If Mikel Arteta already didn’t have enough to contend with at Arsenal, one of his former team-mates has suggested that he’s going to take pride in giving the Spaniard a selection headache.
That’s because Per Mertesacker is now the head of the Arsenal academy, and he evidently wants to keep challenging his players to be good enough to be brought through for Arteta to use in the first team squad.
“We are really keen on giving Mikel Arteta a lot of headaches, you know,” Mertesacker told Ian Wright on his YouTube channel, cited by the Daily Mirror.
“He must be thinking, ‘What’s going on in the academy?’ Every year there is the potential two, three players who can step onto that court.
“But I know his standards, I know what he stands for, so I need to prepare the players really well so when they step into the first-team environment they are ready and prepared.”
Given that the entire transfer landscape will have changed immeasurably for virtually every club, the upcoming windows will almost certainly look different to any others as clubs look to broker loan or swap deals and save as much cash as possible in the process.
To that end, each club’s academy becomes even more important moving forward than previously. If a gem or two can be unearthed, it will arguably save millions of pounds or euros in transfer fees, whilst ensuring the lineage between academy and first team continues.