has a blueprint that he can see towards aiming for.
Go away for a season, prove you can do it in a top league, then come back next summer and there’s a spot for you in the Arsenal first team.
Seems reasonable enough for me and I hope it’s how Arsenal are looking at it too. We have all established that we don’t have the cash, so we need to rely on bringing in some of these young players, so those two could fit the bill.
But the one many of us are looking for in the ‘now’ is Reiss Nelson. New deal signed last summer, looks like he’s matured a bit in Germany – if not only because he’s learned from some disciplinary mistakes – but now he needs to come back from the Under-21s and tell Unai he wants a shot. But he needs to be willing to show it too. The problem with so many players that capture the limelight at an early age is that they can get a little ‘Billy Big Balls’ and think they’ve ‘made it’ just for breaking through. But I think those who really do reach the peak are players who are humble, work hard at their faults, take the right advice and take their chance when they get it. Patience is a virtue too.
Remember when Iwobi broke through in to the first team? He hasn’t really played that often until the beginning of the new year in that first season and by the end had become a regular. So if Nelson is going to break through he might need to show the same humility and patience that Iwobi had.
I hope he does. I hope he also gets his chance and that is out of his hands because it relies on Emery being a little less pragmatic and a little more risk-taking. He’s going to have to gamble a few times to find himself a gem from the academy and whilst I appreciate that there is a bit of pressure on him given he only has one more season to prove himself, there are competitions there where he can take some of the youngsters and give them more game time than last season. Do it Unai; let’s get some of those kids in there in the Europa and League Cup and see if they rise to it.
Catch you all tomorrow.