Comparing Arsenal youngster Jeff Reine-Adelaide to the French superstar Paul Pogba and building him up above the rest of his age may seem unfair and quite a bold statement – considering the level of young talent at Arsenal.
However, Reine-Adelaide showed his ability and potential in the Emirates Cup against the French Ligue 1 runners up Lyon and newly crowned German Super Cup winners Wolfsburg.
Those, who watched him play in the tournament may recall how the young Arsenal star dazzled his opponents and arguably overshadowed last season’s Bundesliga player-of-the-year, Kevin de Bruyne; though it was only a friendly.
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His style of play
Adelaide is only 17-years-old but plays with the vision of someone ten years his senior. Standing at 6ft, he’s quite a physical lad yet still very technically gifted and very intelligent on the ball.
As he showed against Wolfsburg, he shields the ball exceptionally well and is very difficult to tackle. His nimble footwork allows him to operate in small spaces, and he already has the confidence to play as manager Arsene Wenger instructs his midfielders to do.
Never passing the ball backwards if there are options ahead. Furthermore, Adelaide is comfortable using both feet and impressed featuring on the wings for Arsenal despite his preference of a more central position.
Time will tell if he’s the real deal
Jeff Reine Adelaide may be a name to remember in the future, and he appears to be on a higher level than his fellow youngsters at Arsenal.
In addition, Wenger confirmed that Adelaide would not be loaned out, which will give him time to settle into the club and England as well. Watching him play was a bit like watching Pogba some years back.
There is no doubt that Adelaide has chosen one of the best clubs in the world to progress along with a manager renowned for giving youngsters their chance in a highly competitive business.
Wenger knows how to nurture young talent, but Adelaide will have to do a lot of work on his own and the fitness staff must prepare him physically in order to step up.
Former Arsenal player Abou Diaby left the club after nine injury-plagued years, which ruined what could have been an outstanding career. Jack Wilshere also looked the real deal at 17, but injuries have halted his progression causing people to doubt whether he will ever fulfil his potential.
Therefore, Arsenal must shield Adelaide and make his transition from youth to senior as smooth as possible, and Adelaide himself must keep his feet on the ground and wait for his chance. The last thing Arsenal would want is a Sterling saga.