After a shaky late 2000’s and early part of this decade, Arsenal’s academy has started to bear some pretty good fruit in recent years - players like Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Iwobi, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are all either regulars or becoming regulars in Arsene’s team selections after coming up through the youth ranks.
I will be the first to admit I don’t know a ton about Arsenal’s overall youth setup, but I do know that a youth/academy system in general is in charge of two distinct things - producing good young players now, and always having an overall vision and pipeline of good younger players for the future so that the U18/U20/Uwhatever age coaches always have those good players. The “overall vision” piece also means that the players brought in should be being developed in a style that fits the first team’s style, making for a seamless transition from young to old.
Although they haven’t done spectactularly well in recent years, one of the more successful examples of this approach is at Barcelona, where they use La Masia to train kids from an early age and thus, theoretically at least, always have a steady supply of Barca-ready talent, otherwise known in some more annoying circles as “Barca DNA”.
Well, if reports are to be believed, Arsenal are about to start building their own DNA - those reports are saying that the club is interested in hiring Pep...NO WAIT DON’T RUN AWAY SCREAMING NOT THAT ONE...Pep Segura, Barca’s current Head Of Professional Phase, which I learned today is a thing. He’s essentially the coach of Barcelona B, which is the step right before graduating to Big Barca.
Segura’s attracting a lot of other interest though - Chelsea are known to be very interested, and Segura previously worked at Liverpool - so this is by no means a done deal, but it is an interesting development that we’ll keep our eye on.