In years gone by it has been difficult to know exactly what Arsenal’s recruitment policy has been.
In trying to build squads under three different coaches the Gunners have oscillated between scout-focused, stat-driven and contacts-led approaches to name but a few in recent transfer windows with none having the desired effect.
With the seeming apathy of owners Stan and Josh Kroenke to the club’s fortunes the lack of direction in terms of what kind of squad they were trying to create at the Emirates saw Arsenal begin to decline.
It was for this reason in the summer of 2019 that Edu Gaspar was appointed as the club’s technical direction.
“Edu will coordinate the work of our first-team coaching group, the academy and player scouting and recruitment in order to oversee the constant building up and efficient strengthening of our squad,” read an official statement from the Gunners explaining what the Invincible’s job description entailed.
Since then it has not exactly been smooth sailing for the Brazilian.
The signing of Willian will forever be held as a black mark against his record in North London, while the decision to overhaul the scouting department and dismiss the long-serving Francis Cagigao certainly raised a few eyebrows.
But in recent seasons Edu’s approach to contract negotiations has at least seen a clear pattern develop in relation to the type of squad he is trying to create at the Emirates.
Over the past 12 months youngsters Gabriel Martinelli, Folarin Balogun and Bukayo Saka have all committed their long-term futures to the club indicating the significant emphasis on youth Arsenal’s technical director wants to put into the squad.
Now it seems as though that policy is set to continue.
Amid interest from Aston Villa Arsenal have chosen to rebuff not one but two bids for Emile Smith Rowe.
Admittedly those bids were valued at an almost insultingly low £25m and £30m respectively, making them far easier to turn down, but Meziesblog understands the Gunners are still confident of convincing the England under-21 international to stay in North London.
Their desire to hold onto arguably their brightest young talent is indicative of the project Edu has embarked upon in at the Emirates.
While not an inexperienced youngster or a Hale Ender the announcement of a five year extension for Kieran Tierney last week also indicates that the Brazilian is seeking to build the current squad with the future in mind.
Of course not every decision can be made with the long term in mind and short term success is imperative.
When talking to his fellow Invincible Gilberto Silva, Edu admitted that his role as technical director was ‘finding the balance in squad building between very short, medium and long-term periods.’
His willingness to act in the immediate interest of the Arsenal squad can be seen in the willingness to renew the contract of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the start of last season despite the fact that the Gabon forward was the wrong side of 30.
But on the whole a clear pattern is emerging with the kind of age profile the Gunners want to build around going forward and their decision on Emile Smith Rowe is yet another step in this direction.