Andries Jonker has ordered Arsenal's scouting network to be on the lookout for young stars capable of emulating Barcelona legend Xavi.
The new head of Arsenal's academy succeeded Liam Brady in the summer and has gone about installing his own assessment on the famous Hale End training ground. A number of stars have emerged from Arsenal's academy, but Jonker insists wholesale changes need to be made.
Those changes start with the scouts, who must be sent across the globe to find the best young talent possible. Jonker has already told one scout exactly what type of player his is looking for.
Jonker told Voetbal International: "My chief scout at the academy, Steve Morrow, came and asked me what kind of players I wanted him to look for. So I said, the best player I have worked on, Xavi."
Arsenal have been hailed as one of the best producers of young talent in Arsene Wenger's 18 years in charge. However, recently the club have fallen short of their high standards. Currently only Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs have come through the set up while the likes of Isaac Hayden and Serge Gnabry are threatening to break through.
Arsenal have ambitions to become the best academy in the world, but for that to happen Jonker believes wholesale changes need to be made.
He continued: "The scouting must be restructured all over again. It needs to be brought to a level so that we can bring in the absolute best talents from abroad and from England at an age that Wenger can immediately work with them.
“Ivan Gazidis wants Arsenal to be the best academy in the world. He realises that will cost money and will take time, but that is his ambition.
“The scouting must be restructured all over again. It needs to be brought to a level so that we can bring in the absolute best talents from abroad and from England at an age that Wenger can immediately work with them.
"At this moment, considering the investments the club have made, players have hardly been developed properly. This is why they wanted me, a man who can guide the coaches and who can influence the other coaches."
One major obstacle for Jonker achieving his goals is to win the trust of Wenger. The Arsenal boss is famed for his totalitarian control of the club from the finances to the food.
Jonker confirmed that he rejected the chance to work with Wenger in 2012 but insists their relationship has been made stronger because of it. He says that although Wenger remains firmly involved with the academy, he is confident of gaining his trust and, therefore, more freedom.
“Almost every day Wenger and I go through a number of things. He is approachable, but I do have to show him what we are doing. We must not go behind his back.
“It is important that Wenger and I work closely together. What I do see is that everybody at the club has the feeling that they need to have the green light from Wenger before they do anything. But maybe that is not the case.
“I have a very good feeling about the way Wenger and I are working together. We both think the technical side of the game is very important.
“But there are a lot of things in the academy which can be improved or should be done different.”
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