Date:Tuesday August 19 2008
Following hot on the heels of defender Havard Nordveit who has joined Spanish 2nd division side Salamanca on a season long loan Nacer Barazite is to join Derby, at least until the end of the year.
The 18 year old Dutch forward had a prolific season in the reserves side scoring 18 goals and providing plenty of assists but such is the progress of some of these young players that reserve team football doesn`t provide enough of a challenge for them to develop further. Earlier this year Wenger highlighted the pace with which players of 16 upwards are now progressing through the reserve sides but are not quite ready for Premier League football.
"At the moment we play the young players so quickly in the Reserve team — at 16 or 17 — that at 18 and 19 there is sometimes no challenge for them anymore," admits Wenger. "But it is still a little bit too early for them to play in the first team at Arsenal. So there is a little gap period for them.
"We always think about how we can use this period for the benefit for the boy and the club. One of the solutions is to get them into clubs where they can get first-team experience."
At one time a loan arrangement might have signalled a path out of the club. Four seasons ago 11 youngsters were loaned to other clubs, including Bentley, Pennant, Svard and Stack - none found their way back to the club. The following season 7 players took up temporary assignments elsewhere. These included Hoyte who has now left the club and Carlos Vela who was parked in Spain until he could get a work permit. The season before last 12 players were loaned to other clubs. Bendtner and Song came back to claim places as fairly solid first team squad members. Others including Muamba, Larsson, Lupoli and Stokes left the club. Of the 7 loanees last season Djourou can best lay claim to a solid place in the first team squad while Fran Merida received some acclaim for his stint at Real Sociedad. Mathew Connolly is the only one so far to leave the club.
Not all young players are treated the same. Walcott, Ramsey and Wilshere are all apparently deemed close enough to the first team not to need external experience. The numbers of good quality players being produced means that the loan system will continue to be fully utilised but there should be enough encouragement now for players to believe that it is possible to develop their abilities elsewhere without jeopardising their chances of progressing at the club.
It is rumoured that Kieran Gibbs might go on loan to Reading having spent some time at Norwich last season but surely the most patient loanee is full back Kerrea Gilbert who is spending this season at Leceister having spent the last two full seasons out on loan.
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Date:Tuesday August 19 2008
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