The Arsenal academy is considered as one of the best footballing academies in England, and rightly so. The Arsenal academy graduates have proven to be world class footballers, whether at the Emirates or somewhere else.
Players like Jack Wilshere, Alex Iwobi, Hector Bellerin, Wojciech Szczesny, Serge Gnabry, and Ashley Cole – all of them are superb footballing talents who graduated from the Arsenal academy.
Arsenal’s squad are severely lacking in talent, which was dangerously exposed during this season. Several first team players are expected to leave Arsenal this summer, like Skhodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny. On top of that, Arsenal have a severely crippled transfer budget for this season, and this leaves them in a tricky situation.
Arsenal are in dire need of players, and don’t have enough money to sign them all. One simple solution to this problem could be right in their hands already. There are some extremely talented Arsenal academy graduates playing for their youth teams, some of whom debuted for the first team in last season.
Giving them the nod for the senior team may allow the club to save millions on transfers. Arsedevils takes a look at the Arsenal academy graduates that the Gunners need to promote to the first team this season.
1. Reiss Nelson
Reiss Nelson is the player who is expected to feature extensively in the Arsenal team next season, having starred for Hoffenheim in Bundesliga. The young winger started the season on fire, with six goals in his first seven league matches.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) June 15, 2019
He also provided assists in the only two games during that period when he did not score. His brilliant first half of the season faded away, partly due to injuries and he lost his place in the first team. However, Nelson showed that he has enough talent to rejuvenate the Arsenal attack.
The team lacks options down the right flank, often relying on Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Mesut Ozil, neither of whom are natural wingers. In this situation, Nelson may slot right into the first team, and Unai Emery will hope that the bullet-paced winger grabs this chance with both hands.
2. Eddie Nketiah
Nketiah has been on Arsenal’s first team picture for a long time, with the striker registering his first Premier League goal last season, 18 months after scoring his first professional goal in the EFL cup. However, he has never been given a run in the first team that he so clearly deserves, by any head coaches, Unai Emery included. Emery blocked a January loan move to Augsburg and that shows that he has faith in the striker.
With Danny Welbeck being released, the spot for a third striker is opening up, and it is up to the Arsenal management to give this talented 20-year-old striker the chance to play back-up to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
3. Emiliano Martinez
It seems forever since Martinez signed for the Arsenal youth team from Independiente, and yet the goalkeeper has managed only six appearances for the Gunner’s first team. He has been sent on six successive loans, never quite enjoying the breakthrough. However, his mid-season loan move to Reading proved to be a fortune changer and his brilliant performances in his team’s race against the drop has impressed the Arsenal fans.
With Petr Cech retired and David Ospina likely to be sold, the spot for a back-up keeper has opened up. Martinez recently admitted that while his dream was to play for Arsenal, he will consider an exit if he is not given the opportunity to compete for the number one goalkeeping spot. Unai Emery will need to give him a run in the cup games to satisfy his game time demand and Arsenal may end up with a very capable keeper in their books.
4. Emile Smith Rowe
The 18-year-old midfielder had a disappointing season on loan at RB Leipzig due to injury problems. However, the Gunners management has been impressed with the player as has been the management at the Bundesliga club.
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RB Leipzig staff have been impressed with Rowe’s performance in training, and was reportedly interested in bringing him back on loan. However, Arsenal have so far made their intentions clear that they want Rowe in the Emirates for the next season, especially with the midfield looking shaky after the departures of Aaron Ramsey and Denis Suarez, and the imminent exit of Mesut Ozil.
The young midfielder is far from finished product and will need time to adapt into the first team picture, but is one of the most promising Arsenal academy graduates. However, if Unai Emery can give him enough chances and allow him to develop, he might prove to be an asset for the Gunners.
5. Joe Willock
Arguably Unai Emery’s most liked among the Arsenal academy graduates, the midfielder impressed the Gunners faithful with his performance in the Europa League final defeat to Chelsea. Arsenal fans even claimed that “he’s better than Ozil”.
He is most likely to be promoted to the first team as a Plan B in the middle of the park. Having already made five appearances for Arsenal last season, he would be looking forward to feature more for the first team.
His style of play will also suit the team, with his bursting runs from the midfield something that Unai Emery likes, as shown by his preference of a Granit Xhaka-Lucas Torreira midfield partnership. Willock will slot into that position with ease, and Gunners fans will be hoping to see some more positive performances from the 20-year-old.