Earlier this morning, I started seeing rumors about a possible signing. Arsenal appear to have bought a Swedish youth player named Jamaal Raage, which means that Ainsley Maitland-Niles has immediate competition for Best Name at Arsenal. According to Jeorge Bird, the news broke from the player's agency, which has reported the deal on Facebook.
Evidently this is a player that's pretty damn good, and highly coveted. He's trialled at Arsenal before, as well as Manchester United, and has played for Sweden's U15 international side four times, scoring twice. Raage hasn't been as highly touted as new teammate and other new arrival Dan Crowley, or even Yaya Sanogo, who still hasn't been officially confirmed as far as I can tell but is by all rights an Arsenal player. But he's only 16 (as of January) so there's plenty of time for hype in the future.
So this is a pretty good thing, all told, if it's true. Talented young players are a good thing to acquire. They're cheap to bring in, and if they pan out they can be just as good as a £25 million signing, or better depending on how good they end up to be. Jamaal Raage could be the next Carlos Vela or the next Cristiano Ronaldo. Either way, he didn't cost £10 million, so it doesn't really matter in the short term.
Unless, of course, you have no concept of how sports work. Look at the comments on that post. There's some good discussion, but there are a bunch of people upset that Jamaal Raage isn't, say, Gonzalo Higuain. Like this one:
Is this the way Arsene and Board planning to spend the $70 million on youth or laurels winning players?
Really? Do people really think this is how things work? That a team can only buy youth or experience, not both? Dan Crowley allegedly cost about £1 million - are we buying 70 youth players this summer?
This one is almost worse:
For god sake not another kid who will most likely end on the footballing scrap heap.
Yes, some youth players don't work out. Others are Jack Wilshere, or Cesc Fabregas. That's why you have a youth team, because sometimes the players pan out. The greats have to come from somewhere, after all.
Arsene wenger is a joke. what are these signings gonna help us with. sanogo, crowley, ptrezegui….who gives a crap. e.t.c.
citeh have bought fernandinho and navas yet they finished no.2 while having a far better season than us. that’s ambition, they want to srt the record straight and regain top spot. Arsenal on the other hand?, still early but I have been fooled too many times….
Ambitious clubs are busy buying real quality in the transfer market, arsenal are busy buying little kids when they already have excess in their reserves…
The other places that reported on this had the same comments issue, and frankly I've had it with this bullshit.
It looks like this deal is real, and if he's as good as he supposedly is it's a good one for Arsenal. If you'd like to debate his quality, that's fine. I'd like to hear from some people who have seen him play again and again, to hear the kind of player he is and whether he's quality. But if your gripe with this kid being brought in is that he isn't Stevan Jovetic, you should be banned from participating in public discussion. This is not an either-or proposition. A team needs youth players, especially a team with a high-caliber academy set-up like Arsenal. Bringing in new youth players is a good thing. And it has little to no bearing on whether or not the big names come in.