Iwobi has a point to prove!
In what is becoming a merry-go-round of players changing numbers at Arsenal football club, one of the quieter changes to have been made is that of Alex Iwobi’s shirt number.
We have already seen that Alexis will take Rosicky’s old ‘7’, Ramsey will take number 8, new signing Xhaka will take 16, whilst Iwobi will take 17. Alex Iwobi had his breakthrough season this year, with the Nigerian international getting his chance to feature in Arsene Wenger’s first team. After an impressive start to the season with Arsenal’s youth ranks, his performances for the Arsenal under 21 team saw Wenger give Iwobi a chance to train and eventually feature for first team duties.
Iwobi made 21 appearances for the Gunners overall last season, an impressive feat considering that his breakthrough did not come until the latter end of the season. In that time, Iwobi managed two goals, both in the Premier League, whilst also showing that statistics aren’t the only thing that make a good performance. His willingness to drive forward with the ball and not be afraid to take players on, may not be shown amongst the stats, but his efforts are nevertheless noted and Iwobi proved to be a likely star for Arsenal in the future.
Today it was confirmed that Iwobi will be taking Alexis Sanchez’s old number 17 at Arsenal, and the squad number could suggest that Wenger has plans for Iwobi in the first team next season. Whilst some anticipated that Iwobi may go on loan next season in order to gain further competitive experience in a domestic league, it instead seems that Wenger will be keeping hold of the 19 year old. Arsenal fans will be expecting changes in the transfer window this summer, notably by bringing in top quality players with a wealth of experience, but I’d say that Iwobi is almost certain to have a relatively big involvement in Arsenal first duties next season and we can expect to see good things from our newest prodigy.
There have been a few debates regarding which young players who could make the move from the Arsenal under 21’s to the first team for next season, and whilst the likes of Jon Toral may have been mentioned as a likely candidate, Iwobi will most certainly be well in Wenger’s view for next season. I therefore not only expect to see lots of Iwobi next year but also for many years to come, as the club will surely look to develop the youngster to the best of his abilities over the next few years.