Saturday, September 23, 2023

A look at Arsenal’s defensive prospects

With both the Reserve and under-18 seasons having long since concluded and there being little in the way of concrete news regarding Arsenal’s youngsters, this seems like an appropriate opportunity to assess the current standing of the club’s development programme.

Having already assessed the goalkeeping situation in some detail, I will begin by looking at Arsenal’s defensive prospects.

It is fair to say that, for a club who once brought Tony Adams through the ranks, Arsenal haven’t had the best record in recent years of bringing through high-quality defenders with the obvious exception of Ashley Cole. Of the current first-team squad only Johan Djourou, who has been on Arsenal’s books since 2003 and has still to establish himself as a regular starter, and Kieran Gibbs, who was a left winger in his youth team days but was subsequently converted to full-back, have come through the ranks at the club.

Of those currently in the second string, Ignasi Miquel appears the closest to the first-team, with the Spanish centre-back, who is comfortable in possession, now having 11 Arsenal first-team appearances to his name, including four in the Premier League, with many of those outings coming at left-back. Clearly liked by Arsene Wenger, Miquel does still have some developing to do if he is to break into the squad on a long-term basis, and still needs to cut out the occasional lapses in concentration that threaten to blight his game. That said, a good spell with a Championship or League One side next season would stand him in good stead as he attempts to make a breakthrough.

Kyle Bartley, meanwhile, is still waiting for his big break, having made just a solitary first-team appearance for the club since joining in 2007. Since then he has experienced two loan spells apiece at Sheffield United and Rangers and, as he will turn 21 in the coming days, is likely to seek assurances that he will be in Wenger’s plans for next season. Like Miquel, costly errors still threaten to undermine him, but Bartley is at least likely to receive some game time for the club this pre-season.

Another centre-back, Daniel Boateng, made his Arsenal first-team debut as a late replacement for Thomas Vermaelen against Bolton Wanderers in the Carling Cup this season, but didn’t receive much game time whilst on loan at Swindon Town. He subsequently returned to Arsenal and featured in the final few Reserve games of the season, but, with Bartley and Miquel blocking his path, he is unlikely to make the grade in the long-term. Next season should see him go out on loan again, and he will be seeking to feature more regularly this time, before a probable departure next summer.

There are a clutch of defenders who are likely to see their associations with the club come to an end this summer. Centre-back Gavin Hoyte will definitely be released, with the 21 year old likely to be joined in that regard by left-back George Brislen-Hall, who is likely to continue his career in America. The future of diminutive left-back Jernade Meade will be a tougher call to make given the promise that he has demonstrated this season, whilst Sead Hajrovic, who can play at right-back and centre-back, has returned from a stint at Barnet but is another prime candidate to depart.

Beyond them, Nico Yennaris is a midfielder by trade and will therefore be covered next week, but Swiss centre-back Martin Angha can reflect on an impressive campaign during which he turned out for the Reserves more often than any other player. A loan spell is likely to follow next season, especially given that Angha has demonstrated his versatility by operating in both full-back berths and even as a right-winger on occasion.

His compatriot Elton Monteiro has shown some signs of improvement following an incredibly shaky start, but remains unlikely to make a breakthrough, whilst this summer may finally be the one in which a decision is made on the long-term future of Pedro Botelho, the left-sided Brazilian who joined Arsenal in 2007 but, owing to work permit problems, has yet to make an appearance for the club at any level, instead experiencing five separate loan spells in Spain.

With regards to the under-18s, Isaac Hayden capped off an impressive first season as a scholar by signing a professional contract and earning his maiden call-up to the Reserve squad. A centre-back also capable of operating in defensive-midfield, Hayden certainly caught the eye during 2011/12, whilst another centre-back, Zach Fagan, showed promise in patches but still needs to adapt to some aspects of Academy League football.

Hector Bellerin shone during his first season at the club following his move from Barcelona, but still appears far more comfortable in an attacking sense than he does defensively. The club are still to announce their decisions on the remaining second year scholars but, as far as the defenders are concerned, Samir Bihmoutine is likely to receive a professional contract, Ben Glasgow will have his scholarship extended by a further year, and James Campbell will in all probability be released.

A promising new batch of defenders will be starting full-time at London Colney in the summer. Leander Siemann, signed from Hertha Berlin, looks promising, as does Tom Dallison, a centre-back acquired from West Ham. Arinse Uade and Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill, with the latter having already trained with the first-team squad, will also be seeking to impress next season.



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We need a few defender to replace Squid. The like of Miquel and Kyle are my best favorite.


a cardboard cut out of koscielney is probably about as good as squid


Even if they made it…. according to history, they’ll be sold once they get better.

So what’s the point? With such ambition and policy… it is a disgrace to football and Arsenal.


Ooh, a fan that disgraces the name of Arsenal. Joy.

Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

Can we sell you beforehand and get a real Arsenal supporter in your place Mr.AAA?


Kyle Bartley can become a really good defender for us, but the Boss has to give him a shot here. Behind Verm, Kos and Mert; we can have Miquel and Bartley, which is a CB core I’d be more than happy with.


Surely Djourou should be in there somewhere? Granted he isn’t the best but as 4th choice he is not bad at all given he was starting – and doing rather well – for us just a season or so ago


we should be really happy to have djourou name a team in the prem that have a better 4th choice, he’s probably about as good as johnny evans and is better than savic at man city,


For someone who can’t really watch and follow the loanees, the Reserves, the U-18’s, and the Academy, these kinds of articles are pure gold! Thank you, Mr. Bird.

Anyway, I like the look of Bartley; he’s a man-mountain, and he’s proven he can tough it out in a physical Scottish League. He could form a decent partnership with the ball playing Miquel, especially in Carling Cup games. I hope Bouldy can sort out their concentration issues though, same with the Verminator!


Very true. Jeorge Bird articles always enlighten us about our youth. On to Bartley, may be I am the only one who has reservations over him. I am really not sure about him. At Rangers he played as a DM for many games. And he has injury concerns. If I am not getting it wrong he has around half the season out injured for past two years. On the other hand I am very positive on Ignasi. The lad has been excellant every time he plays. Even against Liverpool, he was excellent. He had a decent game. He’s ball playing… Read more »


I know this is off topic, but I am so annoyed I just have to vent my anger. Has anybody read what big Pat said about RVP’s contract situation? The man is a legend but he needs to shut the fuck up. I don’t care if you think city should go out and buy him keep that to yourself. Also who the fuck are you to say we should of done it ages ago? Do you think they didn’t try to do in months ago?! He said he wasn’t going to talk untill the end of season so that’s hardly… Read more »


When he was asked why he joined city and not arsenal he said he wasn’t asked… Hardly his fault, and ya I agree he should shut the fuck up


Some players remain as legends in arsenal folklore. others like vieira oleary and to some extent merson and wright blight that stautus with their outrageos foot in mouth comments. true some comments have to be taken with a pinch of salt whilst others ignored as they have been reworded to sell newspapers. but when you listen to the way some ex players talk about the club then how others do you can see the ones that are bitter and the others that show their class and love for the club. anyway back to the topic. of all the reserve defenders… Read more »


Perhaps I didn’t see his full comments, but I don’t think he said anything that outrageous. He said what we all think: if RvP joins City, or Juventus, players and fans will struggle to see us as an absolute top club.

Midfield Corporal

Is it the place of a Man City employee to comment? I don’t hear Dick Law gobbing off about city. I loved watching Vieira as a player, but the constant will he won’t he go scenario wore me out every summer, and strangely Pat didn’t have much to say back then, he just used to sign his renogotiated contract. Part of me was pleased when we said ‘fuck you’ you’re of no use now we’re selling you.


Man you had me freaking out for a second. I thought you were talking about Pat Rice at first.


You invitation to whine like a girl that an employee of a football club stated in an interview that he would like his club to buy a player of another club: DECLINED.

Sydney Gooner

Hopefully Hector Bellerin can be our Dani Alves in the future.


If he’s not going to adopt the diving and being a c*nt that seems to be part of being dani alves, I’d be fine with it


I’d rather he wasn’t an ugly little cheating scumbag for us.


Saw Bartley play for Rangers against St Johnstone on BBC Alba and he really wasn’t anything to write home about


Rangers aren’t really anything to write home about


Agreed. I find we are susceptible to over-rate Bartley a wee bit. Something to do with him being rather tall and English, I suppose.

Miquel is a better player, and I see him, and not Bartley, replacing the Squid. (That is, I see us replacing Squid from within rather than buying a new defender this summer.)


Veira is fucking right you ediots. Open ur eyes and see what’s going on!!!! If we can’t keep van persie then what the fucking message we giving to the supporters and to the team? Arsenal should spend on at least three world class players to compete with big boys and to keep our captain. Don’t hate Veira cuz he said the truth. He still love arsenal and trust me if arsenal offered him same position he will take it in heart beat. You ediots are just crying open ur eyes and understand the game. No big signings and the captain… Read more »


That’s right, I’m an ‘ediot’.

Cygan's Right Foot

Does this sound like you? EDiot – An Encyclopaedia Dramatica user who causes drama rather than documents it. In reality EDiots main goal is to prove that the internet is serious business.
You can even have… ediot – A person who is absolutely crap when it comes to doing anything that involves electronic things such as computers. The fact he is addressing posters on this blog shows that they can use electronic things unless his computer is powered by hamsters and wind….

Midfield Corporal

I thought an Ediot was some bloke in charge of a newspaper.

Cygan's Right Foot

Yawn, I think the Liverpool fanbase have space for you if you think just throwing money at a team sorts out all the problems. Maybe you can ‘cry open ur eyes’ over Kenny’s demise.


Mate, you give us Americans a bad name.


Oh one more thing. Watch Henry saying same thing on espn magazine and now u hate him too soon fuckers. It airs tonight


Go back to Le Grove.


I don’t agree with this guy’s tone and the “3 WC players needed” comment, but I don’t think Vieira said anything really outrageous. He said if we can’t keep hold of van Persie, we won’t be seen as a big club so much. I agree with him. So does Arsene Wenger, who said EXACTLY the same thing about Nasri last year (and yet Nasri was eventually sold, so i suspect Stan Kroenke’s limited his power at the club) in an interview with The Guardian.


agree with you feygooner.
i don’t want another summer where our own fans say ‘sell him and re-invest’.
that is much much harder than keeping RVP.


GunnersfromUSA has some anger management issues…


The issue is not whether Vieira’s comments ring true or not; the issue is that they’re coming from a City employee, and one with interests in our player. Hardly appropriate.

Hopefully you are able to understand this basic bit of sport? Hopefully you are also able to understand why the same comments from someone like Henry whose club has no interest in Van Persie will be taken differently?

No? Not clear?


given that Bould’s been the coach of the U18’s for quite some time now; isn’t this showing that he might not be the answer to our first team defensive worries as he has yet to “create” a great CB from the u18’s?

Also, why do so many young cb’s like Bartley think they should belong to a first team when they are just 21? that’s nothing for a CB who hits his prime ~30.


“might not be the answer to our first team defensive worries”

No problem to be honest. People just like being cunts and bigging shit up.


I f i was Van persie i would just say,Arsene,i don’t care if you like it or not ,
if you don’t get your cheque book out and start spending,on good class
players at least four, then i’m off, we’ve got a crapp side at the moment and
i’m not happy,i can do better elseware, if you make me stay for another season,
apart from loosing a large transfer fee,i’ll start hitting the ball into the stands instead of the goal and spend a lot of time in the treatment room.

Merlin's Panini

If I was Van Persie I would say “sure I’ll sign.” But I’m not. The end.
If he’s really a Gooner like he says he is, he’ll sign, if he’s not he’ll go, then probably regret it later as everyone always does (apart from Nasrat).
Also, anyone else remember when RVP signed his last contract he said “I’m devoting my best years to Arsenal”, well, we’ve only seen one full year so far Robin, in eight years, so how’s about fulfilling the plural in your devotion?
We’d be delighted if you did.


That’s well said.

Chris g

I saw a few reserve games last season definatly liked the look of martin angha think he will make the team next season with kyle bartley,they cant be any worse than squallchi?meade also a good player but may be too small for premier leauge football,hope im proved wrong


Why is Hajrovic leaving? I sware he’s won the world cup. furthermore he’s only 18, bit early to release him is it not?


Seriously guys look at our team and look at real,barca, and. Bayern. …. How many from our squad will start in those teams? Honestly not lot will start and to be a winner in this 21st century u need to buy title Period. The days of building a team with young talent is gone..well u can do that but u need some amazing talent to mix with it…. We all want arsenal to do good and win every cup on plant earth but the truth is they can’t win premier league if they can’t invest big. If there is… Read more »


Seems GunnersfromUSA is upset because his team hasn’t won anything in 7 years.
Tough luck.
I wasn’t alive when it happened, but this club went 18 years without winning the league, with a solitary FA Cup and League Cup in between.


Also, learn how to bloody type in a more coherent way.


When have you ever seen arsene buy a world class player? Never. He won’t change now will he, he always buys them and turns them world class, it’s just his thing I suppose. Also it’s not just the team that wins you the league it’s the manager as well. Look at Dortmund and montpellier they Won there leagues even with teams who spend millions and millions more. So say we do buy 2 or 3 world class players and win nothing? Then what? I think we should leave managing the team to arsene not people who play football manager. I… Read more »


The truth is we were never in contention for any trophy this season and that’s with one of the worlds best strikers. Within ten games the title was out of reach even arsene recognised that. Yes we had injuries but that just highlighted the weakness of our squad at times. We almost fel apart in the run and that was with our strongest defence. It’s not about spending city type money we have the nucleus of a very good team but it needs strengthening. If rvp leaves it will be due to lack of assurances on signings and not due… Read more »


@gunnersfromusa: who says u ought to buy titles in the 21st century? take a look at Dortmund. more than half the team came through their youth system and they are a delight to watch.. I feel the rvp situation is gonna be a drag cuz Wenger himself has only a yr left on his contract. and he said if he felt he couldn’t deliver the goods he would not extend it. so if I were Wenger I would go hell for leather and invest a bit of our profits in 1 or 2 quality players like arteta.. not names or… Read more »


It would be pretty tragic if we can’t keep Van Persie. The guy loves the club, but wants to know that they’re at least going to try and win stuff. If we can’t convince him of that, then really, what’s the point in Arsenal anymore? One of the richest clubs in the world, yet not seriously looking to challenge for major honours? Profitable business though, I guess.

Chris g

Good comment.really dont want to see him go we cannot let our best players go year after year it has to stop,but the only saving grace is if he does go than i hope its to real,barca or juve cant bare to see him for another english team

Merlin's Panini

Agreed, but I’d also hate to see him in a Barca shirt. I swear, as soon as you move to that club your face starts looking more smug. Really don’t want to be hearing that foghorn mouthed cunt Xavi, Puyol, Pique or any of them talking about any of our players again.

Chris g

Talking of our acadamy does anybody have any info on kyle young,ashleys younger brother?last i heard he was in acadamy and a lot more potential than his light- footed brother but havnt heard much since

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@mid corp…….before the invincibles year, vierra was ready to quit arsenal for juventus but somehow wenger convinced him of a great season and for sure we had the unrealest season of all. Apparently though.viera was still unsettled so the next year he left for a fairly unsuccesful juve team. I think it’s like we’ve been jinxed or condemned to loose one of our star players every fweakin year such that we keep rebuilding our already weakened team. Until this situation has been addressed then a bleak future will always be behind that proverbial closed door.

Th legend

Is it me or is it a bit of a sign that the minute we make someone cpt of this great club someone automatically wants him 🙁 if I was arsene wenger in the morning I’d hand the cpts armband to squil,bentner,denilison or vela and tell um fuck off

Merlin's Panini

yeh, I’d noticed that too. Vieira, Cesc, Henry, RVP (maybe, probably), then who? If this does happen, who would be the next captain? Vermaelen? For me, he’s got a little bit of maturing to do before he could captain Arsenal. I think he needs to temper his forays forward a little more. I’d pick Arteta or Rosicky myself, whichever one stays in the side as a starter when Jack is back. I can’t really be sure if Jack will drop into the role he was playing before with Arteta/Rosicky in front of him or if he’ll be given the role… Read more »


Great article, nice to read about the youngsters. One I want to see play next year in particular is Angha, who may have to play for the first team early next season at RB while Sagna recovers. That versatility could be useful. I’d also like to see Bartley replace the sQuid and Miquel out on loan to toughen up and get experience to cover those mental lapses. Miquel is probably the most exciting prospect because he can pass so well. We’re at our best when our CBs are pinging long diagonal balls to Walcott, Ox, Gervinho etc. But he needs… Read more »


@gunnersfromUSA you’re being a bit dramatic, there’s lots of time for this to play out. Tomorrow is the end of the Ligue 1 season, after which I believe we’ll sign M’Vila. Its between us and Inter, and we can offer UCL while Inter can’t. We denied our interest because both clubs agreed to keep the move secret. Wenger usually signs players before an international tournament that they’re playing in (think Rosicky, Nasri). He’s already got Podolski, although that wasn’t made official until Koln’s season was basically finished. I think we’re handling this M’Vila transfer the same way. If the additions… Read more »

Teodoro Schuber

Anger management is really required if you are getting a lot of problems with your companions and friends. “.*;. Kind regards foodsupplementdigest

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