Arsenal are famous for their development of young players, and though Arsene Wenger will spend countless hours this summer scouring the transfer market for new recruits, there are two very good reasons to suggest that he would be better off taking a closer look at his own training ground.
Two youngsters have been in the news recently – striker Chuba Akpom and midfielder Gedion Zelalem. Both are attracting headlines for different reasons, but by the same token they are the right reasons as the latter is the latest young player to be caught up in a tug of war between countries.
There’s high hopes for Akpom, having started to make headway into the first team this season. Following impressive cameos with the likes of Brentford, Coventry and Nottingham Forest, he chalked up seven appearances with the side.
The video below shows the striker showing off his skills during the 2-1 defeat to Mexico at the Toulon Tournament this week.
Seemingly trapped, he rolled the defender on his back with a cheeky back heel nutmeg before running onto his own through ball.
Wenger is known to be in the market for a new striker this summer, having been linked with the likes of Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema. But with ability and confidence like this, would he be right to block Akpom’s path to more first team action.
Zelalem, however, is still a little distance away from making regular appearances in the Gunners side. Having just turned 18, he has made just two appearances under Wenger, which both came in low pressure cup fixtures.
But like Akpom, he is another supremely talented young star to come through the club’s youth system, and unlike so many others, he looks as though he has a real chance of making it.
Featuring at the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand, Zelalem was featuring for the Untied States against the home nation.
In the video above, he displays his reading of the game, waiting for the right moment to slip a through ball into his striker after drawing four defenders onto him.
It may only be a youth tournament, but many players have been made at these events, and should they take this kind of form into the pre-season preparations they made find themselves in contention to get some more time with the big boys.