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July 2021

The players who will join the first team next season from the Under 21 league

By Tony Attwood

Below is the table of under 21 appearances for last season for the players with over 10 games played in that league last season.

Traditionally most of them move on to other clubs, but one or two do occasionally step up.  Jack Wilshere has come through the ranks, and last season saw a fair number of games for Francis Coquelin, who I would expect to get more games this coming season.

The question is, will any of these follow Wilshere and Coquelin in stepping up, either this season or next.




Conor Henderson 11 + 1 5
Serge Gnabry 12 + 4 4
Hector Bellerin 12 + 5 2
Martin Angha 15 + 1 0
Kristoffer Olsson 16 + 4 2
Ignasi Miquel 17 0
Thomas Eisfeld 17 + 2 9
Jernade Meade 17 + 2 0
Nico Yennaris 17 + 2 0
Sead Hajrovic 18 + 1 0
Chuba Akpom 19 + 1 13

Here’s how the land lies, as far as I can see...

Conor Henderson is, I believe now a free agent.

Serge Gnabry was in the pre-season friendly last year against FC Koln and played in the league cup side.   In October 2012 he played against Norwich City in Carrow Road, and was the third youngest player ever for Arsenal.  He also played against FC Schalke and in the Next Gen series, and has played for Germany under 18s.   He’s a midfielder with a penchant for scoring goals.

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Arsenal signed Hector Bellerin in 2011 from Barcelona with all the fuss that usually generates, and he is the player that most people expect to come through to the first team.  One blog went so far as to say “He’s the reason we don’t need to sign a full back this summer”.  He signed his pro contact last summer.

Martin Angha is a Swiss centre back who came from Grasshoppers  and  on26 September 2012  made his Arsenal first-team debut against Coventry City in the League Cup.  He also played against Olympiacos in the Champions League coming on as a substitute

Kristoffer Olsson is a Swedish creative central midfielder who has already had his share of injuries.  I think we need to wait another year to see if he really comes good.

Ignasi Miquel.  I must admit I was tipping Miquel to be more active this past season, but he has still just had five appearances.  On 15 January 2012 he played the full league game against Swansea at left back, but last season the break through didn’t happen.  Is it now too late?

Thomas Eisfeld impressed greatly last pre-season, when he came on as a substitute, but during the year just made a brief appearance in the 7-5 win against Reading.  Maybe this season he will take more steps forward.

Jernade Meade has been released, as I understand it.

Nico Yennaris didn’t get a game last season, and as with Ignasi Miquel I thought he would.  Again I wonder if his time has passed.  He had one short loan period with Notts County, but nothing else.

Sead Hajrovic has been released

Chuba Akpom.  If you play for the under 18s when you are 15 you must have something and by my calculations he is still only 17.  He can play in any forward position, and was tipped by the Independent newspaper to make it this year saying, “Akpom is the most exciting English prospect to emerge at Arsenal since Jack Wilshere. Four school years younger than Wilshere, centre- forward Akpom signed his first professional deal at the club on his 17th birthday in October.  Just two months later Akpom found himself taken to Olympiakos as part of the first-team squad, making the substitutes’ bench.

“He has been starring for Terry Burton’s Under-21 team, leading the line against opponents older and more experienced than him with confidence and authority.”

All of which gives us several possibilities but I suspect I left the best til last.

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17 comments to The players who will join the first team next season from the Under 21 league

  • Thundertinygooner

    I believe Angha is also leaving. I think I heard Club Bruges mentioned

  • Amol

    angha has left as well..

    with new rb to arrive, bellerin won’t be getting chances unless he steps up the level…or jenkinson or the new rb is out injured.

    with arshavin leaving wenger has only two wing forwards for backup with ox n gervinho. gervinho is if gnabry n eisfield can raise their level a lil more,they can replace gervinho.
    even if they don’t wenger will need them on bench for squad strength.

    if no new cb is bought, thn ignasi will get some games.

    eisfield will impress the most this season, i think.

  • Ross Tommey (@ReallyCrossRoss)

    Tony, Martin Angha has joined Nuremberg as part of the mass exodus. Damian Martinez a goalkeeper should also be one to look out for. If anyone checks into the youth international this summer may catch Gnabry (Germany), Bellerin (Spain), Olsson (Sweden) and Akpom (England finished 2nd in group played all 3 games scoring once against Scotland) as they are all representing their nations at under 19 level.

  • sunnypa de gooners

    they should gave Esfield and gnabry a chance to shine this season i know they can parform briliantly this coming season and wenger should pls sign rooney,jovetic,wanyama and cezar.

  • puppyguts

    i always hear eisfield’ named being mentioned im glad to see hes stats back him up

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think Bellerin, Gnabry, Eisfeld and Apkom are the main candidates to make a next step.
    I think they might be on the trip to Asia and have a little run with the team and then maybe a loan to help them along.

    My money is on Bellerin as our future right back. He has all what is needed for a right back but not just ready for now. I think this is the reason we want to keep Sagna for the next season. I think in 2 seasons time we will have Jenkinson and Bellerin to fight for the right back spot.

  • Yes sorry about the inevitable slip. Angha has joined Nuremberg it seems.

  • Shard

    With Frimpong and Coquelin both seemingly on the way out, Yennaris or Olsson could be Arteta’s natural successor if they can add something to their game.

    Same applies to Eisfeld or Aneke with Rosicky.

    Miquel either needs a loan spell next season, or will be 4th choice CB. Then again, he might be sold, with the likes of Hayden showing some promise.

    I think it’s a year or two too early for Gnabry, Bellerin and Akpom. Miyaichi, might be able to play a part in our squad next season. I hope so anyway.

  • denver

    I think eisfield will be promoted along with apkom also if we don’t sign a cf and bellerin if sagna leaves

  • bjtgooner

    Miyaichi looked very promising at Feyenoord and at times with Bolton. Last season was a disaster for him re injuries, so he may not be quite ready for the first team this coming season. I saw him in a couple of the matches for Feyenoord and he did look a great prospect; lets hope he makes the breakthrough.

  • Ong Bing

    Don’t know much about them, last 2 years I am not following our young guns.

    We don’t buy star, we make them!

    So, I really hope our young guns can step to 1st team, one every year is good enough.

    If I am not wrong, no one of them going to Euro U21 this summer, so maybe they are not ready.

  • Shard


    You’re probably right. My thoughts on Miyaichi are more wishful thinking as I really liked what I say of him a couple of years ago, and also because I think having someone like him will be beneficial to the squad. Maybe he’ll have a good pre-season which’ll convince Wenger.

  • Digger

    No mention of Aneke?

  • Pat

    Off topic, but just saw Arsenal finished top of the premier league fair play league.

    Stoke was bottom.

    There is some justice in the world.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Pat, that is quite an achievement especially considering some of the ref performances we suffer

  • DarthWenger

    What about the prospects of Jon Toral and Joel Campbell?

  • Pat

    You’re right, Mandy.