Unai Emery has been appointed as the new Arsenal head coach, marking the end of Arsene Wenger’s 22-year reign. The Spanish coach, who was relieved of his duties at Paris Saint-Germain recently, surprised many by beating Mikel Arteta to the vacant post at the Emirates.
Despite being the front-runner for the managerial role for weeks, the Manchester City assistant coach fell short in the end.
With a fresh domestic treble in France and an unprecedented feat of three consecutive Europa League titles with Sevilla, Emery arrives at Arsenal with a certain pedigree.
However, there is much more to the Spaniard than the number of honours and trophies won. The former PSG boss is widely known for playing an attacking brand of football and placing his faith in the younger crop as the manager.
Let’s analyse what Emery’s arrival would mean for the exciting young trio of Alex Iwobi, Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
From being shortlisted for the European Golden boy award in 2016 to being an uninspiring substitute on the bench this season, Iwobi’s career has completed a full circle already.
Not so long ago, the Nigerian wonder-boy was touted to be the next big thing on the football scenes in England. However, what followed over the last 2 years hasn’t helped Iwobi much in realising his true potential.
Iwobi, who is 22 now, faces a crucial phase in his career where he either makes it as an important player at Arsenal or heads out on loan or permanently. Given the track record of Emery with young players, it’s almost certain that the winger will be given a chance to prove himself and challenge for a first-team place.
Iwobi has fallen down the pecking order at Arsenal with the likes of Mkhitaryan and Welbeck being preferred.
Arsenal haven’t had many players coming out of the academy in recent times, who have made the most of their chances on the big stage.
However, the upcoming Reiss Nelson has the coaching staff and the fans excited for good reasons. Recently crowned as the PL2 player of the season, Nelson would be closely observed by Emery.
Nelson is a silky winger, with a lot of flair. He can play on both the wings when needed. The English youngster will have to fight Iwobi and other big guns like Mkhitaryan for a place in the squad and no one should be surprised if Nelson is given a good run of games in domestic cup and Europa League fixtures.
Another Arsenal youngster who has shown lots of promise over the last two years is the ever-swift Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The highly-versatile footballer has been given chances in various positions but has failed to make a particular position his own. Niles has already been used as a left-back, a right-back and as a central midfielder so far.
One of Emery’s task at Arsenal would be to identify the best position for the talented youngster. Being a right-footed player with serious pace to burn, Niles looks good as a right wing-back.
Moreover, the lack of options at the right-back position might also entice Emery to train Niles for the same.