Tuesday, 31 May 2011

11 Young Players Arsenal Might Target This Summer.

Yet another trophy-less season has ended for Arsenal, and with the transfer window now open again their fans will be looking to Arsene Wenger to add to their squad. Arsenal need to add some real quality and experience to the squad, but the chances are those players are out of their price range. In recent seasons Wenger has looked to bring in the best young players from around the world, and this summer will probably be no different.

Arsenal youth and reserve teams didn't have a particularly good season either, but with so many players out on loan that was always going to be a tough task. Before bringing any more youngsters into the Arsenal squad Wenger has to analyse the performance of those players when they were on loan at various clubs throughout England and the the world. The Arsenal fans are very excited about the prospect of possibly seeing both Ryo Miyaichi and Wellington da Silva make an impact this season, but both players will have to obtain work permits before they can play in England.

Besides those two players there are other players who will be returning from loan spells, and hoping to make an impact on the Arsenal first team squad. Henri Lansbury, Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Kyle Bartley and Benik Afobe will all be hoping to be added to the first team squad, but their chances will be limited with each new signing Arsenal make. However, I still expect Wenger to bring in a few players at a reasonable price who have real potential.

I'll run through 11 of those possible targets for Arsenal, and assess the prospect of each of them signing this summer.  Any player who signs for Arsenal will know there is a real chance of progressing to the first team, as Jack Wilshere, Wojciech Szczesny, and Johan Djourou all made the breakthrough in the season which has just ended. Their inability to cope with the vast fortunes available to Man City, Chelsea and Real Madrid means Arsenal have to search for young talent, and hope the prospect of making the breakthrough at the club will be enough to lure their targets.

Eden Hazard:
Eden Hazard is only 20 years old, but he has already played more than 100 times for Lille in France, as well as internationally for Belgium. He is a very exciting wide player who can make things happen on the pitch with his excellent technical ability and pace. He has had a very good season for a successful Lille team, and his profile his risen quite sharply.

He is a player who could probably walk right into the Arsenal team at the moment, and make a real difference. However, his fee could be the big problem for Arsenal, as a host of other clubs are bound to be interested in a player who has been compared to some of the very best players in the world at the moment. Lille will do very well to hold on to Hazard, and Arsenal would be an ideal place for him to showcase his talents, but he may already be beyond the limits of their transfer budget.

Chances of Arsenal signing Hazard - 3/10
Gervinho has reportedly been a target for Arsenal for a few years now, and at 24 years of age he might be seen as too old for them to sign. He also plays in France for Lille who have just won the Ligue 1 title as well as the French Cup. He's a srtiker with an eye for goal, and Arsenal need a real alternative to Robin Van Persie in their team.

As with the majority of African players he would probably be unavailable for all of January and most of February due to African Cup of Nations commitments. That could be a real stumbling block for any potential transfer to Arsenal, but he does fit the bill for a typical Wenger transfer. He's young with a lot of potential, and despite not being French he does play in France.

I think Arsenal are unlikely to move for Gervinho this summer, as their targets are likely to be a little younger than him, or to have more experience. He could possibly have been an ideal Wenger signing a couple of seasons ago, but his current price tag is likely to prove prohibitive. He has expressed a desire to play in the Champions League next season, but he can do that at Lille next season after they won the French league.

Chances of Arsenal signing Gervinho - 2/10

Neymar may be only 19 years old with very little real experience, but he is probably out of Arsenal's reach financially already. It would seem that every second team in Europe is after the young Brazilian's signature, and Santos will do well to hold on to him for much longer. When he is sold they will get a very hefty fee though, and Arsenal are unlikely to spend €30 million on any player.

The player has bags of potential and he has shown it for both his club and country on more than a few occasions. He has been compared to some of the great Brazilian players of the past, but it must be a huge burden for such a young player to be mentioned in the same breath as both Pele and Romario. His skill on the ball and eye for goal will make him a genuine star of the future, but I would imagine it won't be for Arsenal.

Chances of Arsenal signing Neymar - 1/10

Axel Witsel:
Axel Witsel is a young Belgian player with Standard Liege who has a lot of potential as a defensive midfielder. It's a position which Arsenal need to strengthen in, and he is certainly a possible target for Arsenal this summer. He has managed to score a few goals for a player in his position, and he has also forged a place for himself in the Belgian national team.

He's only 22 years old, but he is probably most famous for his horrific tackle on Anderlecht's Marcin Wasilewski's in August 2009 which has to be seen to be believed. Arsenal have been on the receiving end of a few similar leg-breaking tackles in the past, and it would be strange to see them sign a player who has dished that sort of punishment out. I don't think he should be signed for that reason, but if he can add some steel to the team he should certainly be considered.

Alex Song has no real rival for the defensive midfield role at Arsenal, and Witsel could possibly be the player to challenge him. If that helps to bring more out of Song it can only be of benefit to Arsenal, and he also offers the option of playing alongside Song in a different formation if it's required. He's an ideal age for Wenger to sign, and he plays in a position Arsenal need to buy in, so he could possibly be a genuine target this summer.

Chances of Arsenal signing Witsel - 5/10

Jack Rodwell:
Jack Rodwell is a 20 year old defensive midfielder with Everton, but he also has the potential to play in the centre of defence. His chances with Everton have been fairly limited so far, but he has impressed on the few occasions when he has played. The Premier League can be a difficult stage to bring a young player into a team, and Everton seem reluctant to give Rodwell the game time he craves.

He could also be a genuine challenger to Song if he signed for Arsenal, and the fact he could also play at centre back makes him all the more valuable. English players are always very expensive, and Everton are unlikely to want to sell one of their prize assets, but Arsenal might just tempt them if the offer is high enough.
Rodwell has played at virtually every underage level for England, and he looks likely to be a full international in the not too distant future. His signature would certainly appease some of the Arsenal fans who want to see an English core in the team.

Chances of Arsenal signing Rodwell - 2/10

Connor Wickham:
Connor Wickham is an 18 year old striker who is currently learning his trade at Ipswich Town in the Championship. He played almost all of their games in the season which has just ended, and he looks to be a real prospect for the future. His goal return was not great, but his general play was very good for such a young player.

If Arsenal were to sign him I think he would have to be loaned out to Ipswich or another team in the Championship to allow him to continue his progress. Like Rodwell he has played at almost every underage level for England, and he could possibly be a real star of the future. He would also fit in nicely with the fans' desire for more English players to be signed.

Chances of Arsenal signing Wickham - 3/10.
Mario Gotze:
Mario Gotze will be 19 this week, and he has made a real name for himself this season with Borussia Dortmund. He is an attacking midfielder with a lot of skill and creativity, and he has an eye for goal too. He played the majority of Dortmund's games this season, as he helped them to a German League title.

He has already played for Germany internationally, and he made his way through all of their underage teams over the years as well. If Arsenal were to sign the player he would be one for the future, but he looks like he would also be able to step straight into the team. Arsenal have plenty of players in his position, but if Cesc Fabregas were to be sold they could do a lot worse than bringing Gotze in.

I'm sure Dortmund would not want to sell their bright young star, and if they did Bayern Munich are obviously going to show an awful lot of interest. The lure of Champions League football with Dortmund is bound to keep the player at the club, to continue his development, for at least one more season. Added to that German clubs adhere to strict financial guidelines which should mean Dortmund probably don't need to sell him.

Chances of Arsenal signing Gotze - 3/10

Daniel Sturridge:
Daniel Sturridge is a young Chelsea striker who has made a name for himself on loan to Bolton Wanderers in the second half of the Premier League season. He previously played with Manchester City, but he moved to Chelsea when his chances were limited. He found his chances limited at Chelsea too, but since his loan move to Bolton he has impressed with eight goals in 12 Premier League games.

If Arsenal are to buy a striker who can replace Robin Van Persie when he is injured or rested they could do a lot worse than Sturridge. He has a real eye for goal, and players like that are never easy to come by. However, he has already failed to make the grade at Man City and Chelsea, and I think he would consider his chances at Arsenal to be limited.

If he did sign for Arsenal I think he could be a player with real potential, as his eye for goal is something which Arsenal can be missing at times in their strikers. I doubt if Chelsea would be willing to sell him to a rival, and I think he will join another Premier League team if he is to be sold.

Chances of Arsenal signing Sturridge - 2/10

Junior Hoilett:
Junior Hoilett is a 20 year Canadian striker who currently plays in the Premier League for Blackburn Rovers. He is very fast and skillful, and he has an eye for goal. He looks like he would fit into the Arsenal style of play very easily, and he has impressed on quite a few occasions this past season.

He still has a lot to learn, but Wenger would be more than happy to work with a player with his potential in my opinion. He has played in the Premier League already, and he has shown he is not afraid to run at defenders with the ball in those games. He looks like a genuine prospect for the future to me, and Arsenal could do a lot worse than signing him.

Chances of Arsenal signing Hoilett - 4/10

Willian is a 22 year old Brazilian winger currently playing in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk. He is a very skillful player with a very good range of passing, and his club already play a similar style to Arsenal. He might still be quite young but he would be seen as a genuine contender for a first team place if he did sign for Arsenal.

He hasn't played for Brazil yet, but it would seem like only a matter of time before he gets his chance with his international team. If he was to join Arsenal his chances of playing for Brazil might be improved, and that could be a possible bargaining chip if Arsenal were to make a move for the player. It's hard to know if Shakhtar would be prepared to sell one of their bright young talents, but the only way to find out is for Arsenal to make a bid.

I think Willian could possibly be a very good signing for Arsenal, as a bit of Brazilian flair could be the added ingredient needed in their wing play. If he was to become available they could well find themselves outbid by some of the more wealthy European and English clubs.

Chances of Arsenal signing Willian - 2/10

Nacer Chadli:
Nacer Chadli is a 21 year old winger playing for FC Twente in Holland. He only signed for them from AGOVV last summer, but he has made a real name for himself in his first season at Twente. He won a call up to the Belgian national team despite having played a friendly for Morocco previously, and his international career will be with Belgium in future.

He has been one of the real stars in Holland in the past season with excellent performances for Twente in the league and the Champions League too. A club like Twente are always looking to make a good profit in the transfer market, and they might make a very good return on him after only one year at the club. It's never easy to find a good winger who also has an eye for goal, and Arsenal could do a lot worse than signing him.
Chances of Arsenal signing Chadli - 3/10

That's my breakdown of 11 prospective young signings for Arsenal this summer completed. Like usual nothing will be known about any transfers until Wenger has more or less completed them, but the smart money is on Arsenal signing some experience for a change. However, a couple of younger players may also be added, and the ones I have mentioned are all worth considering.

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That's it for today.

See You Tomorrow.


  1. Great Article! How do you come up with the -Chances of Arsenal signing the player stat?? :P
    Just kidding. Most of these youngsters are good. I hope we sign Hazard and Willian.

  2. Thanks, I would love to see Hazard come in and maybe one more but I'm not sure who.