The unarguably perceptible fact that Arsene is a smart man cannot be over-emphasized. He has arranged a side with almost a perfect balance of home grown and foreign influx. He also knew a summer like this will arrive, where the need for ‘local lads’ will drive clubs to negotiate desperately.
With that in mind, he probably is mulling over extending the current deals of English duo, Jack Wilshere (as is being reported) and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, which for me is the right way to go.
However, he shouldn’t just stop there, because I also firmly believe the time has finally come to unleash both into Arsenal’s first XI.
After what we’ve seen this year, it looks difficult to determine those who will be directly affected from such a reshuffle, but entering their fourth and fifth seasons respectively, Jack (23) and Alex (22 in August), are at a crucial phase of their Arsenal careers, and need to stamp their authority as two of the club’s most dangerous players; while also aiding Alexis in driving the team forward.
Considering the level of expectation which both Cesc and Chamberlain commanded at their arrival at such a young age, as well as the similarities between Nasri (before his early retirement) and Jack in their tendencies to stand out for both club and country, it’s safe to say the England International duo are on course to have career defining seasons.
With Ramsey also ahead in his development and combining (and pressing) intelligently with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, Jack and The Ox could focus on both exploring their senses of imagination, while still expressing their aggressive edge.
We’ve also seen too many situations where Alexis looked isolated in attack and could have done with more teammates surging with him. Both Wilshere and Chambo are naturally gifted with the ability to glide past opponents, and you can’t have enough of those, particularly in modern day football. You only have to look at the respective squads of Luis Enrique, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Massimiliano Allegri to further understand this.
That quartet propelled their respective teams to domestic success, and three out of them guided their respective clubs to the last four of the UEFA Champions League.
Add to that the fact that German Champions, Bayern Munich didn’t look at their best in the CL semi-finals due to the absence of elusive duo, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben through injury.
Jack and Alex have both got a whole lot to prove. They need games to get to their destructive best and are both at the ages where substance begins to count over style. A few pairs such as Phillipe Coutinho, Eden Hazard and Isco are all beginning to understand this and all thrived when their clubs put immense faith in them to be satisfactorily productive.
When Roy Hodgson included Chamberlain into England’s 23-man squad for the Euro 2012 in Poland/Ukraine, eyebrows were raised at the decision to select an ‘unproven’ talent in place of more senior Internationals; a situation Theo Walcott is also familiar with.
However, to avoid suffering the same fate with Theo (in 2010), Ox will need a few months and some luck with fitness to get ‘there’. This also happens to be the same case with Jack and Arsene would be right to once again show some faith in his own project(s).
Jack – “I am happy with my goals and hopefully I can get a few more. If you look at the top midfielders in the past for England, like Lampard, Gerrard and Scholes, they were always on the scoresheet. That is something I like to do and hopefully I can get a few more in the future.”
It’s going to be even more challenging for The Ox with the presence of striking duo, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck in particular, who has occasionally been used on the left side of attack, but the all action midfielder looks more capable of producing moments of brilliance.
His assist for Nacho Monreal’s strike against United in the F.A Cup and his goal at home to Monaco showed real reasons to be optimistic about Chamberlain finally fulfilling his potential at Arsenal, in the near future.
Ox – “Wayne (Rooney) scores enough goals – and that is something I feel that I need to add to my game to take me to the next level. I’ve been working hard on making those kinds of runs in behind. It’s an area of my game that I know I need to improve. And when it comes off you always get extra satisfaction, knowing that your work on the training ground has paid off.” After England game Nov 2014
Like Chamberlain’s last goal for his country also showed, his chemistry with Jack Wilshere could give the team a new dimension in the final third. Both should also draw confidence from the sparkling understanding between expensive foreign duo – Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil; two players who the local duo are already accustomed to playing with.
With the recent influx of foreign stars such as Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez into the side, the technical quality of the team has been elevated to a formidable level. Perhaps the club now needs its two most technically gifted home grown legs to raise the bar of the team to an unplayable level.