Tag Archives: Jeff Reine-Adelaide

What does the future hold for 6 Arsenal youngsters

Konstantinos Mavropanos

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.

Reiss Nelson

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.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide

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.

Eddie Nketiah

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.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

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.

Keenos

3 loanees compete for second chance at Arsenal

Lucas Perez

There has already been plenty of talk that Unai Emery fancies a bit of Lucas Perez.

The squad that finished the season last year was one attacker short. A wide man. We need someone to fill the talent gap between Alex Iwobi and Henrik Mkhitaryan. We need a winger who is also comfortable inside.

A budget solution will be Lucas Perez returning to the squad.

The 30-year-old Spaniard joined Arsenal in 2016 for £17.1 million from Deportivo, but struggled for game time.

7 goals in 21 games was not the worst, but 5 of those goals came in two games – against Nottingham Forest and FC Basel.

Last year, he was shipped back to Deportivo where he struggled to find the form that led to his big transfer to Arsenal.

His struggles back in Spain have been well document, with Deportivo writing “Get out of our club” on his former house in the Spanish city.

Despite struggling, he still contributed 8 goals and 6 assists in La Liga last season.

I would not be entirely happy if he returned, but we should not sell him until we get in that extra attacker.

Joel Campbell

Despite being told many years ago to “get out whilst you can Joel”, the Costa Rican forward is some how still on the books at Arsenal.

He created a lot of debate whilst at the club, with many claiming he should have got more game time.

Having struggled to get a work permit after agreeing to join the club in 2011, Campbell played 40 games in the two seasons he was part of the first team squad – scoring just 4 goals.

Since then, he has struggled on loan deals in Spain (for Villarreal & Real Betis) and Portugal (for sporting) – perhaps showing that he does not quite have it for the top level.

At all 3 clubs, he struggled to become a first team regular, scoring just 6 goals in 59 games. His career is pretty much 1 in 10.

For the same reason as we might keep hold of Lucas Perez, Joel Campbell might get a second life at Arsenal if we do not recruit the forward that we need.

It would take Arsenal to not sign anyone, and cash in on Lucas Perez, but there is an outside chance that he might still be at Arsenal when the transfer window shuts in early August.

No longer a youngster – he recently turned 25 – Campbell played 90 minutes against Switzerland (his first start of this World Cup). He looked quite impressive. Assisted the first goal and won the penalty for the second.

There is confusion as to whether his contract runs out in 2018 or 2019.

If it is 2018, today will be the last day he is at arsenal making these 281 word pointless.

Jeff Reine-Adélaïde

It is 3 summers since Frenchman Jeff Reine-Adelaide had an impressive pre season that got a lot of Arsenal fans exicted. He has since shown how hard it is to go from talented teenager to established senior pro.

Now 20, he spent the second half of last season on loan to Angers in the French Ligue 1, where he failed to score or assist in 443 minutes of football; his light being a man of the Match performance against Bordeaux.

In 2017 he looked on the verge of breaking into the first team squad, but an injury in January ruled him out for nearly 12 months.

Arsenal might decide that rather than spend big on a talented youngster to provide the width and competition, to give one of their own a chance.

Personally, I would like us to still sign someone between Iwobi and Mkhitaryan (Jeff is not as good as Iwobi) and then keep Jeff in the squad for the Europa League – at 20-years-old he does not take up a first team squad place.

Keenos

After last nights performance, is Arsenal Youth cupboard bare?

Two blogs in two days. That is what having no sleep yesterday, and having shed loads of coffee today does to a man. Also having booked a day off work, it left not much else then to sit and contemplate yesterday’s performance.

In this mornings blog, I was heavily critical of the Arsenal youngsters that played. Iwobi, Kamara & Bennacer. All clearly out of their depth. Clearly not good enough.

Added to this, Arsenal have not exactly pulled up any trees in recent years in youth competitions, finishing bottom of the U18s last season and only 4 wins from 11 games (and to points off league leaders Chelsea), it is clear we have some issues. Although our U21s are currently played 5, won 5.

If Iwobi, Kamara & Bennacer are the best we have coming through, it is unlikely we will be developing the next Jack Wilshere any time some. It is just as likely that we will not be developing the next Emmanuel Frimpong either, by the standard set of those last night.

Saying that, this is only half the truth. When you actually dig down into Arsenal’s youth set up, including reading Jorge Bird’s Arsenal Youth site, it is perhaps easy to establish that Kamara, Iwobi & Bennacer are not the best youngesters coming through. And last night, the simple fact is, our best youth products were not available for selection.

Going through Arsenal’s loanees page and the aforementioned site by Jorge Bird, there is a list of 9 players all aged 20 or under, who did not play last night. All of whom have a brighter future than Kamara, Iwobi & Bennacer.

Hector Bellerin – I am sure had it not been for his progression into the first team which has seen him become, in my opinion, the best right back in the league, Bellerin would have played last night, and we would all be going on about his potential. Instead, he is the first name on the team sheet (actually, second as the goal keeper go’s first) and we talk about his ability now, rather than his potential. Still just 20.

Serge Gnabry – Kind of the forgotten man at Arsenal. He made is debut in the League Cup competition 3 years ago against Coventry in a 6-1 victory and the season after, looked to be making great strides, playing in 14 games in total, and getting a nomination for European Gold Boy. However, his 2014/15 never got up and running due to that Arsenal curse. Injury. This year, he finds himself off loan at WBA, where Tony Pullis recently said that Gnabry just hasn’t been for me”. Whether it is Gnabry’s weakness at the breakdown, or because he is not the best scrummager, that has led to him being dropped by Pullis is not clear.

The lad is a clear talent. The effect of his injury has had on him we do not yet, and the year spent playing rugby for WBA will not help his development. But he is still just 20. That is 3 years younger than Joel Campbell and just a year older than Alex Iwobi. He is a stand out talent.

Next season, he will return to the Arsenal squad, probably taking Joel Campbell’s place, providing the back up on the wings for Sanchez, Oxlade-Chamberlain & Walcott.

Gedion Zelalem  – Alongside Gnabry, he is another youngster who made his debut a few years ago. After a few solid pre season tours, he found last year, like Gnabry, curtailed by injury. Now on loan at Rangers, he is still just 18. Incredible for a player who has been at the club for so long.

His current loan deal is set to expire at the end of the year, but so impressed with him, Rangers are looking to extend that until the end of the season.

Last night, he surely would have provided the side with the vision and passing it sorely missed?

Chuba Akpom – When we let go Benik Afobe – whom many still complain about – it had nothing to do with Yaya Sanogo, and everything to do with Chuba Akpom. Nearly 3 years young, Akpom had all ready taken over Afobe in terms of talent when he was just 18. With just 3 goals so far this year on loan at Hull, he still has someway to go to fulfill his potential that at one time, had Barcelona sniffing around. He might not make it at Arsenal, but he is better than anything on show last night (and better than Sanogo).

Dan Crowley – Last night, we failed to create anything. I can not remember a single clear cut chance. After Oxlade-Chamberlain went off, it left Flamini as our midfield creator. Still just 18, he is a pocket dynamo. His loan spell at Barnsley was today cut short, with the press reporting this as ‘failing to make an impact’. However, with a lack of midfield options, he might find himself back at Arsenal and with the first team. Think Jack Wilshere. Just not as good.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – He of the very angry mother who last season was banned from the club after a bust up with club staff. If he was not any good, the club would have good rid after the issue – ala Jay Bothroyd – but they kept with him. He became the second youngest player to play for Arsenal in the Champions League last year against Galatasaray, where he played through the middle. Comfortable on the ball, he has power and pace and can pick out a path. Sadly, a loan deal with Ipswich stopped him playing. He has impressed their if you are wondering. And he is still just 18.

Isaac Hayden – At Hull alongside Akpom, the former U21 captain is still just 20. With 2 appearances to Arsenal to his name, the centre back / defensive midfielder would surely have been a better bet (and is a better prospect) than Glen Kamara.

Jon Toral – His future could well end up as being the answer to the quiz question “Which player joined Arsenal on the same day from Barcelona as club legend Hector Bellerin?” But for now, he is simply still a prospect. His career has not taken off as much as Bellerin, but he is a good player. He scored his first senior hat trick for Brentford last year during a loan spell. Currently at Birmingham, he is perhaps another who, whilst might not have a long term future at Arsenal, is certainly better than those who started last night.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide – Up until now, everyone we have discussed has been out on loan. Jeff is different. He is currently playing for France in the FIFA U17 World Cup. Just 17, he was this summers player that Arsenal fan’s over hyped after a few good performances in pre season.

I am sure we would have seen him in this year’s League Cup had it not been for drawing Spurs in the 3rd round, and him being away yesterday on International duty. If you want to see what we missed, he plays tomorrow for France against Costa Rica. I know nothing about him, but YouTube makes him look good.

Also currently at the tournament are 17 year old fowards Kaylen Hinds, Chris Willock & Stephy Mavididi, all of whom are their representing England. Add in the likes of Bielek (17), Dragomir (16), Bola (17), Fortune (16) & Nelson (15), all of whom this years League Cup was perhaps a year or two too early for their development (maybe Bennacer falls into this as well, he is, after all, just 17), we do have some decent youngsters at the club.

 

Last night was not a good example of the youngsters we have at the club. Due to different reasons, many of our top prospects were not available last night, leaving the likes of Kamara, Iwobi & Bennacer to be the best of the rest. All 3 would struggle to make an Arsenal U21 side. A side which, had it played last night, would probably have gone through to the next round of the League Cup.

Arsenal U21 side:

Masey
Bellerin Chambers Hayden Bola
Zalelem Crowley
Gnabry Jeff Naitland-Miles
Akpom

Bench: Huddart, Moore, Bielek, Toral, Willock, Hinds, Mavididi

Keenos