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Can Alex Iwobi Reignite His Arsenal Career Under Unai Emery With A Fresh Contract?

Iwobi on Emery

Arsenal’s academy is known to mould young, talented rookies into great prospects, given their timely introduction to competitive football at the right age. In late 80s George Graham had given this chance to likes of young Paul Merson, Michael Thomas and David Rocastle, and now Alex Iwobi, Emile Smith-Rowe and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are set to take their shots.

The Gunners’ Hale End Academy graduate Iwobi was awarded his debut at the tender age of 19 in a forgettable League Cup defeat against Sheffield Wednesday. The Nigerian returned Arsene Wenger’s trust with his fine performances in 3rd and 4th round of 2015/16 FA Cup outings and also impressed in a start against Barcelona away at Camp Nou.

Iwobi’s performances then earned him a Premier League start against Everton in March of 2016. Soon, the forward scored in his first two Premier League starts against Everton and Watford.

Here’s a look at Alex Iwobi’s Premier League Statistics 

Appearances

        65

Goals

     8

Wins

32

Losses

20

 

ATTACK TEAM PLAY
Goals

8

Assists

10

Goals per game

0.12

Passes

2401

Shots

99

Passes/game

36.49

Shots on Target

41

Big chances created

11

Shooting Accuracy

41%

Crosses

46

Hit Woodwork

2

Cross Accuracy

15

Big Chances Missed

4

Through Balls

21

Free Cicks Scored

0

Accurate long Balls

53

(source: Premier League)

Since then, Alex Iwobi has been regular member of Arsenal senior setup and gone on to represent Nigeria 21 times, won the 2016/17 FA Cup and also played a crucial role in Nigeria’s World cup qualification, but could not progress beyond Group stages.

The young winger has now has returned to pre-season training after a short vacation following the World Cup campaign.

As all footballers see great crests of their careers but also hit the troughs with no time due to loss of form and other surrounding factors, Alex Iwobi has also experienced this bitter reality very early in his career. The wideman’s development has plateaued since the last campaign due to loss of form, change of formations and the negative environment surrounding the Emirates.

Furthermore, with the departure of the legendary Arsene Wenger, Unai Emery is the silver lining on the dark clouds for Iwobi. Emery answered questions positively in a pre-match interview against PSG on Singapore tour about the youngster’s contract situation amid European interest from Italian side Lazio. Emery was looking confident almost confirming the Nigerian international’s extension in North London.

“I have the information – he’s near,” the gaffer said.

Mesut, Elneny and Alex Iwobi are working with us – my first impression is very good. My information is he will sign to stay with us.”

The Spaniard is a tact analyser who develops and entrusts the youth with responsibility, which we have already seen with his liking and contract extension of Calum Chambers. Iwobi is also one player which the new boss seems be looking forward to working at Arsenal.

On the other hand, details surrounding the news say it’s a 5-year contract to keep the young prospect in London till 2023. This suggests that not just the former Sevilla boss, but the individuals in upper hierarchy have identified the club’s future with Iwobi in it.

The winger returned late to the pre-season preparations with Mesut Ozil and Mohamed Elneny, featuring in starting line-up of second game on Singapore Tour against PSG which the Londoners won handsomely 5-1.

The statistics mentioned previously have a certain scope of improvement making Alex Iwobi a better player under the new head coach, where he crosses and passes more accurately and also become more clinical in front of goal. Only time will tell whether Emery would like to develop him into a quality winger if they fail to sign one before the Transfer- deadline day.

The 22-year-old has already made 98 appearances for Arsenal, including 26 in the Premier League last season. Handing a new deal to the midfielder, Emery’s side would make a crucial decision of tying their top young talent for a long term.

Though it’ll still be a while before the fans start to sing the name of “Alex Iwobi” once again, there is still a lot of hope and potential in the young winger. [ajax_load_more post_type=”post” posts_per_page=”2″ category=”arsenal” max_pages=”2″]

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