Omari Hutchinson has been on most of our radar since a video of him as a 12-year-old went viral in 2016.
Usually these sort of players disappear off the map without a sniff. But in Hutchinson’s case it was looking like he might have a chance to make it.
Now 18, there was talk that he might get an opportunity in the Europa League and League Cup during the first half of the season. That would be followed by a second half of the season loan to “complete his education”.
But instead it looks like he is off to Chelsea.
Now many will bemoan Arsenal losing a bright young talent to a rival.
Some have already blamed Mikel Arteta for “not giving youngsters a chance” despite him consistently fielding the youngest team in the Premier League last season.
We have seen Hale End graduates Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe become first team regulars under his tutorage. Whilst Eddie Nketiah has done enough to earn himself a new contract.
I have always been of the option that you “can not develop them all”.
Senior game time is limited at clubs like Arsenal. We have to choose who we will back.
That will always lead to some moaning that one player has lacked game time whilst others get it.
Henri Lansbury “never got a fair crack of the whip” at Arsenal because a certain Jack Wilshere was given the minutes.
Likewise Reiss Nelson’s game time evaporated whilst Saka exploded onto the scene.
The majority of Arsenal youngsters will leave us before ever getting a chance. And very few, if any, have proved the club wrong over the years.
Two of the most “high profile” departures in recent years were Stephen Mavididi and Marcus McGuane.
Mavididi found himself in competition with Nketiah and, with a Florian Balogun also coming up the ranks behind, his game time was limited.
Mavididi opted to join Juventus. He wod make one league appearance for the Old Lady before joining Montpellier in France.
A big deal was made of McGuane joining Barcelona. An even bigger deal was made when he played for them in a friendly – the British media wrongly claiming that he had made his senior debut.
Four years after leaving Arsenal, McGuane is back in England plying for Oxford United.
Another to recently leave is was Sam Greenwood.
He left for Leeds United in the summer of 2020 to get more senior game time. One league start in two seasons for the Yorkshire club.
Hutchinson departure is certainly not a blow to Arsenal.
The winger, born in 2003, has found himself buying Saka and Martinelli (both 2001 born) and Smith Rowe (2000).
These three men kept Nicolas Pepe out the team last season. You will have to be very special to get a chance ahead of them.
This summer Arsenal also recruited Brazilian starlet Marquinhos.
Marquinhos was out straight into the first team squad and is on the plan to the USA. He is just 6 months older than Hutchinson.
Now some might complain as to why we signed Marquinhos rather than giving Hutchinson a go.
Let’s remember Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Edu and their teams know much more about the talents of both players then any of us.
If they have the combined belief that Marquinhos is a better talent than Hutchinson then so be it!
Likewise, I imagine Hutchinson will be very disappointed to see someone of a same age, in the same position, be bought and get a chance ahead of him. But that is football.
Like Akpom led to Afobe leaving and Nketiah led to Akpom departing, you move on if a better player is available.
The only thing I do not really get is if Hutchinson has moved due to lack of game time, why join Chelsea? If he is not good enough for us he is certainly not good enough for them.
I imagine by the time he leaves Chelsea, he would have had more loan clubs than senior starts for them.
I wish Hutchinson luck on the future. But I am not going to lose any sleep over his departure.