There’s no doubt that Arsenal have one of the best academy setups in England and Europe at the moment, with 18-year-old midfielder Kristoffer Olsson the latest to be tipped for greatness.
The AFC Academy Twitter feed has made the bold claim that the Swede is a natural long term replacement for current first team star Mikel Arteta, if Arsene Wenger follows a blueprint.
I personally think with a few loans and some time Olsson could be an Arteta replacement as well. Amazing player to watch.— AFC Academy (@AFCAcademy) January 8, 2014
Olsson hasn’t seen as much first team action as other players around his age at the club but he has made a first team appearance in the League Cup as well as featuring prominently in the under-21 Premier League and the UEFA Youth League.
The Tweet suggests a very logical idea that Olsson needs to go out on a few loan deals to try and enhance his first team experience, to grow a little bit stronger and to generally become a very good player.
That’s a tactic which isn’t new to Wenger and certainly not new to any contemporary manager because it allows plenty of benefits for the player and means the club can retain a little bit of value.
The Tweet is also a tribute to his skills in terms of leadership and responsibility, which suggests he could eventually become the captain of the current under-21 side, becoming a very powerful and important midfield man.
It doesn’t look as though Olsson is going to get a loan deal away from Arsenal this month, which suggests that the summer could be a better time for him to review any options.
However, that’s not a bad thing in terms of his development because there are plenty of difficult and challenging youth team games coming up for the Gunners, none more so than the UYL last 16 match against Shakhtar Donetsk.
It’s impossible to judge whether he can realistically follow Arteta (vice-captain of the first team) until he starts getting regular first team football but the Arsenal Academy chiefs see something they like.
image: © Kieran Clarke