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August 2021

It is the bottom of the squad list that makes interesting reading on the tour

By Tony Attwood

It is the bottom of the list that makes interesting reading.

Arsenal’s tour list was published in alphabetical order by surname, to indicate the first teamers included.     Looking at our recent previous deliberations on Untold as to who would be making his way up to the first team this year it is interesting to see Ignasi Miquel, and Ryo firmly included.

The full list is given below – but the point I want to make is that in this bottom of the list section we have our first indicator of the young men who the club think might well be coming through the ranks.

  • 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 away, 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 who can score.
  • Damian Martinez is the Argentine goalkeeper who I believe is stepping up to be number three this season.  He has already been selected in the Argentine squad to cover for injured keepers and was on the bench for an Argentina international
  • Kris Olsson is called a “classy and creative midfielder”.  After becoming the great hope for the future he was injured for the second half of last season, but before that had been playing some amazing stuff in the centre of midfield.  He signed his first professional contract in summer 2012 and played in the Markus Liebherr Memorial Cup in pre-season last year.
  • 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 the Under-21s, leading the line against opponents older and more experienced than him with confidence
  • 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.
  • Chuks Aneke is a 20 year old playmaker who played a few minutes for the league cup victory over Shrewsbury in 2011.   He’s since been on loan to Stevenage, Preston, and Crewe, playing a total of 43 games (mostly for Crewe).  He has played for England under 16, 17, 18 and 19.  And he’s been compared to both Diaby and Yaya Toure in style.
  • Gedion Zelalem.   Akpom, as I noted, played for the under 18s when 15.  Beat that.  Well, when a 16 year old plays for the under 21s then something special is happening.  He’s the next Cesc we’re told.  And he’s on this tour.  The hype is building around him, he has played for Germany;s under 16 team – because in Germany they tend not to play international players out of their age group, as they do in England.  He is central midfield, and he has dual nationality (also Ethiopian).

Below is the list of expected players – and the omissions tell their own story.  Gervinho has a cold we’re told, and Vermaelen is injured.  Otherwise those not travelling are clearly not part of the show (with the exceptions of the under 21s who are playing friendlies in England).

  • Mikel Arteta
  • Lukasz Fabianski
  • Kieran Gibbs
  • Olivier Giroud
  • Carl Jenkinson
  • Laurent Koscielny
  • Per Mertesacker
  • Ignasi Miquel
  • Ryo
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • Lukas Podolski
  • Aaron Ramsey
  • Tomas Rosicky
  • Bacary Sagna
  • Wojciech Szczesny
  • Theo Walcott
  • Jack Wilshere

13 July Anniversaries 

  • 13 July 1998 Ian Wright having become the club’s all time record goal scorer leaves Arsenal to join West Ham
  • 13 July 1995: George Graham banned from football for one year
  • ?13 July 1904 Phil Kelso started his duties as manager  See here also

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36 comments to It is the bottom of the squad list that makes interesting reading on the tour

  • Lobster

    No Frimmie, no Yenarris. I assume they, along with Park, TGSTEL and Chamakh [Gervinho?.. X)],are next in line for the Denilson-Arshavin-Djorou-Mannone-Squid Express.
    Anyway we now have absolutely NO capable defensive midfielders in the Club..

    And I have developed a peculiar craving for a Korndog-bia ^^

  • Cazorla and Monreal given extra holiday due to involvement in Confed Cup!

  • Tony Yayo

    Oh yeahh!! We neeed King Kong Dog Bia and Imbula and then either Capoue or Other for actually starting slot. Maybe ashley williams or Ginter. And then another striker and bernard since grenier has said no basically…oh and a keeper.. krul or cesar….

  • Sid

    Frimpong is recovering from injury while Yennaris I
    Has simply stayed behind with the U21s man. The lack of transfer activity is helping feed the negative Arsenal stories, how we can’t sign top quality, refuse to pay top whack, etc etc….

  • davi

    Yes I hope Yenarris isn’t going for a good reason. Should really be a lot closer to the first team IMO – think he could contribute a lot to the squad as there aren’t many players like him. Could provide excellent cover for Ramsey or Arteta IMO, but obviously needs testing.

  • ARSENAL 13

    I read elsewhere, We have signed Crowley, a 15 year old, yet to be announced. As per ARSENAL.COM, he was impressive on his debut.

  • Charlie G

    Except, Gnarry and Zelalam, not much too get excited in the current crop of youngsters. We need to produce a striker, but, clearly can’t remember we producing our own top class striker for a long time, last ones maybe were Charlie George and Kennedy.

  • tinalex

    Charlie G
    “Except, Gnarry and Zelalam, not much too get excited in the current crop of youngsters. We need to produce a striker, but, clearly can’t remember we producing our own top class striker for a long time, last ones maybe were Charlie George and Kennedy”.
    This goes to betray you lack of knowledge about the club’s youngsters or you are just obsessed with negativity. Players like Eisfield, Miqual, Yannaris, Chuks, Akpom, Bellerin, have great future ahead of them at Arsenal. I haven’t seen Olsson and Godion play but those that have seen them think they do have great future ahead of them

  • gerry

    If any of wengers words are to go by in his last interview then we are heading for another season of failure. He talks about bringing in only one or two players, Good God, we need like four players to strenthen and challenge. And where did all this talk about him extending the contract come from? On what grounds is he being offered a contract? For eight tophyleess seasons. The Bsm movement will have to rise to overthrow these dictators

  • None of the above will be relevant in terms of first team football. Unless we’re talking about the capital one cup ofcourse.

    The bigger concern should be the fact that Wenger say that we will be able to compete for the title in the next 2-3 years. Does that mean he’s already accepted that we will be happy to just finish 4th again. Not the best message to send out to potential transfer targets.

  • insideright

    ‘Akpom played in the under 18’s when 15 – beat that’. I popped down to Sutton to see an ‘Arsenal XI’ play last night. In the team, and by far the best player on the pitch, was Dan Crowley who last season played for Villa’s under 21’s – winners of the European NextGen tournament. Dan’s age? Fifteen.
    He only played for the first 45mins but was key to helping Arsenal to 4-1 half time lead. Astonishing.

  • Many Arsenal fans are very naive. There is no way you can have two ambitious world class players for each position, especially in a world cup year. This is why Wenger is eager for a striker to play as a winger and vice versa. Grenier has opted to stay in Lyon because he wants regular game time at his prefered position, so as to be in the starting line up of Les Bleus — in Arsenal, he would likely be used as an impact sub or experimented on the wings. Playing time is now everything. This is the reason Rooney wants to get out of Man Utd — unless he is given equal playing time with RVP and at his preferred position.

    Also, Fabregas is never going to feature in the first squad of Spain’s national team as long as he is warming Barcelona’s bench.The first condition an exceptional player gives to a club is first team action. The second term is the pay and the third is the quality of competitions he plays in. This is where Champions League comes in. Most ballon d’ or winners — chosen by national team coaches — are people who either shine in Europe’s elite competition or the world cup. This is why if Tottenham don’t improve the oncoming season, there is no way Bale is going to still stay in the team. A player’s career is ego centric. Exemplary is Van Persie’s, who aptly knows that he has a chance of being crowned ‘the best in the world’ because of winning titles, even if he plays the same football he did at Arsenal.

    Nasri, who at some point believed being maybe as good as Messi, also hinted that Man City’s successes — unlike Arsenal’s failure — can highlight how he is the new Zidane. Unfortuntely for him, he went to a team with too many stars, curtalling his playing time. If new recruits by Pellegrini are preffered over him, this might b a very bad season for Nasri. He might end up like Adebayor, who only shone in Arsenal because of playing most of the games. A good ambitious player goes to a team which has a balance between youth and maturity, such that if you are well established, you go to a place where you can easily walk into the starting line up. If you are a promising prospect, you go to a squad that gives you chances of partly playing in big competitions.

  • Giddy

    Wenger is a spent force who still want to hold Arsenal hostage for the next 2-3 years before they challenge. Why talk about financial health of the club when it becomes hard for us to compete atleast in few decent signings? Wenger and Arsenal board should be removed right away and am not apologetic about this!

  • Sid


    I think he was referring to marquee signings. We’ve already signed one player, so I expect about 4 or even 5 in total.

    Giddy, you’re a gutless fuckwit. Thanks for letting everyone know that.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I have heard that the reason for Yennaris not going on tour is that he will be loaned out for the whole season to gain valuable experience.

    I wonder where all those spend the f*cking money fans suddenly come from. Is it because Le Grove has suddenly changed their tone as I have heard and even read on a few occasions?

    Anyway this is not the site to get rid of your negativity towards Arsenal. Just look further and you will find some moaners where you can all moan at each other. We rather keep it optimistic over here as we always have done

  • nicky

    I’m an old-school Arsenal supporter from way back.
    I had to explain that because when I read of our young stars who are knocking on the first team door I get quite excited. I’m not too bothered if we sign some stars or not, PROVIDED Arsene will give playing time to these reserve types (who must be first team material).
    We must acknowledge that there is no point in bringing in new players if they do not improve the standard already there. By the same token there is little to be gained by signing young players only to loan them out when they arrive. That type of recruit we already have on our books.

  • weedonald

    I have never seen such idiotic ramblings from so many pseudo-plasticfanboys in one blog. Giddy (with self-importance), Gerrymanderer,Charliehorse, to believe what they read, swallow any BS they hear and repeat their pointless, irrational and unsubstantiated ravings about Wenger, the Board, our trophyless run, ad nauseam. the more they regurgitate this shite, the more they believe others care….wrong!

  • Giddy

    Sid, whatever your name, u have the gut to point an abuse at me and yet still brave to believe that 4 or 5 signings will be done by Arsene right? History of the manager does not show that your beliefs are correct besides, serous managers atleast by now are signing new players so that they integrate with others in pre-season training! If your shallow mind shows you that i am gutless then continue living in illusions.

  • Mandy Dodd

    A lot of sense there nyand but hopefully such issues will apply to say higuain wanting more playing time than he may get at real

  • Goona Gal

    @ weedonald – I second your comments, what’s going on? I am not used to reading so many thick remarks on here.

    @ tinalex – I agree with you totally. Not too long ago people were arguing that AW should be sacked for spending millions on Alex OC, Kos, Jenks & Wilshere should on been sold. Then they wanted AW sacked because Alex OC, Jenks & Kos were on the bench and some now say Jack our future captain. Ignorant doesn’t even begin to describe these people.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Tony – I am glad you wrote this article. Arsenal have now got again a large number of very exciting prospects who genuinely look like they can breakthrough into the first team. Ryo, Aneke, Frimpong, Gnabry, Eisfeld, Martinez and Iggy Miguel are all good enough to play for the first team.

    Personally I am really looking forward to watching these players grow and really strengthen the first team. With so much desire to impress and do well, it can only have a good effect on the group as a whole. Like I said before, this is a coming of age trip for many players and they all need to show their qualities.

    In my opinion, without being rude, Iggy is an improvement on Djourou at CB and just needs time to get used to playing alongside Per/Kos/Verm.

    I agree with those that say Yennaris is on par with Coquelin, he just has a little less match experience. Going on loan wouldn’t be a bad thing, as this season at the moment midfield looks pretty crowded. But I really would like to see him make it Arsenal in the long run. It’s been a while since I saw a fully fit Olsson play so I am looking forward to watching him. Though I would if I had to choose, pick Yennaris to stay around the first team and send Olsson out on loan.

    It’s just a shame that we won’t get a chance to see Sanogo play.

  • nicky

    @Goona Gal,
    Agreed. I only hope some of our hopefuls will be bloodied other than in the Carling Cup.
    Why won’t we see Sanogo play? At 20 and with a fair bit of experience he shouldn’t have to be loaned out, surely.

  • Wrig

    sanogo on Eurosport right now playing for France u20

  • Rufusstan

    I was hoping to see both Nico and Bellerin, but I think them not being on the trip is a sign that Bac is staying for this season at least, so upgrading either to the first team is not a huge priority this year.

    To be honest, the rest are just there for Wenger to have a look and for them to get a taste of first team action. They all will be outside our 25 this season so there’s no need for a final decision.

    The only exception is Martinez, who is suddenly our 3rd choice keeper — I’m guessing he’s there to help Wenger decide what to do about keepers: just promote him, Buy in promote Martinez and offload Fab, or Buy in and use the 2 Poles (assuming Fab would stay as 3rd choice).

    The 2 interesting ones from the first team are Miquel and Ryo. I’m guessing Miquel was going to give Wenger a chance to see if he is ready for 4th choice CB so we don’t need to buy anyone. Vermaelen’s back has probably buggered that idea.

    With Ryo, I’m wondering if Wenger is deciding if he is ready or not. If he is, Gervinho’s ‘illness’ will probably become permanent. If not; another loan I suppose. By the way, the option of Theo on the right, and Ryo on the left will make defenses cry.

    @Giddy, Gerry — the simplest answer:
    1). Don’t read the papers this time of year; they make shit up.
    2). Some idiot mentioned that apparently we are not skint any more so clubs are trying to squeeze us; be patient.
    3). — Wengers actual last interview.

    @Nicky — I think Sanogo was playing for France in the U20 cup, so probably is on holiday still. I’m not sure of the politics, I think as he is a personal Wenger pick, he goes straight into the first team, rather than the Academy (though he’ll probably play for the U21s).

  • uk

    next year, untold will be raving about an entirely different set of youngsters, the ones mentioned today wont be in the youth squAd or the first team. theyll probably be at mk dons, or crawley town or greuther furth

  • Adam

    That’s what supporters do? Even if the youngsters don’t make it.

    And when these kids who don’t make the cut at Arsenal move on, I hope they don’t find your kind of support at their new club.

    Your a hater.

  • Rufusstan

    @Giddy — Wenger’s history?

    2012-13 – Nacho Santi, Poldi, Giroud
    2011-12 – Jenks, Per, OX, Arteta, Gervinho
    2010-11 – OK, Only Kos
    2009-10 – OK, Only Vermaelen
    2008-09 – Less said about that year…..
    2007-09 – Nasri, Ramsey, Diarra, Bac
    2006-07 – Eduardo, Song, Gallas, Fabianski
    2005-06 – Rosicky, Walcott, Diaby, Hleb (Ade, TGSTEL)
    2004-05 – Eboue, Flamini
    2003-04 – RVP, Cesc, Clichy, Djourou, Mad Jens, (Reyes, Senderos)

    10 years, and only picked those that were regular 1st teamers (even if only for a year or 2). Thats during the stadium, prep, build and aftermath period. (looking at it; guess when we were really skint 🙂 )

    So do I think 4-5 players is in Wenger’s M.O.? — seems to be.

    As far as the other clubs go, yup they’ve started, but other than City it isn’t exactly inspiring:

    United have bought a 20 year old Uruguayan Fullback.

    Spurs have bought Paulinho (when they need a striker as badly as we do)

    City’s millions mean they are doing better — Fernandinho and Navas

    Chelsea — Schurrie, Schwarzer (on a free no less)

    City and Chelsea have also signed a few kids.

  • Rufusstan

    @UK — I know I shouldn’t bite, but that is the nature of the beast.

    To steal (and use really badly) an old phrase, you have to kiss a lot of frogs.

    If we get one player from each class from the academy that breaks through to the first team, its a win. The way things work, and our standards, mean that most will not make it.

    Occasionally you get one that comes through from a kid and get to the first team (Wilshere, Gibbs, Frimpong).

    More often we use other clubs as filters, pick the best at 16 and try to bring them through (Wojciech, Djourou, Coquelin, TGSTEL), but even then most don’t make it.

    There are other problems – worth an article maybe, but basically if 2 of the players Tony have highlighted make it; we’ve done well.

  • Rupert Cook

    Very few youngsters make it. I suspect this is true of many at any top club, Arsenal are hardly the exception. As I’ve only seen Frimpong play out of all these youngsters I have no opinion on their potential. As for Frimpong I don’t think he’s good enough and I suspect he’ll be sold on at some point.

    As for signings I actually think Swansea may have done the best business getting in that Ivory Coast striker. I thought Wenger might be interested in him as he only cost around the 12 million mark. I think he’ll be a great success at Swansea. Also Southampton getting that Celtic player looks a reasonable piece of business. I also thought Wenger was interested in him, he was very affordable, but maybe we are looking for more superior quality than the aforementioned two.

  • Adam

    Rupert, agree on Frimfong, but that’s him on his own, We forget he made a great little partnership with Wilshere through all the younger age groups. Sometimes it aint about how good they are individually but how good they can be collectively.

    Still think Wenger will move him on though.

  • Rufusstan

    @Adam, Rupert. Agree that Frimpong will be moved on. I actually think he will be good enough, but his injuries mean it will be too late for him.

    Rupert, I agree that both Bony and Wanyama look good, but also that hopefully, we are looking beyond ‘affordable’ this year

  • uk

    i just think all the hype about our young players is repetitive and @ the end of the day all bark and no bite. ive been hearing the same thing about our youngsters for a good porttion of a decade. so much so that when i hear it again, i reflexly go “really? tell me something i dont know”

  • uk

    @rustufan, personally i think its cheaper to go for the finished product. i may not be correct, but with number of players we train @the various stages of development, and the tiny percentage that get into the team or even get moved on for the semblance of a fee, im more inclined to slow down the pace of the youth set up, and concentrate on the team…. thats if we are as broke as some say we are

  • AL

    OK, if we follow your reasoning of buying the finished products only, who would then develop the young players we will need to buy as finished products in the future? City, Chelski? And if everyone thought the same way? Your ideas are NOT pro-football, they are anti-football. All great clubs have had good youth academies, that’s the reason why Madrid haven’t done so well in the last 10 years or so because they opted to go for very expensive finished products only at the expense of youth development.

  • uk

    i said slow the pace on the academy front, concentrate on the first team. in other words, first team first, academy, afterwards. you may argue thats the case now, i would beg to differ. i think even barcelona who produce maybe 4times as much success stories than us, still show more concern for the first team than we do

  • WalterBroeckx

    I have heard that the budget for the youth academy is completely separated from the budget of the first team. So the youth academy knows what money it has at its disposal and has to work within those means.
    In fact I have also read somewhere by one of the youth orientated Arsenal bloggers that each time a youth player makes it to the first team they youth academy gets a sum of money as if we bought him. Of course this sum is peanuts compared to what we would have to pay if we really would buy the player from another club at that moment in time.