Ever since taking over as manager of Arsenal 18 years ago, Arsene Wenger has made the development of young players at the club one of his main priorities. And it has paid off a number of times with players like Fabregas and Wilshere, while it has also given the Gunners and Wenger a great reputation.
Now the man in charge of the academy system is the Dutchman Andries Jonker, who worked under the Man United manager Louis van Gaal at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. He was brought in after Liam Brady decided to retire and Jonkers is charged with bringing out youth development in line with other countries in Europe like Holland and Spain, where they are years ahead of England. He is rated as one of the best in the world and so we can look forward to great things from him.
But looking at the current academy teams, both under 21s and under 18s, the Gunners could soon have some more quality youngsters breaking through. There are the two defenders who played against Southampton last night, Hayden and Bellerin, along with midfield talent like Zelalem, Olsson and Crowley. But is is up front where I think the next real star might emerge.
Benik Afobe is going goal mad in his season long loan deal at MK Dons, scoring both of their goals as they progressed to the 4th round of the cup. That makes nine goals in 10 games for the Dons and if he keeps it up, he will return to Arsenal ready to make the step up. Also, his loan deal has left more opportunity for Chuba Akpom in the reserves and Akpom has also found his form in front of goal, which earned him a cameo at the Emirates last night.
So Arsenal fans, the future is bright, the future is red and white.