Arsenal scout unwittingly pinpoints middling scouting record in Gunners recruitment strategy.
Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi has stumbled upon what could be the answer to the club’s defensive struggles this season – the difficulty in recognising potential and developing it in comparison to their attacking counterparts.
The former Gunners star was speaking to French newspaper Le Parisien, in which he is asked about his admiration for Real Madrid defender Raphaele Varane – already a tremendous player at the age of just 19.
“It’s easier to help a striker grow because you can ask him to do whatever he wants on the pitch and show off his talent,” said Grimandi.
“Making a defender into a first team player takes more time because it’s a position which requires maturity, even if Raphael Varane is an exception.”
In truth, Arsenal’s woes at the back have not been because of defensive organisation. Captain Thomas Vermaelen has an alarming propensity to fall over at crucial moments or get caught too high up the pitch, Per Mertesacker can be outsprinted by most species of snail, and Laurent Koscielny increasingly just looks lost.
All in theory are good players, bought at prices relatively cheap to their abilities and track records. Though the Gunners have conceded just 32 goals – the fourth best record in the Premier League – individual errors have repeatedly cost them at the back.
Whilst that is difficult for Arsene Wenger and his team to legislate for, at the same time the frequency of such errors is galling for Arsenal fans, and the club staff must all take some responsibility – from the scouts that signed a player to the coaching staff tasked with improving them.