Believe it or not, the other week we signed someone and it wasn't from Manchester United, nor was it David Vaughan of Blackpool, but actually from Arsenal. A 19 year old winger-come-striker called Roarie Deacon.
We had Roarie on trial a while back along with another former Young Gun called Jason Banton, although Banton must not have done enough to make the grade, where as Deacon has been rewarded with a 1-year contract at SAFC.
Prior to his signing I knew nothing of him, and to be honest, I still know very little, but I've attempted to cobble together what info I can find into an article and here it is for your consideration...Roarie Deacon, a 19-year old forward born in London in the autumn of 1991, has indeed made his way up to the Stadium of Light to join up predominantly as a reserve team player for next season.
Deacon made his breakthrough at Arsenal aged just 16 for Arsenal's U18 team, under the mentoring of former SAFC favourite Steve Bould. Bould will have been mightily impressed with Deacon's contribution to the U18 team having hit four goals in his first four games at the level, and rightly called up to the Arsenal reserve team later in the year.
With glowing reports week upon week handed to Arsene Wenger, rumors were that he would get some first team action in the Arsenal's other youth breeding ground, the League Cup, however it was not to be.
Arsenal observers scratched their heads at this one, as Deacons seemed to have all the attributes neccesary for a top player. Pace in abundance, confidence, tall, athletic, and perhaps most importantly of all - two footed.
A more cynical commentor on the excellent Young Guns Blog suggested that Wenger ignored Deacon due to the fact he wasn't signed from some no-mark French 2nd Division Team... I find it hard to disagree.
Although its worth remembering Arsene Wenger and Steve Bruce have a good relationship, and perhaps Le Prof said to young Roarie that moving to SAFC would be good for him as opposed to dropping to the Championship or lower and playing more often. I don't know, that's just speculation, but Wenger did allow Bruce to develop Sebastian Larsson & Nicklas Bendtner at Birminghm City, and also pointed Bruce towards a young Wilson Palacios who didn't make the grade whilst on trial at Arsenal, but turned into a star for Wigan Athletic.
Roarie was called into U19 duty for England, playing three games and scoring two goals. In a game gainst Holland in 2010 he also played alongside our very own Ryan Noble in attack, so at least there's one familar face in the North East for him.
Deacon's most recent action for Arsenal came at the 2011 Dallas Cup. He was included in a strong Arsenal squad for the reknown youth tournament, and didn't disappoint as he was a starter for most games, and found the back of the net. Over in the States he played as part of an attacking three behind Luke Freeman, occasional swapping places with the striker to become the lead man up front, Arshavin-esque.
Deacon has spent most of his playing career on the wing, with occasional cameo's in attack. From what I've heard around the blogosphere, this indecision on where to play him could have been what cost him his Arsenal future. They saw him on the wing, he saw himself as a striker. Regardless of where he thinks he is best deployed, he certainly seems suited to the 4-3-3/4-5-1 which Kevin Ball often used in youth team games, and Keith Bertschin also did in reserve games. Now with our abundance of attack minded midfielders (and possibly more to come) it seems Steve Bruce is following suit. So whichever level Deacon finds himself playing next season, he should be a decent fit.
Nobody will be expecting Deacon to become our savior, nor will we be expecting him to become a world class player overnight, but he could become in time a useful addition to the squad, akin to how we snapped up Billy Knott from Chelsea. One mans rubbish is another mans gold. We're going to be keeping our eye on Deacon's development, and maybe, just maybe he'll become a star turn. With a 1-year deal, there's very little to lose from our side of things.