Arsenal FC – a finishing school for the cream of Europe?

Arsenal are known to scour the globe for exceptional young foreign talent rather than bringing in, and giving their home-grown players a go in the first-team.

In the past, Wenger has captured several football starlets from the pits of obscurity and, to this very day, still continues to do so. These players (Cesc Fabregas, Nicklas Bendtner, Alex Song and Gael Clichy are to name just a few) were brought into the club at a very young age, nurtured, and evidently have been given a run in the first-team.

Many foreign players in the past have polished off their careers in the Arsenal attire, and have moved on after building a great reputation whilst at the North London club.

So taking all this into consideration, have Arsenal become a finishing school for a number of Europe’s finest players? You would think so.

Arsenal do produce good home-grown talent, most notably Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere are the two major exceptions in the past few years, although, a majority (including Wilshere and Gibbs) are not given a real chance to shine in the senior team.

A lot of fans will believe that the home-grown players should be given more of a chance to break into the team, rather than have Wenger bringing in other players from abroad. Arsenal do not help the English development either by acquiring players from different countries, which is pretty sad to see really. Of course every club does this, it’s not just the Gunners, but by far they appear to be contributing to it the most. There is of course a flipside, not every home-grown player is good enough to make the grade, and understandably pushes Wenger to look for players abroad.

Wenger has brought and introduced us to a number of great foreign talents over the years. The likes of Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and of course Cesc Fabregas, were all acquired at a very young age, and along with many others, were not known in the game. However, Vieira certainly polished up his career in the Arsenal midfield and went on to become one of the best

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midfielders the world has ever seen. Henry was rubbish in Italy, but was absolutely brilliant in the Premier League. The striker went on to break the goal scoring record set by Ian Wright and has become an idol to many (if not all) Arsenal fans. Fabregas is a prime example of what this article is trying to convey. The Spaniard was poached from Barcelona at the age of 16 and was not known in the game at all. However, within 7 years, the 23-year-old midfielder is now one of the most prized assets in the game.

With this all being said, all the players mentioned have left or are on the verge of possibly leaving (talking about Cesc here of course), which seems to suggest that Arsenal is in fact a great club to come and buff up a good career. More importantly, it’s a great place for any footballer to make a mark on the game. From what history tells us, the North London club guarantees any foreign footballer first team action…even if they are not that good.

The current Arsenal squad features a number of stars that were brought in from outside national waters at a young age, and have since established themselves as regulars for the club over the years.

As mentioned before, there are a few home-grown exceptions that do get some form spotlight. Jack Wilshere looks as if he may break into the Arsenal side in the near future, after impressing both fans and Arsene Wenger when the midfielder was just 16. At 18, Wilshere looks to be a promising prospect for both the Gunners and England, and a long with many fans, hopes that he does get his chance. Kieran Gibbs is another player that has been brought through the academy and looks to have a good future ahead of him. The 20-year-old has featured for the Arsenal senior squad in the past and looks to be next in line for the left-back position after Gael Clichy. Craig Eastmond also deserves a shout, and looks as if he may have a future at the Emirates. Arsenal have at least 3 good English prospects in their ranks, surely, with time, they will get their chance…right?

However, with Wenger signing yet another young starlet by the name of Kyle Ebecilio last week, suggests that the Frenchman has no plans of changing his policy anytime soon.

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