Arsenal Football Club, historically speaking, have always invested in youth more than experience. Procuring, nurturing, developing the youth and making them technically adept is the Arsenal way and this ritual has been followed since the days of Arsene Wenger.
Amani Richards, a similar youth prospect, has just signed his first professional contract with Arsenal. Richards, formerly a Chelsea youth product, has just confirmed through his social media pages that he has signed his first professional contract with the Gunners and he couldn’t be more pleased about this.
“Signing for Arsenal, my boyhood club, it’s just a great thing. It’s a club that everyone in my family supports. Everyone around me supports Arsenal“- these were the words of the 16 year old who has long dreamed of playing for his boyhood club and now has been given the golden opportunity to do so.
He added: “I mean I always wanted it to happen eventually, but it happening now is just a great thing. Just really really excited to get going“. The pleasure on the youngster’s face tells you how excited he is for this opportunity, but he is also very aware that if he performs on high level, someday he might get a chance to feature in Arsenal’s senior team.
Most Premier clubs, in the past decade, have not provided their youth with enough opporutinites, courtesy of which they look around for clubs around Europe or spend most of their career on loan. Chelsea are currently in-fluxed with academy graduates in their senior team, but one of the main reasons why these kids were awarded first team opportunities was due to a transfer ban imposed on the Blues.
Manchester City lost the talent of Jadon Sancho for almost next to nothing to Borussia Dortmund and it never occurred to them to slot in a buy-back clause for the youngster. At the start of the decade, Arsenal made one of their biggest mistakes in recent times as they let Serge Gnabry go. The youngster went on to impress at Werder Bremen and eventually secured a big money move to European heavy-weights Bayern Munich, with whom Gnabry won a Champions League last season.
Life comes at you fast and you learn from your mistakes. Arsenal, now under Mikel Arteta, are paying much more attention to their youth academy, because of which players like Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe are making progress in the first team squad.
Amani Richards is somebody who hasn’t been provided enough opportunities by Chelsea, which is why he chose to sign for Arsenal, regardless of the fact that the youngster has always dreamed of playing in the red & white. The 16 year old will join the U18 Arsenal team in the meantime, where the Gunners are currently 7th in the South Zone, 12 points away from leaders Fulham.
Arsenal more often than not, target young attackers in the transfer market and there is a reason. The biggest investments in World football today are strikers and to procure a top young striker is one of the most hardest and expensive deals to negotiate for. So, most clubs, try to get ahead and secure deals for young attackers so that when the time comes, they won’t have go out and make big money signings.
Amani Richards is certainly a positive step in that direction and while he has a long way to go, this will certainly be Arsenal’s one to watch.
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