One of the lamer Arsenal jokes of the past twenty years or so has been "Arsene Wenger only buys cheap youth players." It's lame for several reasons:
- It's not true, particularly not now.
- Acquiring young, talented players for relatively cheap is way smarter than constantly waiting five years and spending five times as much on the same player.
- Sometimes a young player isn't a project for the future - he's ready to have an impact right away.
Enter Calum Chambers. His was my favorite kind of transfer -- it popped up on Twitter as I was riding a train from New Jersey into New York City on a Friday night, and it was officially announced on a Monday afternoon as I was driving back to Indiana. And his versatility meant that we weren't really sure where he'd play. Would he be the backup right back? A midfielder? A centerback?
Well, with the departure of Thomas Vermaelen, and Per Mertesacker's late return from winning the World Cup, the latter position would be the first we'd see young Mr. Chambers. He's been thrown into the fray straight away. And so far, it's going quite well. He impressed in the Emirates Cup, he impressed in the Community Shield, and in a team that looked poor and disjointed, he was one of few bright spots in the Arsenal lineup against Crystal Palace.
Here, in a nutshell, is Calum Chambers.
I could honestly watch that all day. It's beautiful. And this is a 19-year-old prospect, supposedly. It's early still, but my goodness, this looks like a superb bit of business for Arsenal already, and he's only appeared in one (or two, depending on how you feel about Shields) competitive game for the club.
Oh, and this was his first Premier League game as a centerback. Not bad at all. I'm really looking forward to seeing how he develops, but so far, the returns are pretty damn good.