So it appears as though Arsenal are on the verge of letting Robbie Burton head to Croatia on a permanent deal, signing for Dynamo Zagreb, which will mean a Hale End graduate heading off for pastures new.
I’ve seen a few people who are slightly surprised by this because Burton has been viewed as a talent that could potentially make the step up from the under-23s but, as we all know, the first team and establishing yourself there is very very different from having a promising time in the youth set up.
There’s no doubt he’s a decent player and he’s made some cameos in pre season last year and also on the bench in a couple of cup games, but he hasn’t really got close to breaking through and with so many young players already getting their chance, it was hard to believe he’d get his.
And that’s the way of the world unfortunately. Arsenal, like many other clubs, play the numbers game, which means you invest in an academy and hope that you can unearth yourself a few gems like Saka.
In fact Arsenal have done pretty well with unearthing players. Some people may question Alex Iwobi, or Ainsley Maitland-Niles and their ability to lock down a first team place at the club, but they’ve still broken through and in Iwobi’s case we’ve got a tidy sum as a result. So whilst some have raised some eyebrows over the potential exit of Burton, personally I just see it as part of the process, so there it is.
Of course there is some mitigation to add in to any of these situations, such as contract clauses that ensure Arsenal can undo any potential red faces, such as a ‘buyback clause’ that could be inserted into any promising players deal. I might be wrong but I thought we had something similar with Carlos Vela? He never returned to the club but we were able to buy the contract and sell straight on for some extra cash in the coffers. So a move to protect being made to look silly make sense.
So too, it would seem, it would be prudent to have the buyback in there in case he does actually hit it off in Croatia and we see a potential to bring him back in a few years for a reduced fee compared to his market value. Stranger things have happened and when you look at De Bruyne and Salah and then returning to England to make Chelski look silly, a buyback seems like a bit of a no brainer to me. We might even have that situation with Donyell Malen, who left our academy to join PSV and now we find ourselves looking at a guy with 14 goals in 17 games this season, as well as a debut for Holland last September. Perhaps there are a few lamenting the fact we couldn’t hold on to him, but in reality he was never near the first team at Arsenal and so who knew he would light up the Eredivisie?
Not many average Arsenal fans like thee and me, I’d wager.
But for every Malen, Sancho, etc, there’s a Marcus McGuane, for example. He’s currently at Telstar having not really ripped up any trees at Barcelona B and in January the papers were speculating about whether or not he’d seal a permanent move away. If you looked at the numbers I bet it isn’t even one in 20 that graduate from Hale End who go elsewhere and then have a career where we regret that we lost them.
So if you’re starting to get a little nervous when you see situations like that of Robbie Burton, just remember that a) Arsenal could mitigate the risk somewhat by inserting clauses, and b) the odds are that he isn’t turning into the next Sancho. But if he is then fair play to him. We’re seeing more and more young British players make their way overseas to ply their trade and with clubs showing more interest, perhaps it’s time that we tied these players down to deals that ensured we can get coin for them, rather than lose them for nothing?
There is usually a few that goes to a team if they lose an academy graduate to another club, but you never hear about it when it’s one of the bigger clubs, do you? So I wonder if this rule is still in place for these types of situations?
Of course I don’t profess to have any kind of intel or knowledge of the youth team. I’m just you’re average Arsenal obsessive of those that make the starting XI each week. But with every Arsenal fan conditioned to be an amateur accountant these days, learning about coffers being boosted by the sales of young players suddenly becomes a ‘thing’, unfortunately.
Anyway, that’s probably about all I got to say about that for the day. I’ll not comment on the very obvious sending off that was missed by VAR last night, because frankly, I’m bored about talking about the incompetence of how it is being applied by the PGMOL. So I’ll move swiftly on and bid you all a lovely day. Enjoy yours and I’ll catch thee in the morrow.