A mix of youth and experience
Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, is trying to build a team with young talent and has been trying to for the last six years or so.
It’s clear that he has a good eye for extremely talented youngsters and has put together a team of them who are able to compete at the top of the Premier League and in Europe, but has failed to bring in silverware.
Arsenal Football Club has been nearly six years without a trophy and many are clamouring for the Arsenal manager's firing. They say his youth project is a failure and while it’s a noble or good idea, it’s ultimately fruitless and what a top club needs is success in the form of trophies.
Those who feel that way are right about one thing—Arsenal needs to win trophies. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Arsene’s youth project is a failure; it’s just missing a key or key components.
The youth route isn’t merit-less, and it’s not as if these relatively young players don’t get close to winning, but something extra is needed to push Arsenal the extra paces needed to grasp the long waited for title.
That something is experience, we’ve all heard the sayings and it may sound trite but it holds true, there is no substitute for experience, not even talent.
The young Arsenal players need experienced players to learn from, they may be able to pick pretty passes, but they need someone who will teach them how to keep their focus and grind out results.
The Arsenal captain told Don Balon, "It's true that Arsenal have got a reputation of a team who play beautiful football, but don't win anything."
He realizes that there is something missing or not working with the Arsenal system, “we were in four competitions at one stage of the season, but we're still empty handed."
He added, "We have to make a decision whether we want to develop young players or whether we want to win trophies."
I don’t believe it has to be one or the other but we need a balance. Let’s not go crazy Cesc isn’t making an ultimatum or threat, he’s said he won’t be pulling a Fernando Torres and defecting off to another Premier League club.
But he will leave eventually and the lack of trophies could see him move on sooner rather than later.
Cesc has said he is not looking for an immediate exit from the club, "It's not like it's now or never for me to leave the club. There's still plenty of time. It's all about patience and waiting until the right moment arrives. Who says I'll become a key player at my new club? I'm very happy at a personal level right now.”
But he does make it clear that he sees a pressing need in the club. He spoke about his breakout season with the club.
Reminiscing about the 05-06 season, about being a part of a great team full of experienced title winning players, and playing beautiful football, he said, "there's no doubt that it was the best team I've ever played in. I really developed a lot that year.”
He knows that now the younger players on the team now look at him (and RvP) as a more experienced player, and takes that responsibility. He says that he is still young himself and still has a lot of room to grow.
He knows that he Clichy and Robin are the only ones left who actually played any part in a title winning Arsenal side, and that the other players look up to them.
Having players like Viera, Henry, and Bergkamp around during his early years at the club was obviously very important for Cesc’s development. He understands the need for the young players at Arsenal to have players more experienced than him around.
He said, ”there were more players to look up to before. Players who had won trophies and helped you develop.”
"Look, I believe that the key is in a good combination. So I feel very, very fortunate to have played in the great team where I started. Because I was alone, also Van Persie, and we two were growing watching our idols. We learned from the best. Now it's different because we are all too young to have a person say, Guaaau!"
He still finds praise for his manager and rightly so he says, “The manager is an intelligent guy and the club really appreciates what he does for Arsenal. The team always reaches the Champions League, fights for trophies right until the end and is financially very stable.”
But at the same time, he knows how important winning is as opposed to just focusing on the financial side.
The youth project should be abandoned. Not only does it create a more financially stable environment for the club but it also creates a stable future of the clubs performance with a group of relatively young players growing up together playing the same football.
It’s an admirable plan, but it just needs a little augmentation; even those outside of Arsenal see merit in the way Arsenal does things.
Spending doesn’t equal success, look at Manchester City. For all of the money they’ve spent, Arsenal are still closer to winning the League than they are.
What Arsenal needs is not a spree, new keeper, or defender; Arsenal need a few men with experience to shore us up when things get tough.
If Arsene see’s that need, he needs to fill it this summer.
Here's a link to the original interview. Not as inflammatory as some would like you to think.