Kyle Bartley joins Swansea. Is project youth failing? – AFC

It’s all happening at the Arsenal now, players are leaving left right and centre. Whilst arsenal fans are still digesting the news of the imminent robin van persie deal to united revealed on Wednesday; news broke last night of the permanent transfer of Kyle Bartley to premiership team Swansea. Hardly the straw that broke the camel’s back but all the same a sign that project youth didn’t bear the gem that all the time and investment warranted.

The scouting team clearly saw something special in Bartley when they plucked him from Bolton youth a few years back, he seemed to be working his way through the ranks at arsenal. He has definitely benefitted from a number of loan moves to improve his game; the most recent gaining big game experience at Ibrox with Rangers. Many thought that would be the high profile experience that would put him in good stead to cope with the demands of representing arsenal.

His promotion to the 1st team this season looked like an indication of a breakthrough season on the cards. The opportunity he had been waiting for ever since joining the club would be realised this season; all be it as 5th choice centre back. Would he have the patience to wait for an opportunity to stake a claim for the starting XI or would the experience of regular 1st team football at the top level with Rangers give him the taste to experience more of that?

It’s clear Kyle saw the latter as the better option and to be fear arsenal fans cannot hold it against him. Regular football in a Swansea team that impressed so many last season how could we convince him otherwise.

You have to question how hard a decision was it for arsenal to agree the deal. Is it that they cannot see the full potential they initially realised when he was first acquired coming to fruition? Have they made a choice between Bartley and Miquel and see greater potential in the Spaniard? Or is it just good will from Arsene to grant Bartley an opportunity for football at premiership level which he could not guarantee at Arsenal in the coming season? Maybe we will never get the full answer but after the departure of promising midfielder Ozzy Oghuzup to Besiktas one does wonder if we are now holding onto the real gems and cutting our losses on the later developers despite the potential they have.

A lot of investment went into many youngsters who never quite took off to the next level at arsenal; players like Vela, Denilson and Bendtner despite their unrivalled talent at a young age have not quite hit the heights that maybe were expected of them. They did of course move up the grade to first team players but the high level of consistency and output expected never quite appeared often enough. They were eventually deemed surplus to requirements and Wenger was prepared to let them go without putting up much of a fight.

There really is a thin line between the benefits of loaning young players out to clubs; it really is the sink and swim test; many go out to lower league clubs and hardly make a ripple at their new clubs. Sometimes it shows that their chances of cutting it at arsenal are heavily reduced if they can’t make an impact at lower level, sometimes a loan move can come too early for a young player and a bit more development is required however the experience in invaluable. Then there are young players that take to the loan move like ducks to water, they really grasp their opportunity and get their first taste of idolisation from fans and teammates. This divides players when their loans are over; they either come back with a fresh hunger and belief they can break into the Arsene’s plans or they return having liked the 1st team experience and yearn for that opportunity elsewhere rather than being patient, playing reserve football and waiting for the opportunities as presented in the carling cup and sometimes fa cup. Additionally after years of assessments the player simply isn’t deemed good enough and informed they can move on.

Over the years I have maybe only seen Bartley play 2 or 3 games for the arsenal and in each one he had produced a gaff that led to a goal. I put it down to rawness at such a young age, he still showed potential and the mistakes which are expected from young players would get ironed out. Maybe those mistakes were becoming repeat offenders? I’m not sure I never watched any of his ranger’s performances and the feedback from others was that he was impressing over there.

Whatever the reason project youth comes under the microscope again, if he clearly wasn’t going to make it why wasn’t he let go a long time ago and if he was deemed a talent why did we let him go so easily (with no doubt a massive selling on fee)? One other factor I forgot to mention was Bartley’s cryptic support on twitter for Ched Evans when the striker was sentenced for rape. He received a major backlash from the fans and eventually back tracked his tweet claiming it was for something else and nothing to do with the trial. Luckily he wasn’t high profile enough for the story to hit the red tops but I’m sure the people who matter at arsenal took note of those events. Support of a convicted rapist does not bode well on the representation of the club.

Whatever the reason I’m sure Mr Arsene will give us the answer one day, hopefully the truth and not the wrapped in cotton wool answer.

Enjoy your day people

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