Former Arsenal youngster Yunus Musah has NO regrets over swapping the Gunners for Valencia, insisting the Spanish club had an ‘EXCITING’ plan for him ahead of his side’s showdown with Barcelona this afternoon
Ex-Arsenal youngster Yunus Musah has no regrets over leaving to join Valencia
The teenager could feature in his side’s clash against Barcelona on Sunday
Musah, 19, has featured in 19 games for the Spanish side so far this season
By Pete Jenson for MailOnline
Published: 09:27 GMT, 20 February 2022 | Updated: 10:05 GMT, 20 February 2022
Yunus Musah has no regrets about leaving Arsenal for Valencia because it means he is involved in huge LaLiga games like today’s visit of Barcelona.
The Bronx-born midfielder has emerged as one of Valencia’s brightest young stars and the 19-year-old feels he made the right move when he left London three years ago, despite having seen other young players make the first team at Arsenal.
‘Every player wants to play and be important in the team,’ Musah says ahead of this afternoon’s game. ‘I’m really happy that [Bukayo] Saka and Emile [Smith Rowe] are playing in the first team at Arsenal but I felt Valencia had an exciting plan for me.’
Yunus Musah, 19, is enjoying life with Valencia and has no regrets over his Arsenal departure
The winger has made 19 appearances in LaLiga so far and is continuing to shine for Valencia
He has fond memories of the way senior Arsenal players served as an inspiration during his time at the club.
‘I started watching more football when I got into the Arsenal academy and I saw the likes of Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud and I wanted to emulate them.’ he says.
‘I started seeing players like Reiss Nelson in the academy and I wanted to be like them too. I saw these players at different levels ahead of me and it inspired me to take the next steps in my career.’
But he shocked many when he decided that that next step should be in Spain. It has proved not to have been a move backwards joining a club with a clear commitment to youth. Musah has played in 19 games this season despite not turning 20 until next November.
Musah is happy for Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, but insists Valencia is right for him
‘I had an injury earlier in the season but the manager has always put me on in games. He has shown a lot of faith in me. I am working hard and it’s paying off because I have even been trusted to start games now.’
Musah also paid tribute to his parents who moved first to the US, then to Castelfranco in Italy before arriving in London where Musah was spotted by Arsenal.
He said: ‘It’s important that you have a good family behind you stopping you from getting too ahead of yourself. Some families might think that you have already made it when you are still at the academy. My family kept me ground and made sure that I still did well at school.
He most recently played in the United States’ World Cup qualifier against El Salvador
‘Arsenal taught me a lot about being a better player and then at home they kept me on the right path doing the right thing.’
‘They definitely made a lot of sacrifices. My family did not come from the wealthiest parts. And my parents made life-changing decisions to go to America, Italy and England; and all to give their children a better life. I’m so grateful for that. Every day I try to implement the values they taught us in my life and in my football too.’
Musah is set to start on the bench against Barcelona but it’s clear he is favoured by Valencia coach Jose Bordalas who has already given him seven starts this season.
He sees his powerful running style is more suited to a central midfield role and Musah says: ‘He has helped take my game to another level. He has made sure that with my physical attributes I can tackle more and win the ball back more. And in an attacking sense he is encouraging me to run with the ball more and take more risks in the final third.’
Valencia are prepared to give youth a chance even if it means offloading experienced players
If Musah features this afternoon against Barcelona it will be further vindication of Valencia’s commitment to signing and developing young players and then letting them fly.
The club’s president Anil Murthy told Sportsmail that the club will continue to be unafraid of allowing established players to leave because it leaves space for younger ones to develop.
Murthy said: ‘This summer many clubs came in for our top players and in January they came for Goncalo Guedes but we decided not to sell because we put our sporting priorities first but I don’t think in today’s context the idea of holding on to players is the correct thing to do.
‘You have to look, not just at numbers, but also at rebalancing your squad. You know what new players are coming up and you have a squad limit of 25 and you need to sell to buy.
‘Don’t buy unless you can sell and sell when the time is right. That circulation of players is not an issue if you are investing properly in young players who can give you a high value in the future.’
Musah could feature as Valencia take on Xavi’s Barcelona in LaLiga on Sunday afternoon
Musah is one of those young players bought in and given room to grow. Next season Valencia could move on midfielder Carlos Soler and Musah’s role will be even more important.
For today he can content himself with having a part to play in stopping Xavi’s Barca. He was recently renewed until 2026 at Mestalla, and has established himself as US international. His club are in the Spanish Cup semi-finals and holding their own in La Liga.
No wonder he has no regrets about trying to fast-forward his career when he moved from Arsenal to Valencia three years ago.
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