Arsenal have confirmed that Steve Morrow has been appointed as the club’s new Head of Youth Scouting and that a major re-development of the London Colney training facilities is planned.
Eager to build on the Gunners’ first trophy-winning season in nine-years, CEO Ivan Gazidis also revealed that Arsene Wenger and his team were gearing up to a busy summer in the transfer market and that expectations are high ahead of Andries Jonker taking over from Liam Brady as head of the Academy.
Writing in his Quarterly Report, Gazidis said: “We have already started working for next season and I am very positive about the future. We are very well placed. Many of our key players have committed their long-term careers to the Club which gives us squad stability on which to build effectively.
“Arsène is working hard on bringing greater depth to the squad during the summer and this will allow us to compete on multiple competitive fronts throughout the next campaign.
“In addition, we continue to develop our capability in many of our support areas, including our physical performance work and data analytics. Next year we plan to start work on a major re-development project at Colney.
“We also continue to make significant investment in youth development which remains a key part of our philosophy. I would like to thank Liam Brady once again for all his hard work over the past 17 years and I look forward to continuing to work with him in the future.
“Our new Head of the Youth Academy, Andries Jonker, joins us in July and we have appointed Steve Morrow as our Head of Youth Scouting as we look to develop our recruitment of young players. We have also made big strides during the course of the season in our approach to youth athletic development and important re-building works are finishing at Hale End.”
The reference to ‘physical performance work’ and ‘data analytics’ would appear to tally with something Arsene Wenger said at the tail end of the season about investigating the reason behind the club’s awful injury record.
Back in March, the boss spoke publicly of his frustration that so many key players were unavailable at a key moment of the season: “I am concerned that this happens.
“If you look at our overall injury list going into such a decisive part of the season, we have not Wilshere, not Walcott, not Özil, not Ramsey and we went to Bayern without [Kieran] Gibbs and [Nacho] Monreal. We are analysing very deeply why it happened and to see if there is a link between all these injuries.”
We can only hope the club pinpoint a reason ASAP because year after year the loss of major (and squad) players hampers are ability to compete on four fronts.