Arsenal have made headlines for their impressive rebuild and start to the 2022/23 Premier League season.
Mikel Arteta has successfully trimmed the squad of deadwood and re-energised it with younger, fresh faces, all while establishing a more dominant and effective style of play over the last few seasons.
They look set for an exciting campaign in what is sure to be an entertaining season of football, but who in the Premier League is fielding the most youthful squad of all?
In an era where value for money in the transfer market is extremely hard to come by, forging success with youthful squads that are also futureproof is the ideal blueprint to follow.
It’s not easy, though, or else simply every club would do it.
Striking the balance between crafting a squad set up to dominate here and now, and putting the pieces in place to ensure future success is a difficult task. Not only does it require money, it requires time, thorough scouting and a solid youth academy.
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But when done right, boy does it pay off. Fans love a youth success story, and it’s been proven time and again that you actually can win with kids, contrary to Alan Hansen’s infamous statement in 1995.
Let’s take a look at how the clubs rank in average age.
It’s Arsenal who top the table in this case, with an average starting XI age of just 24.6 years old.
Considering all they’ve been through already in narrowly missing out for the top four last season and constantly facing scrutiny from others, the Gunners’ young squad is probably already wise beyond its years, too. Watching them develop through the season will be brilliant.
A surprising mixture of clubs fill out the rest of the top eight, with Frank Lampard’s Everton sat in fourth and Jesse Marsch’s Leeds in fifth – refreshing their squads with younger talents will hopefully pay dividends in trying to jump up the league table this season.
Manchester United and Tottenham occupy firm mid-table spots. United have just began another rebuild under Erik ten Hag, but could call on youth as the season goes on, while Tottenham have gone all in with Antonio Conte – expect them to drop further down the standings the longer he stays at the club.
Down at the opposite end and perhaps surprising a few is Liverpool, who have the highest average starting lineup age in the Premier League at 29.4.
While it is a shock on the surface, the timeline makes sense, with the extraordinary project that Jurgen Klopp has put together over the years having come to the peak of its powers.
We’ve seen the best of Roberto Firmino (30), Jordan Henderson (32) and others, and while the likes of Mohamed Salah (30), Virgil van Dijk (31) and Alisson (29) continue to prove pivotal, it’s clear to see that this is a squad that is set to undergo a refresh in the coming seasons.
Signings such as Darwin Nunez (23) and Fabio Carvalho (19) show that the Reds have their finger on the pulse, though, and are beginning to replenish their squad.
Chelsea sit second bottom with an average age of 28.8, and last season’s Premier League winners Manchester City sit 14th with an average age of 27.5. A rebuild also appears to be underway at the Etihad stadium, with Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez – both 22 – joining this summer to bolster their attacking options.
What is impressive, however, is that no Premier League club is sitting at an average of 30 or above, which highlights how carefully clubs are considering the importance of younger squads in the English top flight.
It will be seriously fascinating to see how those with younger average starting lineups perform over the course of the season compared to those with older average ages, particularly the likes of Everton, Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Leeds, as they battle to stay in the Premier League with younger squads.