Arsenal

Wenger & Mancini Will Clash Over Academy Asset

Let battle commence. Arsene Wenger looks set to go head to head with Roberto Mancini over Watford Academy’s Tommie Hoban.

The 17 year old defender has caught the eye of both managers despite having only made one appearance for Watford’s senior team whilst still a first year academy scholar. But it’s the Irishman’s performances for the Republic of Ireland that have attracted the attention of the Premiership’s top clubs.

Youth development is fast becoming a primary objective for top flight clubs. The recent increases in transfer fees and wages have forced clubs to review their youth systems and keep tabs on young aspiring players such as Hoban. With the Irish international showing fantastic potential, Hoban is certainly going to cause quite a bidding war between the title rivals. However, Hoban was once on Arsenals books letting him go in 2009. This would seem to favour the Arsenal boss so long as Hoban doesn’t have any ill-feelings towards his former club for letting him go.

Mancini appears to now be concentrating on sustaining the clubs success for the long term. City unveiled their impressive multi-million pound training facility and youth academy last month which signals the clubs intent to build successful teams for the future rather than spending ridiculous amounts of money. Praise where it is due then to the club for trying to shake off the public’s current perception of the club being simply money exhibitionists trying desperately to buy silverware. And their tracking of Hoban reveals that the club is eager to get cracking along this path.

Watford have expressed that no approaches for the central defender have been made with the player reportedly having signed a lengthy professional contract following his first team debut at the end of last season. With Hoban now into his second year at the Watford Academy, the Hornets are keeping the player under close guard sending out a reminder that he is still classed by them as an Academy player. Hoban is currently on international duty with Republic of Ireland under-19s with all the intentions of putting in more solid performances to impress.

This story will unquestionably continue to develop as the transfer window draws ever closer so it will remain to be seen which club will come out on top. Mancini may be eager to fill his new training facility with budding young talent but Wenger will feel that Hoban can fit straight into his squad and another special youngster could just be what Arsenal need to revitalize their floundering sense of direction.

Could Mancini be set to lose a very significant battle with Wenger? Are they right to cause a bidding war for an academy scholar? Is this really the route to go down to concentrate on building a sustainable youth system?

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