Why the kids have to be alright for Arsenal

Last updated : 31 July 2003 By Jason Hogan
Jermaine Pennant - Time to deliver
The press, in their own inimitable backhanded fashion, were basically saying that with that sort of funding allegedly at our disposal, we would not be able to compete with that lot from Old Trafford if push come to shove in the transfer market.

For weeks the press banged on and on about us having this limited amount to spend and for weeks I treated all the innuendos that the press were offering up with a mixture of disdain and indifference.

“How did the press know what resources the Gunners have got?” I thought. After all, the club have always had a tradition of not speculating on transfers so I couldn't exactly see the club coming out and telling the world exactly what they had to spend on transfers.

Yet, as the weeks continued to go by, new signings at Arsenal were conspicuous by their absence and all of a sudden I began to realise that our supposed war chest was, if anything, considerably less than £10 million and not anywhere near what I thought it was in my mind.

Whilst it's true that we eventually made a “major signing” in the form of Jens Lehmann the other day, the fact is we had to haggle with Dortmund in order to get him for less than the £2.5 million they were asking for - and that, in effect, told me a lot about what kind of money Wenger really had at his disposal. After all, £2.5 million is not exactly a king's ransom even in the current climate is it really? It was for us though.

As a result, Wenger has been left with little option but to promote some of the kids from our reserves in order to bolster the first team squad and whilst he has not been slow in coming forward in championing the merits of some of them, I would bet that he would rather done it through choice rather circumstance.

I certainly think that Wenger has a point where some of the kids are concerned though. Jermaine Pennant is the one player most people keep talking about but I have always believed that Jeremie Aliadiere has what it takes to make it to the very top of the game.

Ryan Garry could become a threat to Ashley Cole at left back and the same could be said of Moritz Volz on the right hand side of our defence.

Then you come to Sebastian Svard. The young Dane was initially bought in by Wenger as a defender but played for the first team (briefly) in midfield. Time will tell as to whether he will adjust to being part of the first team set up. And, of course, we have brought in young Senderos as well.

So on one hand there is some cause for hope and optimism though on the other hand there will be that much more pressure on the kids to perform as and when they are called on because the standards that have been set at the club are high and looking to be upheld.

I hope that Wenger's defiant boasts of recent times do not come back to haunt him and that the kids will indeed be alright - with a big spending spree being out of the question both now and in the foreseeable future, they will probably need to be.