Position: Centre Back
Date of Birth: May 22nd 1991
Place of Birth: Manchester, England
Previous Club(s): Bolton Wanderers
Bartley, like so many youngsters, joined a big club from a smaller club, leaving the club which developed him in a rage. Bolton were not happy at Bartley’s decision to leave for Arsenal before they were able to command a fee for the giant centre-back, but ultimately managed to get a deal worth upwards of £1m depending on Bartley’s development. Even then, that may appear to be scant consolation for losing one of their most treasured and highly-rated youngsters.
After an injury-hit first season, it looks like Bolton will make good on potential monies. Bartley is physicall imposing but sublimely talented. He takes everything in his stride, carrying out his tasks in an almost arrogant manner, as if it was too easy for him. He’s grown physically since joining Arsenal and at almost 6’6″ he is an absolute monster to overcome. He plays a mature game and doesn’t appear to have a notable weakness.
After his first pre-season at Arsenal he suffered a broken ankle on the eve of the 07/08 campaign, which kept him sidelines for three months and impaired his development further as he worked his way back. Appearances were limited, but nonetheless the club offered him professional terms when he turned 17 ahead of a new season. With Arsenal’s centre-backs ageing and Bartley’s considerable talent it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in the reckoning soon.
Back to full fitness, Bartley started his season in the Reserves up against Chelsea’s Didier Drogba. He dealt well with the big Ivorian striker and hasn’t looked back, putting in consistently impressive performances for a faltering Reserve side. Registration in Arsenal’s Champions League squad means little since every member of the second team received the same accolade, but in Bartley’s case he’ll most likely have deserved it.