A signature of Arsene Wenger’s recruitment was not only buying young, talented players but also focusing what was between the ears.
Wenger wound look to bring in youngsters who were intelligent and keen to learn.
You can have all the talent in the world, but if you are not interested in listening to coaches, following instruction, learning, you will not develop.
Bukayo Saka would have been a perfect recruit for Wenger. And he is the mould of player we need to be recruiting to improve the side.
Saka is an intelligent kid. Straight A student. He is a keen student of the game.
You get the feeling he is one of those that would sit at the front of the class. Always attentive. Always listening. Wanting to learn.
He is also a very humble kid.
You never see him involved in high-jinks or believing himself to be above his station. He does not really have much of a social media presence. None of those silly tweets we see others do.
You get the feeling Emile Smith Rowe is cut from a similar cloth.
Compare the pair to Matteo Guendouzi.
Trouble has followed Guendouzi everywhere he has gone.
He reportedly struggles to follow instruction and has a bit of an ego. An attitude.
If Saka was sat at the front of the class, Guendouzi was at the back. The class joker. Making fart noises when the teacher bent over.
Guendouzi’s school report would be “has the ability but lacks focus.”
Where Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba fit in I do not know.
When it comes to young players, their willingness to learn is just as equal as their natural ability.
For many, it is their natural ability that got them through the academy system. But those players that make it the very top – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas – have the intelligence and work ethic alongside natural ability.
More players like Saka, less like Guendouzi and we will be in a good place.