I have seen a lot of people put the 20-year-old Greek centre back into their starting XI’s for next season. This is premature.
Let’s look at it logically. He played 3 Premier League games last season. Was excellent in one (defeat to United), little to do in the second (5-0 win over Burnley) and was sent off after 15 minutes in the 3rd (Leicester).
He looks a strong, talented boy, but there is zero justification to to call for him to start alongside Sokratis against Manchester City.
I saw one fan tweet that “Mavropanos should start to help Sokratis get used to the pace of the Premie League”. But who will then help Mavropanos?
I do expect the Greek man to be involved next year; with Laurent Koscielny out until 2019 he will be battling it out with Rob Holding as 4th choice centre back.
He will get plenty of game time in the first half of the season, with Europa League and League Cup games. Either he or Rob Holding will go out on loan in the second half depending on Koscielny’s return to fitness and the form and fitness of others.
A bit like Mavropanos now, Reiss Nelson suffered from overhyping last season, and did not progress as some fans would have hoped. But this is more due to their high expectations rather than his performances.
It is easy to forget he is still just 18.
I expect Nelson to be evolved more this season.
With our transfer business seemingly over for the summer, it is unlikely we will sign the player to fill the skill gap between Iwobi and Mkhitaryan that I desire. Instead it seems Lucas Perez will be that player, for a season at least.
Like Mavropanos, I expect him to play a big part in the Europa League and League Cup, where he will play alongside Iwobi.
He has a fairly simple to explain task. Over the next 6 months he needs to outperform both Iwobi and Perez in those Europa League games.
That is not to say if he doesn’t he will be written off. This time next year he will still be 19. Just the performances could dictate what happens to him in the second half of the season and what happens to Iwobi and Perez next season.
If Nelson out performs the pair in those early “b-team” games; he might find himself ahead of them in the pecking order for the second half of the season.
If he does not move ahead of them, it would be worthwhile sending him out on loan to a play-off chasing Championship side in the second half of the season. One where he would get 20 or so games.
If he has a solid season, at Arsenal or on loan, Iwobi and Perez should be worried about their futures.
The young Frenchman has not built on a promising early start to his Arsenal career.
He joined the club 3 years ago and you do not feel he has progressed too much in that time.
He suffered an injury in early 2017 which ruled him out for 12 months which has hampered his progress.
Jeff’s big issue is Nelson has moved ahead of him in the pecking order. The young Englishman is 2 years his junior.
Nelson already looks better than his elder team mate, so you have to think Jeff will be sent on loan for the entire season.
Another to suffer from a lot of hype after two goals against Norwich last season.
Still just 19-years-old, you have to wonder where he will get game time next season.
Arsenal are likely to play one upfront. That will leave Nketiah behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck.
Some will say he should be ahead of Welbeck, those people are idiots. The England international might not be everyone’s cup of tea but he is better than young-Eddie.
With Welbeck’s contract set to expire next season, I would like to see Nketiah sent on loan to a top end Championship side. His task will be to show that next season, when Welbeck leaves, he is ready to be 3rd choice Arsenal striker.
He is going nowhere.
28 games last season, I expect a similar amount of game time this season. Only difference is this season he will be a central midfielder rather than a utility man.
I am excited for his future.
Emile Smith Rowe
17-year-old Emile Smith Rowe looks to be this summer’s break through youth player after he was added to the experienced squad for the game against Boreham Wood.
Smith Rowe was Arsenal’s standout performer in their run to the FA Youth Cup final, although he was part of the side that fell 7-1 on aggregate to Chelsea. The attacking midfielder won the Under-17 World Cup with England last summer.
He has described as a mixture of Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain due to his ability to unlock defences with his passing and ability to drive forward with the ball.
Next season will see him hopefully train full time with the first team. Hew is unlikely to go on loan as Arsenal will wish to continue his development training and learning from the likes of Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
A move out on loan will be pencilled in for 2019/20.