Five Arsenal wonderkids ready to break into Mikel Arteta’s first team and save the club millions


Arsenal’s Hale End academy production line has long provided a conveyor belt of talent for the first team.

There are a number of former Gunners graduates plying their trade in the Premier League and beyond, whilst Arsenal themselves are reaping the rewards of several prospects breaking trough over the past year.

Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are the obvious names who have cemented first team opportunities recently, but there remains a fresh crop of talent on the fringes waiting for their own chance to impress manager Mikel Arteta.

football.london takes a look at five academy stars who are close to breaking into the senior set-up and look set to be handed a chance during pre-season.

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

Omar Rekik

Rekik made eight appearances for Hertha’s second team, scoring one and assisting one from centre back.

He is highly regarded by academy chief Per Mertesacker who assured him that he will regularly train with the Arsenal first team upon signing.

The January arrival’s debut has been delayed due to injury and it has coincided with some disappointing defensive performances from the U23s.

Netherlands-born Rekik, a senior Tunisian international who has previously played at youth level for the likes of Feyenoord, Manchester City, PSV and Marseille, will see him compete with the likes of Jonathan Dinzeyi, Harry Clarke and Dan Ballard for a place in the team.

Omar Rekik during an Arsenal U23 training session at London Colney (Image: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Charlie Patino

Considered by many within Arsenal as one of the finest prospects the club has produced in recent years, Patino’s rise to fruition has continued this season.

The 17-year-old was promoted to the first team after signing his first professional contract this season and has often played for higher age groups.

He scored on his under-23s debut against Chelsea last month and looked equally as impressive in the 1-1 draw against Tottenham U23s.

Likened to Jack Wilshere for his technical ability and maturity at a young age, Patino will be hoping to further showcase his qualities when he returns from injury.

Charlie Patino could be the next Arsenal teenager to make it to the first team

Catalin Cirjan

Another youngster who was promoted to the first team after wooing Mikel Arteta and his coaches in training.

The 18-year-old joined from Romanian side Viitorul Domnesti in 2019 and was fast-tracked to the under-23s following his exciting performances in midfield.

He can play as an attacking midfielder or on either flank and will get further opportunities to impress when the players return for pre-season in the summer.

Catalin Cirjan and Hector Bellerin

Nikolaj Moller

Moller is an 18-year-old 6ft4 centre forward who signed on deadline day from Malmo last summer.

He scored three minutes into his debut against Manchester City under-23s and was nominated for the PL2 Player of the Month award in November.

The Swede has drawn obvious comparisons with Zlatan Ibrahimovic due to his physique and nationality, but there’s genuine belief among the academy coaches that he can go on to become a top Premier League striker.

Nikolaj Moller is turning some heads with the Arsenal Under-23s this season.

With the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah facing uncertain futures at the club, Moller’s chance to shine may come sooner than some would imagine.

Joel Lopez

Arsenal tried to sign a left-back in the January transfer window and are likely to explore their options in the summer transfer market too.

Joel Lopez of Arsenal controls the ball during the match between Arsenal U18 and Tottenham Hotspur U18 (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

One beneficiary of the Gunners failure to sign a left-back was 18-year-old Joel Lopez who has trained with the first team on multiple occasions this season.

It is likely that he will be sent out on loan next season to aid his development but if Arteta decides to fast-track him, a first team opportunity could be on the cards during pre-season.

Sead Kolasinac is expected to depart this summer and with Kieran Tierney requiring an adequate back-up, if Arsenal fail to sign a left-back again this summer they could look within at Lopez to fill the void.





Source link

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on tumblr
Tumblr
Share on stumbleupon
StumbleUpon