What would Aleksandar Mitrovic’s signing mean for Arsenal?

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Reports in Italy suggest that Arsenal are to sign 18-year-old Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic from Partizan Belgrade.

If this news proves to be true, what does it say about Arsenal’s plans this transfer market? They’ve reportedly already tied up the deal to bring in 20-year-old French striker Yaya Sanogo along with a likely deal for Lyon’s Clement Grenier.

Arsenal fans were awaiting the ‘big names’ that they were expecting to be bought with Arsene Wenger’s ‘£70 million’ kitty but the French manager may have other ideas in mind.

I wrote last week, with regard to potential Sanogo and Grenier deals, that Arsene Wenger won’t change the habit of a lifetime – his preference is to sign young players at relatively little cost – but with the two French starlets he proves the old adage ‘Wenger knows’ remains true.

However, this proposed deal to bring in Mitrovic is something of a surprise – few will have heard of him which is no big deal but his signing could mean Wenger is not intending to bring in a big name like Stevan Jovetic who the Gunners have been linked with for several months.

The missing piece of this jigsaw puzzle may be found in the Arsenal Reserves and the youth team – it was not well reported but the club let go of a number of young players, in effect culled their youth and reserve squads.

The club reported that they will not be renewing the imminently expiring contracts of 10 of their youngsters, including Sanchez Watt, Conor Henderson, James Shea, Jernade Meade, Reice Charles-Cook, Sead Hajrovic, Philip Roberts, Nigel Neita, Samir Bihmoutine and Josh Rees.

Additionally they have also already moved on Kyle Ebecilio (FC Twente), Elton Monteiro (Club Brugge), Martin Angha (FC Nuremberg), Jordan Wynter (Bristol City) and Craig Eastmond (Colchesta Unizzle).

Here’s the missing piece – Arsene Wenger’s signing of youngsters earlier on this summer is not necessarily going to mean he won’t sign ‘big names’. He is bringing in young talent to replace the outgoing youngsters who failed to make the grade at the Emirates.

Wenger placed faith in a number of those youngsters but now it seems he is cutting ties with them and opting instead to bring in a new crop who, by all accounts, will be ready to chase a first team place in less than a couple of years time.

Mitrovic, for example, has scored 10 goals in 25 appearances in the Serbian SuperLiga. Whilst he’s by no means the finished article, he arrives with potential in abundance.

Much the same can be said of young Sanogo who will come in on a free transfer from Auxerre. Grenier will likely make the first team in the coming season – he’s 22 years of age and already has the ability to warrant a first-team place at Arsenal.

He’s the kind of player who has likely been brought in to fill the void left by Andre Arshavin. Sanogo and Mitrovic could well be intended as future replacements for the outgoing Marouane Chamakh and Park Chu-Young.

By no means does Arsene Wenger’s signing of youngsters mean he’s not going to bring in ready-made world class talent – he’s simply replacing those with whom he’s lost his patience with – a good sign for Gunners fans that he intends to remain at the Emirates a while yet and that he’s prepared to be more ambitious next term.

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