In the summer, Arsenal carried out an internal restructuring of it youth set up when a new Academy head was appointed. Liam Brady had served notice of his departure last year, before he eventually step down as the head of the club’s Hale End Academy in May. His replacement Andries Jonker has already being at the helms for a few months. Although the effect of his work is not expected to bear fruits anytime soon, he has however outlined what his aims are for the Arsenal Academy.
There was a hint in the past that the academy had gone stale under the leadership of Arsenal legend Liam Brady after a handful of players came through the youth set up during his time at the club. However part of the plans to revamp and rejuvenate the youth set up brought about the Dutch man’s appointment.
He was officially appointed in January, and he has a past history of working with Manchester United manager Luis Van Gaal at both Barcelona and Bayern Munich. He joined Arsenal from Wolfsburg.
While Arsenal pride itself as a club that gives opportunities to youth talents, the drought in that area is something Andries Jonker highlighted in an interview, detailing that Ivan Gazidis has a grand plan to see Arsenal develop a world class academy. According to him:
“Arsenal want more talented players to come through, because that has been lacking,”
“They want me to develop the players from the academy much better than it was done before.
“At this moment, considering the investments the club have made, players have hardly been developed properly. This is why they wanted me, a man who can guide the coaches and who can influence the other coaches.”
“Ivan Gazidis [Arsenal chief executive] wants Arsenal to be the best academy in the world. He realises that will cost money and will take time, but that is his ambition.”
Besides, his grand plans to get the academy back on track, he still dwelled on the scouting network that would be involved in bringing some of these players to his attention. He detailed the kind of players he wants from the scouts, and the fact that the scouting network would need to be restructured to get the best out of it as well as the working relationship with the manager, Arsene Wenger in coming to a decision about certain players.
“The scouting must be restructured all over again. It needs to be brought to a level so that we can bring in the absolute best talents from abroad and from England at an age that Wenger can immediately work with them.”
‘My chief scout at the academy, Steve Morrow, came and asked me what kind of players I wanted him to look for. So I said, the best player I have worked on, Xavi.’
“It is important that Wenger and I work closely together. What I do see is that everybody at the club has the feeling that they need to have the green light from Wenger before they do anything. But maybe that is not the case.
The key part was when he said that there are things in the academy that could improved on.
‘But there are a lot of things in the academy which can be improved or should be done different.”
The plan has been set up to reorganize the Academy set up, only time would tell how it pans out.