Morning folks and welcome to Tuesday. Well, what do we have right now then, in terms of Arsenal news, eh?
It always goes a little quiet after a win like this and the introspection and teeth gnashing stops a little, or at least slows down, so it’s nice having a little look around the internet to see what’s going on without waiting to see the latest broken cannons piece. Of course I don’t bother with the sensationalist red tops and so won’t bother looking at any of those. But there are plenty of decent journo’s out there and if you get time have a listen to Chris Wheatley on his YouTube channel. He seems to have had his finger on the pulse of what’s going on at Arsenal this summer and came in with plenty of accurate news stories before they broke. He has been speaking on a Q&A about a few things yesterday and I thought i’d touch on them today.
Firstly, that young lad in the u23s Charlie Patino. He scored a pretty sexy goal against Man United and whilst we all know that the jump from that type of football to full adult football is fairly extensive, the fact he’s so young and bossing it against young men a lot older than him is a good sign. As somebody else pointed out on Twitter yesterday too, the two players that Patino shimmied past and flicked the ball over to score were Phil Jones and Dean Henderson. Both are experienced first team defenders and whilst Jones may have been returning from injury and therefore using as an opportunity to get his fitness back, he will still have been no slouch.
I read a lot of Dave’s pieces and know that he’s spoken to Charlie and has been raving about him some time. He’s now also training with the first team I believe and you almost have to curse the fact that we only have a few League Cup games this season. If we’d have had those early stage Europa League games then I wonder if Patino would have been able to be fast tracked in to the first team for some matches, but with the ‘squad’ games being less frequent this year, I suspect it might be tougher.
It does make you think about the generations of players who have been able to get minutes in that competition in recent years and how much it could make it difficult to assess the jump for some of the young u23 players coming through right now. With Arsenal and Arteta wanting to potentially use the League Cup to give minutes to older players on the fringes of the first team to keep them fresh in case they are needed through injury or suspension, it makes you wonder just how many players are going to get to see if they can step up.
Perhaps we’ll see more loans in January than we usually would? There will be plenty of clubs interested in taking Arsenal players lower down the leagues because they’ll know the quality of the academy that we have so you wonder just how long it’ll be before some of those players are granted opportunities. Certainly with Patino, if he keeps catching the eye with displays like he did against United you’d have to say that you expect him to at least secure a move to see if he can make the full step up to first team football. I have only seem glimpses of him in the youth team but they have all been impressive and when you start to see some of his running power with the ball and his all action style, dare I invoke the name of a certain Jack Wilshere bursting on to the scene? Jack had a loan to Bolton that helped to form him so perhaps that is the next logical step for Patino.
Balogun and Nketiah also played in that match and that will be about keeping their form ticking over. Balogun will be looking at where his minutes will be and I suspect he might have thought he’d get more game time already than he has, particularly in that West Brom game, but we need to find minutes for him somewhere I think. If not then there should already be work behind the scenes to get a loan sorted from 1st January. If we get beyond Wimbledon the chances are that the games are going to start becoming tougher against Premier League opponents and so if we aren’t going to give him minutes in the competition now, when are we? It’s only one of three competitions we can realistically win this season and so personally I’d be in favour of giving him the AFC Wimbledon start, seeing who we get in the next round, then having him as a sub super bench option in the league, along with Lacazette.
Which brings me to Nketiah, who I think we need to just accept we’re losing next summer and there will probably be a raft of clubs who will want him on a free transfer. It’s been an utterly shocking way to maximise the return on player – and youth player as well – investment and only the club will know why this cocked up. But only the club will also know what their options are right now. Nobody is going to buy him in January when they can get him for free in the summer, so for me I suspect we will lose for nothing, or a nominal tribunal fee (are we even eligible?), so I think Balogun has to move up on the pecking order. We all know it is Auba and Laca as the number one and two strikers this season. Nketiah should in no circumstances be number three if he’s edging towards the door. The only way you’d say Arteta and co should countenance that, is if he signs a new one year extension, so we know that we will at least get something for him in the summer next season. But there’s been no noises of that whatsoever so if it was me I’d be telling him that his game time will be practically non-existent. It’s time to accept this was a massive cock up not letting him go on loan last January and take our medicine on that one.
Right, I think i’ll leave it at that today, things to do and work to be done and all that Jazz, you see.
You have a good one and I’ll catch you tomorrow.