Arsenal’s head of development Marcel Lucassen has explained how he has implemented a structure into the club’s youth ranks, as they aim to emulate the likes of Barcelona and Ajax.
The Spanish and Dutch giants have become widely recognised for their ability to continuously churn out ready made players for the first-team, saving their clubs millions in the market.
Ajax’s success last season in the Champions League made their development of young players mainstream news, with the Eredivisie side raising significant funds from the sales of Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie De Jong.
Rather than reinvesting those profits, Ajax have stuck by their values by keeping faith in their young talents behind the scenes – and Lucassen has similar plans in North London.
“As a result, we collectively developed the ‘Way of Arsenal’, for which philosophy or teams from under-9s to under-23s stand for and also set an example of.
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“I disapprove of systems. For me, there is way too much talk about them. It starts, when I ask people, which systems they know. Then the answer is 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. That means, football is played by ten people? If I talk about systems, it is 1-4-3-3 for example. Or does the goalkeeper have a role as an outsider in the team?
“The playing philosophy should be fixed, the system variable. “There are six basic principles, which are features of football: Start the attack, create an attack and finish an attack. Contrary to that, defend as high as possible, as fast as possible and initiate transitional play. If you lose the ball, win it back.”