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ANYWHERE AS LONG AS IT’S WAY PAST Dover seems to have become the recruitment policy of Arsène Wenger. The Arsenal manager was condemned widely after the club became the first in the history of English football to field a starting line-up and five substitutes comprised of overseas players when they beat Crystal Palace 5-1 at Highbury a fortnight ago.Yet in an ironic twist, traditional breeding grounds such as Dalston, Stoke Newington and Walthamstow are back in vogue. Arsenal are now seeking previously untapped talent — young asylum-seekers. Fabrice Muamba, 17, is at the vanguard a new wave of “home-grown” footballers. Muamba, the son of a former political refugee, has overcome a life of trauma and tragedy to become another emerging star to roll off Arsenal’s cosmopolitan production line.

It has not just been the club’s transfer policy that has seen the Arsenal squad fill with foreign players. In recent years the net has been cast far and wide to land the best teenagers from abroad and integrate them into their academy.

The most outstanding example is Francesc Fàbregas, lured from Barcelona 18 months ago as soon as he was eligible to sign professional forms. Philippe Senderos, the centre half from Switzerland, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, the Dutch winger, and Arturo Lupoli, the Italian forward, are three other academy graduates on the brink of a breakthrough.

Now the club have identified a pool of foreign talent living on their doorstep, the backstreets of North London, after the remarkable rise of Muamba, a midfield player. Five years ago he arrived in London to join his family who had been forced to flee the Democratic Republic of Congo in fear of their lives. Last month Muamba played for the England Under-17 team in a friendly tournament featuring Portugal, France and Norway on the Algarve in preparation for the European Youth Championship this summer.

The youngsters that Arsenal are keeping their eyes on are not just from Africa but the Balkan countries and other nations that have suffered political turmoil. Liam Brady, the Arsenal academy director, said: “At the moment in London there are hell of a lot of talented kids who are asylum kids. It won’t be long before you see them in the first teams, especially of London clubs. (Muamba’s) development in such a short space of time is remarkable.”

Muamba, who now possesses a British passport, is a midfield marauder in the mould of Patrick Vieira, his role model. John Peacock, the England Under-17 coach, believes that Muamba could progress through the international ranks. “Of course Fabrice still has a long way to go but he’s already played for us a couple of times and done well,” Peacock said. “He has a presence about him but most importantly he has a very good temperament and he is hungry. He’s always got a smile on his face.”

Little wonder that Muamba is enjoying life as he seeks to make his mark in the game given the tragedy that has surrounded his family. Marcel, his father, was forced to leave Congo, formerly Zaire, in 1994 because of his political beliefs. After several years fighting his case and being forced to live in detention centres, he was granted indefinite leave to stay in this country.

His brother was not so fortunate. Ilunga Muamba, Fabrice’s uncle, was killed because of his political activities. Eventually, though, Fabrice was reunited with his father, travelling to England with his mother and soon set about making his mark. Despite being such a late starter, he made an instant impact in schools football in Waltham Forest, northeast London, before being snapped up by Arsenal two years ago ahead of Wimbledon, who had also expressed an interest.

Marcel Muamba said: “I am so proud of Fabrice. Our family suffered so much after I had to leave our country just because of my political views. It was hard for him when he was young. Being apart, I was always worried about him, but he now has the chance to fulfil his dream and become a top player.”
 

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oh yes we only just started scouting in North London, Bothroyd, Julian Gray, Ricketts, Halls and the rest were all found in Southern Europe. :rolleyes:
 

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im surprised there arent more morrocan footballers..if asylum kids are anything to go buy, just take a trip to north london and some of the skills these morrocan kids have is impressive..


bit off topic i know, but what u gonna do about it, huh
 

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Xtratime's Head of Humour 2007
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*OZ* said:
im surprised there arent more morrocan footballers..if asylum kids are anything to go buy, just take a trip to north london and some of the skills these morrocan kids have is impressive..


bit off topic i know, but what u gonna do about it, huh
under Brady's tutulage Morrocco will be win the next World Cup with a whole squad of Arsenal trained players. :eekani:
 
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