Newcastle Copying Arsenal Youth Policy Makes Perfect Sense

Well there is certainly divided opinion on whether Newcastle’s new way forward, where they will not be shelling out big money for players, is the right way to go for a club as famous  as Newcastle United.

Chris Hughton – summer transfers will be so important

And our comparison this morning of Newcastle’s system to that of Barcelona, has met with some derision, and that’s fair,  because we are nowhere near the Barcelona or Arsenal Youth systems as yet.

We have to get our scouting system put in place – yes – absolutely – and it’s not good enough yet – but the club will need to invest some money in that area of the club, which will become so important for the future success of the club.

But it’s a better investment of some £10M there, into our scouting system, then on players like Albert Luque or Jean Alain Boumsong or Marcelino – that the club bought in the past – as just 3 good examples of expensive  but poor players.

And then the club needs to work out more clearly,  how it deals with young players like Tamas Kadar, who are ready to, and want to play every week.  We need to loan them out – like Arsenal do – but also watch them closely as Chris seems to be doing with Fraser Forster at Norwich right now.

But it’s hardly unreal to compare Newcastle to Barcelona right now – the Spanish side are a great model we are presumably building towards – and as far as we understand that’s the system the club is putting in place.

The fact that Arsenal are the club that owner Mike Ashley and others mention is fine – but we’ll just point out that Arsenal looked to the Barcelona system when Arsene Wenger arrived in London.

At least the Newcastle club now have a plan in place, that will not cost us millions and millions each season just to buy top players – we’ll be making most of them – but of course we will still need to buy.

It’s not easy we know, and we need top scouts,  and it has to be a full global scouting system – but we’re starting to be convinced this is the right way forward for the Newcastle club.

And for those fans who would like Newcastle to buy a player for say £20M or more – they will be disappointed in the next few years – that’s also true.

But let’s quickly compare the two systems – and we’ll take the striker position.

Michael Owen cost the club £40M over 4 years with transfer fee and wages, and we got 30 goals back from him.  Yes, we know that he was always injured, but he had a bad injury record before we even brought him to Tyneside, and yes he had several big injuries while here – and yes it’s not his fault.

But notice that we have 18 goals already from Peter Lovenkrands – in just over a year – and he cost us nothing.  And they are the same age – although Peter is younger than Michael – by about a month as it turns out.

That’s probably not too fair a comparison – but it makes a point and illustrates there are some very good players available for small fees or as free agents, and bringing in expensive players in both transfer fees and wages has hardly been too successful at Newcastle – ever.

And recently we got a great buy in Sebastien Bassong, where we made £8M on him in just 10 months, and we’re hoping that Mike Williamson and Wayne Routledge will turn out to be bargain buys too.

Arsenal will sign Bordeaux Striker Marouane Chamakh who is rated at £12M, for nothing in the summer, when his contract runs out – so there are good players available and even top clubs like to pick up some bargains – they’re not daft after all, well apart from Manchester City.  Just kidding. 😀

So there’s a long way to go at Newcastle, there’s no doubt about that, but we think the club is on a solid path forward, which is also sustainable over time.

Comments welcome.

46 comments so far

  • Thump

    Apr 7, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    Comment #1

    My biggest concern is (as you pointed out) players not getting play time. I feel for the likes of Kadar but the club definitely needs to start sending them out on loan or giving them more first team opportunities rather than having them as backup to injuries.

  • Captain Beefheart

    Apr 7, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    Comment #2

    So we forego backup for injuries, Thump?

    Problem is there’s too many subs these days. Keeper plus 3 outfielders MAX. This way the reserve team is a genuine place to maintain match fitness instead of bench warming week after week.

  • coxonfamily

    Apr 7, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    Comment #3

    I don’t buy into all this we shouldnt spend big money on big players, yeah we had a lot of poor buys in the past but 9times out of 10 it was the managers fault for choosing the wrong players. Bobby Robson spent quite a bit of money and look where he had us. I do think the youth policy is great but I wouldnt say many of ours are that much more exciting to others around us to be fair, we always said the likes of Chopra & Caldwell’s were gonna be top players but they are playing at our level at the minute. I think theirs a fine line, We should be willing to spend 10m on a player of real quality, but still find some cheap bargains out their aswell.

  • coxonfamily

    Apr 7, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    Comment #4

    Makes me laugh how many people slag players like these off for being “bad boys”, “overpaid” lads, the likes of:


    you know all the ones who cost us a decent amount of money. But a good manager is willing to spend alot of money on the likes of these and will still deal with the “baggage” that they supposedly bring.

    It really worries me that we are gonna buy into Mike Ashley’s “youth policy” which I have a feeling actually means “I dont want to spend much and I need an excuse policy”. We still need to spend a bit of cash. I hope Ashley proves me wrong but I’d like to see about 15-20m to get us about 13th this next season back in the premiership, but I dont see him doing it, unless people leave. Prove me wrong Ashley! lol

  • wsquare

    Apr 7, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    Comment #5

    shut up ed

  • toonoholic

    Apr 7, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    Comment #6


  • Geordie-Gerrard7

    Apr 7, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    Comment #8

    should have got gibson when we had the chance, he is better than carrick man

  • Geordie-Gerrard7

    Apr 7, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    Comment #9

    man u are absoloutley amaising tonight

  • Thump

    Apr 7, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    Comment #10

    @Captain Beefheart: not at all, that was just bad wording on my part. I was talking about bringing in the likes of fitz hall when we have a perfectly capable defender in tamas kadar is just backwards to me. I’m all for bolstering the ranks, but all it’s done is push a perfectly capable player down in the pecking order in a season that is ideal for the younger lads. It’s a bit like harper getting injured and bringing somebody like ben foster on loan instead of letting krul between the sticks for the duration.

  • DJG

    Apr 7, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    Comment #11

    What do you guys think about Tim Krul?

    I was just looking at the contracts and realised that Krul’s runs out at the end of next season. Forster is on a contract until 2014. I think Hughton should play Krul now we are up to give the lad some games. We need to keep hold of Krul because in my opinion he is the new Van der Saar. Harper has made some big errors in the last few games come to think of it. Come on Hughton who is the boss, you or the ‘players commitie.’

  • DJG

    Apr 7, 2010 at 7:55 PM

    Comment #12

    Ed can you do a one about the youth cup. We play Aston Villa in the first leg tomorow night if im correct in thinking?

  • Sgt. Heagerty

    Apr 7, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    Comment #13

    I am all about growing our own talent on the banks of the tyne….however you still have to buy players. I would like to see Big Mike drop at least a 20 spot on the new players plus whatever we make on players going out. We can’t grow players over night and we need to strengthen the squad to survive next year. Growing players is good for 5 years down the road and longer but he is gonna have to open the wallett or we will be back in the soda pop league before you know it. Be smart financially but don’t be stingy mike…

  • El Geordieo

    Apr 7, 2010 at 7:59 PM

    Comment #14

    exactly we cant be stingy as the arsenal model was built on already a class premier team then slowly adding quality young players to it, we havnt got a premier class team….

  • DJG

    Apr 7, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    Comment #15

    There is definately a hierachy like. I wonder if Krul had made the same mistakes (spilling it and conceding a goal, miskicked clearance and goal) would Harper not come in for the next game.

  • bobby_ollox

    Apr 7, 2010 at 8:39 PM

    Comment #16

    Manure – Ha !

  • Geordie-Gerrard7

    Apr 7, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    Comment #17

    haha manure, thery were brilliant first 15 minutes, i really like ollic, can anyone remember when we were going to sign him on a free??

  • danuneek

    Apr 7, 2010 at 9:49 PM

    Comment #18

    I agree. Now we’re promoted we should start using a few youngsters like Krul, Ranger, Kadar and vuckic just to give them some first team experience and have a real look.


    Apr 7, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    Comment #19

    Off the subject got a list of players here could be had for free, 1 or 2 might have done deals but worth a look for free.Liam Rigdewell 25 (defender birmingham),Sebastian Larson 24 (midfielder birmingham),Kris Boyd 26 (attacker rangers),Morten Gamst Pedersen 28 (winger blackburn),Marrouane Chamakh 26 (attacker bordeaux),Jason Morrison 25 (midfielder ferenvaros),Rafa Wolfe 24 (defender ferenvaros),Andres Sergio Asenjo 20 (goalkeeper ath madrid),Cristian Riveros 27 (midfielder cruz azul),Jose Goncalves 24 (defender hearts),Mouhamadou Dabo 23 (defender saint etienne),Kevin Kuranyi 28 (attacker schalke),Andranik Teymourian 26 (midfielder fulham),Joe Ledley 23 (midfielder cardiff),Gustavo Munua 32 (goalkeeper malaga),Alcantara Thiago 18 (midfielder barcelona),James Mceveley 25 (defender derby),Milos Krasic 25 (midfielder cska moscows),Adriano 28 (attacker flamengo),Borja Fernandez 29 (midfielder real valldolid),Jan Zimmermann 24 (goalkeeper eintracht),Lloyd Sam 25 (midfielder charlton),Christoph Metzelder 29 (defender real mardrid)

  • jimiley

    Apr 7, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    Comment #20

    I do not buy into this youth policy and buying bargain players. Thats Ashley’s excuse for pocketing more money before he sells up. Why are we going to buy cheap players with the intention of just staying out the relegation zone? We are NUFC and one of the richest clubs in Europe!!!! If you buy cheap players all the time you end up with a cheap team. We develop the occasional golden nugget in the north east but a youth policy of Geordie players would get us relegated again. Who was the last really quality Geordie player? Beardsley, Gascoigne, Shearer. We are talking about players 5 and 15 years ago. What has the Arsenal policy won recently? NOTHING. You have to buy big every so often in order to win something or are we in it to just make up the numbers? Ashley is in it to get as much as possible out of NUFC. The fat man has to go. Worst owner in the history of NUFC. A disgrace and affront to the dignity of the area.

  • Szarka

    Apr 7, 2010 at 10:12 PM

    Comment #21

    Krul should be playing soon instead of Harper. Krul is a talented keeper, played a few times for NUFC, and he was great. Aldo I know, hes not VdS yet, he made errors too, but i think its time for the change. Harper did a lot for the club, and got a full season now, but hes really old now. Krul should step in hes place, and Harper would sit on the bench – then retire soon. Or if Harper would get a PL season, then Krul must be loaned out. Other youth players should play too.

    And about signings: we will propably buy players, but the club aint got money for 10-20 million stars, we must look around 1-3 million, or free agents. And theres 4-5 players ready to step in.

    Crystal Palace and Pompey are in ad position and we can get a few players from them in a bargain price.


    Apr 7, 2010 at 10:13 PM

    Comment #22

    Investing in youth is the way to go,dont seem to be working to bad for arsenal and barca dos it.But them teams mainly arsenal always seem to splash the cash, every so often, like arsavin for instants.

  • sirjasontoon

    Apr 7, 2010 at 10:27 PM

    Comment #23

    Makes perfect sense to copy a team that has won sweet FA in years.
    Forget Arsenal…pretty football,no end product i.e Trophies.

  • jimiley

    Apr 7, 2010 at 10:28 PM

    Comment #24

    It is clear that there is not enough talent in the north east to make a top Premiership team. So you have to attract the top talent from elsewhere. But you have to be a top team to do that. eg Manu, Arsenal, Barca etc. NUFC is not a top team anymore so we will not attract the best youngsters. You have to spend decent money to establish yourself. You would think Barca and Arsenal never spend 15 million on a player. You can buy the league. look at Chelsea and watch Citeee go in the next few years. We do not have that sort of cash but we will get nowhere with 1 and 2 million pound players except talk of survival and constant relegation worries. I would rather be doing well in the fizzy than getting whupped in the Prem. Where is this club’s ambition.


    Apr 7, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    Comment #25

    jimiley man utd are on the slide.Watch the summer transfer window,i know now they wont spend big.The reason there 700 million plus loan by there owners,do you know what the interest payment is on that.The money they took for Ronald last season went on there interest payment alone.The glazers should of listened to there accountant who i bet told them to sell.Dont be surprised when they sell Rooney this summer cause they need the money.

  • Geordie-Gerrard7

    Apr 7, 2010 at 10:41 PM

    Comment #26

    Milos krasic on a free- I would streak through eldon sqaure starkers if that happned


    Apr 7, 2010 at 10:45 PM

    Comment #27

    Will that be in winter time Geordie-Gerrard7 ha ha

  • Turkish Magpie

    Apr 7, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    Comment #28

    comment 19- I would take any of them except the goalkeepers and the 1’s over 28, we have seen that we have seen that apparantly the youth is the future (which i 100% agree with) and that there’s no room for any ‘oldies’ keeping the club down and we also know that signing any goalkeepers would just hinder the progress of all our clubs brilliant up and coming keepers!

  • listie

    Apr 7, 2010 at 11:09 PM

    Comment #29

    The youth policy is a great idea, as long as they get playing time, look at Ranger, need more playing time. Even Wenger has admitted he needs to buy, so a mix of the 2 will work

  • Turkish Magpie

    Apr 7, 2010 at 11:10 PM

    Comment #30

    Here’s some players i would like to see

    Sebastian Larsson- RB/RW (free)

    Tuncay Sanli- CAM/ST (3-5 mil)

    David Nugent- CF (2.5 mil)

    Stephen Hunt- Winger (5mil)

    Nadir Belhadj- RB/LB (2.5 mil)

    Jermaine beckford- ST (but only if he’s Free)

    I think we could get all of those players for 15mil altogether. I think that would definatley keep us up and along with the additions of a few more youngsters we’d be more than ok

    So if thats what we spend to stay up then the youngsters we signed when we 1st started this youth policy will begin to reach there full potential and they should be getting constant 1st team games but i beleive they need to be loaned out for next season (eg Kadar, Krul, Ranger, Vuckic etc)

  • Tom Mo.

    Apr 7, 2010 at 11:11 PM

    Comment #31

    Arjen Robben, Eto’o, Sneijder, Maicon


    Apr 7, 2010 at 11:17 PM

    Comment #32

    Turkish Magpie understand what ya mean mate, put the older 1s on just cause they were free, would not offer more than a year contract for the older 1s maybe 1 or 2 might be able to do a job for the season, til we got a foothold in the prem.Understand what ya mean about the goalies just put them on cause they cost nowt.

  • Tom4Nufc

    Apr 7, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    Comment #33

    Add C.Ronaldo, Messi, Sergio Ramos and your not to far off their! 😉

  • BruneiToooN

    Apr 7, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    Comment #34

    when is the last time we played a 16 years old players week in week out (well maybe last 30 mins every match at least)

    Rooney start playing when he is 16
    Messi start playing when he is 16
    Fabregas start playing when he is 16

  • Tom4Nufc

    Apr 7, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    Comment #35

    I think that with free transfers and a few sensible 4-6m signings we can do well, 12-8th though maybe I am being too optimistic! I don’t think we should be spending 15m on a player YET, build up like Villa I say as well as using our youth system!

  • baro

    Apr 8, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    Comment #36
  • mylestoon

    Apr 8, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    Comment #37

    baro – Thats a right laff! Hes too old now either way.

    Wouldn’t mind seeing O’hara, good set piece taker.

    Andrew Driver might be worth a punt

    Kris Boyd on a free would be a good call as well as albin

    Would be good to spend the majority of a transfer kitty on a quality striker because they dont come cheap!

    Maybe doyle or keane.

    A right back would be a good call, hutton?

  • AlanSmith.

    Apr 8, 2010 at 1:12 AM

    Comment #38

    Ed, agree youth systems are the way forward. and for many clubs [everton, man city] it would be the perfect time to be buying youngsters. but for us it is the wrong time.

    Im very happy that mike ashley has started to invest in the youth and scouting systems at newcastle. but this is a very very important time for newcastle united.

    this summer will determine whether we are a premier league club for the next 5-10 seasons or become a yo-yo club.

    Sure players like vuckic, kadar, forster, ranger will be good premiership players in 2-4 years time, but we need to focus ALL of our resources on staying in the premier league for the next 2-3 years!! theres no point all the hard work the players and staff have put in to get us back to the premiership if all were going to do is by players for the future.

    in my opinion we have to spend 15-40 million this summer on about 4-7 well thought out buys like williamson and routledge, that are young but have enough quality to achieve our goals. this 15-40 million spend wont be every season as in the summer of 2011 we will hopefully have a strong premier league side due to the heavy investment this summer.

    By 2011, players like guthrie and carroll maybe even ranger will have matured and will come through to compliment the investment of this summer. then we can begin focusing say 40% of our resources on youth and 60% on first team players. [these percentages to differ from year to year, depending on previous season outcome]

    of course i realise that there is going to be a balancing act on do we spend this summer, and increase the wage bill at the risk of needing to reduce it if we go down next season. but i feel that we have to invest and aim to finish top half. this may be an unrealistic target, but if we aim for it and miss it by 4-8 points then thats only 2/3 places and we still finish 10/13th which im sure many people will be happy with next year.

    wheras if we aim just for premier league survival and spend little just in case. we run a risk of being in a relegation battle from start to finish. which in the long run will cost the club more!!

  • Tom Mo.

    Apr 8, 2010 at 2:07 AM

    Comment #39

    when do we get to see the official new kits???

  • Widowmaker

    Apr 8, 2010 at 5:08 AM

    Comment #40

    I don’t have any problem with buying young talents, but yes, I am against the current model.

    The timing that we had sold Milner is a big big indication how different our current model is different from Barca and Arsenal’s.


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