Two more youngsters have left Arsenal in the last 24 hours – further underlining their value to the Arsenal squad.
Nacer Barazite, who may have had more first team games under his belt but for a cruel dislocation in his second appearance, against Blackburn Rovers in the Carling Cup last season, has joined Derby County until the end of the year.
I think Barazite is just the sort of inventive player Arsene Wenger admires. Although he may lack a little pace, he has a typically astute Dutch brain and his record of 18 goals for reserves and youth last season is pretty impressive.
Havard Nordtveit, captain of the Reserves last season but hampered by injury, looks to me to be the player most likely to force his way into the centre of the Arsenal defence in years to come.
With the aerial power of Tony Adams and the passing ability of Kolo Toure, he impressed in pre-season and I’m not surprised he’s been sent to Salamanca in Spain to finish his pre-first team education.
If Carlos Vela’s experience is anything to go by, Nordtveit will come back ready for the rough and tumble of the Premiership – and that can only be a good thing.
Of course, there is a flip side. Fran Merida, tipped to be the next Cesc Fabregas, has hardly had a look-in this year since returning from a loan spell at Real Sociedad last season.
Merida played against Boreham Wood last week and admitted that the experience of playing in the first team hardened him up – but with Jack Wilshere moving ahead of him in the pecking order, I wonder if that suggests Merida has yet to do enough to convince Wenger of his worth, despite being labelled as “an absolutely amazing talent” by Le Boss last season.
I expect to see Barazite in the Arsenal first team, if only making a cameo, before the end of the season unless his loan is extended - but it would be nice to see Merida take the pressure off the established playmakers as well.