Arsenal players who might move up into the first team

Our earlier review of players who had been on loan this past season gave us few names to conjure with for the coming year.  Our most likely “returnees” seem to be Damien Martinez and Joel Campbell – both of whom would need time to develop their game further.  Martinez is 21 (very young for a keeper to be playing in the first team).  Joel Campbell is also 21, and looked good playing in Greece against a poor Man U side this past season.

But what of fringe players who are already here.  Here;s a review of eight players, of whom at the very least two are certainly going to move up the order.

Gedion Zelalem

The Golden Boy of Arsenal.  17, already played for the first team and was involved in pre-season a year ago.  Not ready to be plunged in; he will get games even if it is only in the Cups – but he will be there.  And we know he will be at the club because he signed a contract extension in March.

There was a scare that he might take US citizenship – the US team being keen for him to be eligible to play for them.  But that would have meant he would not be able to stay at Arsenal as he would no longer meet EU citizenship requirements.  I believe the contract extension followed the resolution of this, and his decision to stay a German citizen.

I doubt his impact will be big this next season but he will be there.

Isaac Hayden

He played in the League Cup game against WBA last season, and he has the bonus of being able to play midfield or centre back.     He’s 19, and could be ready to make some further performances at League Cup level and be a backup to the first team.  He is also a member of England under 19s.

Thomas Eisfeld

I expected Thomas to make a break through last season – but we are still waiting.  He was a sub in the FA Cup semi-final, as we were running out of players, and got games and goals in the pre-season friendlies last season.

He played in the league cup game against WBA, in the 7-5 win over Reading, and on the pre-season tour last summer.  But he is 21, so it surely must start to happen for him this season.

Watching him from without he seems ice cool – a midfielder who has been compared with Pires.  He most certainly can score, and he’s absolutely caught my eye – but that’s no indication of anything.

Serge Gnabry

Serge is 18, and we’ve all seen him play this past season.  I expect a lot more from him in the coming year.  He made his first team debut in September 2012, so in this regard he’s already an old timer.  He’s also played for Germany at under 16, 17 and 18.

I think he is now a full member of the squad.

Krisoffer Olsson

He’s 18 so might have to wait another year to stop up, but he did play in last year’s pre-season tour – and scored against Indonesia.

He played in the league cup match against WBA on 25 September and scored his penalty. Krisoffer is Swedish and an attacking midfielder so instantly everyone calls him the new Freddie.

Hector Bellerin

He’s 19, a Catalan, and is a centre back who  has played on loan last season to Barnet where he won a lot of plaudits, but on 18 February 2014 he was recalled.

Ryo Miyaichi

So much has been expected of Ryo after his initial amazing loan to Feyenord, but injuries seem to have taken a toll.  The Dutch media called him “Ryodinho”, but we have not really seen much of him – just two league cup games.

He’s been on loan at Shrewsbury, Bolton (where he was voted player of the month), and Wigan (where he got injured).  If he is now injury free we could well see a lot more of him.

Chuba Akpom

Last season Akpom was prominent in the Asia Tour and the Emirates Cup.    Whether we put him in this list of the last list of on loan players his future looks very bright at the age of 19 – as long as he can stay clear of injuries.

He was an unused substitute for the game against Marseille and played in the league cup game against WBA.  Coventry City (loan).  He might make it further into the first team this season.

The arrival of two of these players into the full squad would be good.  Three is starting to look exciting.

33 Replies to “Arsenal players who might move up into the first team”

  1. If they’re good enough, they’re old enough.
    A positively encouraging end of term report on what we might expect after the hols.

  2. I wish them ALL the best of personal luck whether they step up now or in the future, but looking at the individual players and their emerging skills, we can see the type of player Arsenal is always interested in.

    So some of them will step up this coming season and i wish for them all the best in fitting into the team, being happy and most of all, being able to share the Arsenal vision, for this last one will more than likely decide their own decisions concerning their own future.

  3. Gnabry was very impressive in some of the games that he played last season and I do hope to see more of him in the coming season ,not only in the cup games ,but also in the league as rotational players.

  4. Really hope to see some of these players given a chance next season, there is some exciting talent in there.

  5. Zalalem is a gifted midfielder with an incredible football brain He is quick and reads the game incredibly well.
    Bellerin is a right sided defender with incredible courage and speed. He is an asset that will enhance the squad.
    I have seen most of the above and Gnabry needs to be encouraged to use his cannon ball of a shot without fear of hurting an opponent.

    Every one of these young players can become a star. They are young guns at Arsenal.

  6. Please explain to me the difference between Sagna and say, van Persie leaving Arsenal. Both spent a similar time at the club and I would have thought van Persie’s exit was more honourable as money appeared a secondary consideration to his winning trophies. Sagna’s exit is out-and-out greed. What is more in selling van Persie at an advanced age Arsenal probably recouped all their expenditure on him and yet Sagna is the one being sanctified! They have strange values at the Emirates.

  7. I’m amazed at the stupidity of people who forgive Sagnas lack of loyalty. With signing on fees bonus’ and salary he’ll have received circa £30m from Arsenal and to top that up we are told he’s offered a 3year contract and a salary of £12m+bonus’ and he is forgiven for turning his back on the opportunity of repaying all the club has done for him to take an extra 30pieces of silver from Sheikys. To add insult to injury, by choosing to go when he’s out of contract, he didn’t even give the club the chance of regaining the transfer fee they originally paid for him.

  8. DevilDriver
    Looks like he’s going to a place where he’ll be paid twice his worth for three times as long as he’s worth it. Best of luck to him and I’m sure that the Emirates crowd will always be appropriately welcoming in the way that they are towards popular ex players.

  9. Nice summary of some of the exciting young talent at Arsenal.

    I see the trolls are trying to hijack the debate…ahhh.

    I am interested to see how the young players are integrated into the first team squad in the coming seasons. How many top, top players do we really need to buy with so many already at the club and young players coming up through the ranks.

    In an odd way, players like Ramsey, Wilshere and Gibbs do not seem young anymore, because of all the experience they already possess. Hopefully Wilshere overcomes his injuries and moves to the next level. He needs to learn how to minimise the damage of the kicking he gets because goodness knows the referees refuse to do their job and enforce the rules.

  10. Sav
    I don’t think anyone is trying to hijack or troll the debate at all. After 6 not particularly inspiring posts (when DevilDriver made his off topic comment, which was worthy of a reply or two) it was hardly going anywhere was it? If you want to see trolling at it’s worst just take a look at the “what the “how many more years since” mantra actually means” articles comments section. You may even recognise one of them.

  11. @DevilDriver,
    Re your 11.03, I have mixed feelings about Sagna and what really amounts to him seeking a final big payday.
    After a few decades of quite obscene wages being paid to professional footballers, those in the top echelon have attained a standard of living far beyond their dreams.
    It follows therefore that with a relatively short career, players with any sense of family responsibility will take steps to safeguard that standard, the best way they can…..and who can blame them.

  12. Nicky
    I’m not even getting mixed feelings on this, but it looks like someone is going the full RvP on Sagna. He is (was) a good versatile, reliable defender who’s out of contract and wants to move on. He doesn’t (as DevilDriver suggests) owes us anything. It will soon be a case of; used to play for us, now plays for them. To paraphrase Ray Parlour: Sagna who?

  13. @DevilDriver

    You are overlooking one important thing in all this. Emotion.

    With RVP there was an overriding sense that ‘He owed us’

    He owed the fans who had been paying his wages whilst he spent half his time not playing.

    He owed Wenger, who despite his injury problems stood by him.

    He Owed Wenger and the Club, who stood by him when he was embroiled in a ‘rape’ allegation.

    Rightly or wrongly, there was a serious sense of betrayal, and he didn’t help himself either with an open letter that effectively rubbed our noses in it. The tone was something like this:

    “High guys, I want you to know I love you so I just want to keep you all in the picture, but the fact is you’re shit and I’m off”

    Obviously it was much more ‘flowery’ than that, but that was the gist of it.

    On the other hand Sagna has conducted himself impeccably both on the pitch, in front of our eyes, and in the media.

    You are right though, that ultimately he is leaving, but, as in life there are ‘amicable divorces’ and there are ‘Messy divorces’.

    Sagna’s is ‘Amicable’

    RVP’s was ‘messy’

    So although, ultimately the outcome is the same and possibly for pretty much the same reasons, one is just a lot easier to take than the other, though for me both are still hard to stomach.

  14. @Oldgrover,
    You’re quite right of course.
    One sad thing today in the professional game is that contracts are virtually meaningless.
    No sooner has a contract been signed than there is talk about an extension (probably instigated by a greedy leech of an agent).
    And when the final year arrives without an extension, there is wholesale panic at the club in order to prevent an Osman.

  15. jambug @ 8.57 am

    Well put.

    DevilDriver was in a moderately subtle way being deliberately distortional and confrontational.

  16. Hector Bellerin is a right back. If we buy another right back, he will be sent on loan to a premiership or a championship club to gain experience.

    Zelalem’s father has applied to a US citizenship. Zelalem has then applied for citizenship as a child of an applicant. The German law is such that if he gains US citizenship because of his father while a minor then he does not lose his German citizenship. At the age of 18, he would then be able to play in UK due to being German, while at the same play for U.S. Team. On a purely footballistic term, he is not ready. He had great vision going forward, but he lacks defensive awareness, tactical nous and physical strength. At U21, he was quite often bumped of the ball and that lead to goals. As he was played as a deep laying playmaker, his introduction to the more physical English game has not been a success. In my view at that level he had been outshone by Dan Crawley.

    Eisfeld is a strange player. He can be anonymous during an entire game and still pop in the box to score important goals. He needs to go on loan to eradicate this absences.

    Isaac Hayden is not the most gifted, but he is vocal on the pitch and has leadership quality. Now definitely a defensive central midfielder, he needs a good loan in a competitive team so he learn to better channel his aggression. At senior level, he is a red card waiting to happen. Better than Frimpong, he still need to stop those reckless dangerous tackles.

    Kristopher Olsson needs to go on loan in a championship club. If he was English, the Daily Heil would rave about him. He needs to add consistency and a physical edge to his game.

    Chuba Akpom has all the attributes to succeed at Arsenal and he has the trust of Arsène Wenger. A loan in a Championship team that play a positive, on the floor type of game would be ideal. If AFC buys two strikers (Remy as reported + another), then he needs to spend the entire season on loan. Otherwise, keep him for the Carling Cup and some bench warming duty against easier opponent, then loan him after our exit from the Carling Cup.

  17. Fabregas is one the most gifted players to have ever played for Arsenal and arguably in the EPL. If he does come to us, he’ll take us to the next level and most likely help us win that illusive league title. Along side Ramsey, he will dictate games and use Ramsey’s pace and new found eye for goal to hurt teams. He will use Ozil’s lightening speed accompanied by killer accurate true passes to change games in seconds and more excitingly with the sprints of Theo on the other side, No team will dare to keep a high line. And oh he is a beauty to watch when on the ball

  18. Wouldn’t Gnabry have had dual citizenship of both Germany and the US?

    Ryo’s time is come and gone I think, and Eisfeld is probably in last chance saloon (although you never know as Arteta, Diaby, Rosicky and Flamini are all out of contract in the next two years.)

    I think we’ll see the reserves doing less of their developing in the first team setup now, with the exception of the League Cup, and only a few will get a chance once they show themselves to be ready. While I would like our academy to produce more players, I’m not that fussed about it. Wenger will know when to play someone.

  19. @Shard

    Agree with you about Ryo, I was hoping he would really develop, but the injuries sustained at Wigan seem to have damaged his career – a pity – he was nearly as fast as Walcott.

    I am confident Gnabry will come through & am hopeful for one or two others, but they all will need to impress pre season.

    I also look forward to some of the more established youngsters – Ox in particular, but also Jenkinson, elevating their game to a new level and for Wilshere to recover fitness and form for next season.

  20. bjtgooner/shard

    I’m hopeful that the Ox will step up. Very close already and given an injury free run (that old chestnut) I see him cementing his place.

    I am a big Jenkinson fan. Since I first saw him I’ve been telling anyone who will listen he is a future England right back. I still believe he can reach that level. I guess his next run in the side (assuming he gets one) will go a long way to show if I’m right or wrong.

    Gnabry is the trickiest for me, but he’s already shown enough promise to be a valuable squad player.

    Nobody else has shown enough as yet to warrant anything else other than faint hope.

  21. I do not recall a “letter to you guys” (us, the fans) from the Sagna camp.
    Recouping money on van Pursie was a must, as he spent a lot of time getting injured while on International duty. Sagna was ever reliable, getting two leg breaks playing for Arsenal.

  22. @Jambug,
    Glad to read your view on Jenkinson as a potential Arsenal legend.
    Some folk think he isn’t ready to replace Sagna but I agree that with a real run in the first team, he would prove his value as our longterm right wing-back.
    His attacking play and crosses are more than equal to that of
    than Sagna, although he would need to tighten up his defensive duties. But this would come with more play IMO.
    Of great importance though, is his in-built devotion to Arsenal FC, an added gratuity to our Club, not given to many these days.

  23. jambug

    I think we can reasonably expect not only the Ox, but Walcott and Podolski to get more game time and have more of an output. I think Cazorla might need some rest at the start of the season. He’s virtually played non stop for over 2 years now. Played every game for Arsenal last season. Went to the confederations cup. Played quite a lot this season. and now has gone to the World Cup.

    On Jenkinson I agree. I think he’s going to be an England right back (unless there is some Arsenal bias there, I can’t understand why Gibbs wasn’t even in the reckoning for the World Cup) I think he’ll face competition at Arsenal next season, but I am sure he’ll be given a chance to impress.

    I like Gnabry and players that can contribute without taking up a space in the 25, might just be crucial. It was a pity he got injured at teh same time as the Ox and Theo. He would certainly have played more.

    Also, I think Sanogo will have a good season too. He might not play too much, but there’s just something very positive about him and his attitude seems spot on.

  24. Shard

    How did I forget Sanogo? I too have every confidence he is going to make an impact next year. In fact he did this year, with very limited playing time.

    As for Cazola, he started the season, then got injured between 14th of Sept to 14th Oct, missing half a dozen games.

    Since then he’s started 37 out of 44 games.

    The man certainly deserves a rest although to be fair going by his performance in the final he’s coping very well.

  25. @Shard&Jambug,
    Agree 100% about Sanogo. He’s raw and clumsy but this will change within a season.
    There’s something about him that suggests a bright future.
    Yet another magical signing by Arsene?
    He reminds me a bit like an early Adebayor but better mannered. 😉

  26. I know this is way of base but I want someone to tell me it’s not true because if it is I think the World really has gone mad.

    I have just seen a trailer on ITV for an HOUR LONG documentary there showing next Thursday called:


    All about his 4 weeks, yes FOUR FUCKING WEEKS, in charge at old Trafford.

    How much fucking further can the media get up Uniteds arse ?

    I mean I would of understood:


    But this. How fucking desperate can ITV get?

    Please please, somebody tell me this isn’t true !!!!

  27. @jambug
    Afraid it is true mate. Don’t forget to reserve some space on your sky box hard drive as I am sure you will want to record it for posterity.

  28. @Mick,
    Was that your deliberate mistake?
    Printing “posterity” instead of “posterior”.

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