Another Arsenal youngster could be on the move
In what has been a hectic few days for the Arsenal youth setup, I can reveal another prospect on the move. Miguel Azeez was once considered the bright young thing at Hale End but his career stalled out in loans at Ibiza and Wigan. The Gunners are now in talks to send the midfielder to Atletico Baleares in the Spanish third tier in what would be a permanent deal. This one is by no means guaranteed to get finished before the deadline, according to CBS Sports sources, but there is a will from all parties to make it happen.
Miguel Azeez warming up before Arsenal’s Europa League game against Dundalk in December 2020
Azeez would be following Bradley Ibrahim (Hertha Berlin) and Lino Sousa (Aston Villa) in making what might once have seemed premature moves away from the club. None of those deals are likely to net Arsenal much money but if the Azeez deal is finalised it is expected to include sell on clauses, matching rights and appearance add-ons to earn the Gunners cash in the future.
Arsenal are not alone in taking this approach with their youngsters, Villa are another who take the view that endlessly loaning their prospects is not as shrewd a move as it was once viewed. All too often in the lower leagues of English and European football, managers under pressure for immediate results will trust in veterans with more competitive experience while clubs are often more reluctant than they initially seem to develop a player for another team.
Deals like Ibrahim’s could be reflective of another step in youth development, particularly for those viewed as unlikely to get much further than the first team fringes. Hertha are altogether more motivated to develop the young midfielder now he is theirs, should he prove to be a success then Arsenal can profit on him and, if things go really well, get him back at the market price. If the alternative is talented footballers reaching 20 or 21 with little progress made in their careers, it may just be preferable.