A look at Tottenham’s squad today will show how much youth has come into a team that, over the past 10 years, has been more similar to a retirement home than a football club for many players. The likes of Gareth Bale (20), David Bentley (25), Tom Huddlestone (23), Aaron Lennon (22) and Michael Dawson (26) show how important young players have been for Tottenham over the previous years. It was in fact Arnesen who brought Dawson, Lennon and Huddlestone to the club nearly 5 years ago.
Arnesen was the man responsible for the signings of Jaap Stam, Philip Cocu, Arjen Robben, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Bolo Zenden, and, of course, Ruud van Nistelrooy whilst a PSV. Not forgetting his discovery of a Brazilian striker named, Ronaldo. His emphasis was always on youth development, probably the reason why Chelsea risked the wrath of the FA in taking him to become head of youth development at Stamford Bridge.
Before Arnesen’s arrival at Spurs, the club seemed intent on signing experience over youth. Glenn Hoddle signed a number of players who had ‘experience’ including Gus Poyet (35), Christian Ziege (32) and Teddy Sheringham (35) just to name a few. The club had a successful season but only managed a 9th place finish.
With the arrival of Arnesen, the club were to be changed from a mid-table side to a team that are now challenging the top 4.
Of course this season has mainly been down to the team and the changes made by Harry Redknapp but the change from a team intent on signing experience to a team who now look at youth development is one that Spurs fans can thank Arnesen for. Upon his arrival at White Hart Lane, Arnesen stated;
“It is my responsibility to find new talent, and I believe I have the knowledge and contacts to take this club back to where it belongs”.
The club is now on the right track to where they belong but it is his work that has gone relatively unappreciated. Behind the controversy in his move to Chelsea, Arnesen was a man on a mission. His changes were undoubtedly for the better of the club and put down the path for a successful change in the club’s future. A new-look team was assembled and despite some failures on the way, there are a number of players who have benefitted from the changed policy.
He may now have left the club but Tottenham fans should still appreciate the work he did. The players who are now established members of the first team (Dawson, Lennon, Huddlestone) have all benefitted from the changes made by Arnesen. Although it’s taken it’s time to develop, the Arnesen legacy is beginning to show promise at Spurs.