Which Arsenal youngsters can breakthrough to our first team? by KJ
After watching our U19s go agonisingly close to the Next Generation finals, it’s got me thinking, who would go onto to be first teamers? This has always been a problem for any team in the world. Your youngsters look brilliant for the reserves but then for a multitude of reasons, they rarely make it to the first team squad, let alone to being in the starting XI. I remember looking at the squad of players that won the FA cup in 2009 thinking that we had a very bright future with that lot and now we only have Wilshere and Coquelin left from that lot that are close to the first team.
He is well known amongst the fans and for good reason. He is one of our most highly rated players and has already got his first appearance in the Champions league. He is similar to Alex Oxlade Chamberlain in both stature and their way of playing football. They are direct, physical and great dribblers. Wenger expected him to breakthrough to the first team this season but unfortunately, our first team has been pretty bad and hasn’t really given Wenger the room to bring in younger players for easier matches. Wenger at the beginning of the season may have looked at Reading at home as one of the games he’d introduce Gnabry into but now, not a chance.
The Swedish youth international is another player that the fans have been keeping a track of. He’s always looked great for the reserves and has looked pretty decent during the Next Generation tournament. He is similar to Fabregas in my opinion and looks to dictate the game. He isn’t blessed physically but his technicality more than makes up for it. However, the Arsenal midfield is extremely packed at the moment with quality attacking midfielders and I don’t know how Olsson will transition from reserve player to first team player without a season loan.
He has burst onto the scene this season. Before we were looking at Gnabry as the up and coming winger/striker but now, Akpom has stepped up his game and he could be vying for a first team spot very soon. He has really impressed me this season and seems to have great strength. He is powerful when running at players and is difficult to dispossess. His dribbling is what stands out most and his ability to run at players is uncanny. He has been Arsenal’s top scorer both at U21 level and in the Next Generation tournament. His only real downside is his lack of passing ability. He may be able to learn this as he gains more experience but there’s no doubt he’s a talent to look out for.
This is the final “big talent” amongst the youngsters and he is arguably the best one of them all. He joined Arsenal (along with Jon Toral) from Barcelona in a Cesc-type deal. He was 16 and was able to sign for Arsenal but not for Barcelona until he was 17. He weighed up his options and decided to join us instead. He is a brilliant talent who conventionally started out as a right winger but has since been converted into a right back. He recently talked about how the transition has helped his defensive play. I could definitely see him knocking on the door for the first team within a year as he’ll do fine as a backup to Jenkinson when Sagna leaves (I would prefer Sagna to be replaced properly though). I just hope he doesn’t end up like our last signing from Barcelona. That would be devastating and I’m pretty sure Gooner hearts wouldn’t be able to take it for a second time!
I think it would be fair to say that this youth team is potentially our best yet and we can look forward to one or two stars pushing for a first team spot within a season or two.