Three Arsenal Youngsters Who Could Make It To The Senior Team This Season
Arsenal, under Arsene Wenger, have been well known for blooding youngsters coming through the ranks at the club’s academy. The likes of Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere, Hector Bellerin and more recently Alex Iwobi, broke through to the first team at a young age and went on to become an important part of the team’s structure, under the Frenchman’s guidance.
With the Gunners plying their trade in the UEFA Europa League next season, it is very much likely that Wenger will rotate his players around more than usual and may give some of the fresh batch of youngsters a break in the first team. And here are three youngsters that are the best placed to have a breakthrough year at the Emirates next season.
One of the most highly-rated players in the Arsenal youth setup, the 17-year old Nelson has been with the Gunners’ academy since 2008. Always playing at an age group higher than his level, the Englishman has been showcasing his abilities for a long time now and signed his first professional contract with the club in December last year.
The 17-year old is an exciting attacking midfielder, but can also play with equal comfort down the flanks as well. Nelson possesses great pace and solid dribbling abilities too. Last season, he managed 12 goals and 6 assists in 27 games for the youth sides. He was given a chance to impress in the Gunners’ pre-season friendly against Sydney FC earlier this month and he shone brightly, with Wenger admitting he has a chance of breaking into his plans next season.
The 18-year old forward has often drawn comparisons to Arsenal legend Thierry Henry and it isn’t hard to fathom why, if one takes a look at his exploits with the youth teams, after he joined Arsenal at the age of 14, from Chelsea.
Having showcased his abilities across various age groups, he was given a chance to perform for the U-23s last season and he made the opportunity count in style. He finished the 16/17 campaign with an exceptional tally of 28 goals in all competitions, with fans demanding for him to be included in the first-team at the earliest.
Part of the pre-season tour in Australia, Nketiah hit the woodwork twice in two games against Sydney FC and the Sydney Wanderers, and has garnered praise from all quarters. Quick, agile and clinical in front of goal, Nketiah has proven to be a prolific goal-scorer at youth levels and is surely on the brink of breaking into the first-team come the next campaign.
The oldest among the players on the list, the 21-year old Cohen Bramall was signed by Arsenal only in January this year from non-league club Hednesford.
Bramall made 9 appearances for the U23 side in the Premier League 2, scoring once and setting up 3 goals. After impressing heavily for the North Londoners’ U23 setup last season, he too was included in the squad for the pre-season tour. Possessing devastating pace, Bramall grew up playing as a winger or even as a forward occasionally, but adapted to the left-back role brilliantly at Hednesford and has grown into the role very well.
With Kieran Gibbs set for an exit and Nacho Monreal predominantly playing as a left-sided centre-half in Wenger’s three-man defence, there are good chances that Bramall could be set for his official senior team debut soon.