Thursday, June 1, 2023

Clutch of youngsters depart ahead of new campaign

It is only the first full week of June, but Arsenal have already made something of a cull at Reserve and youth level, releasing six players and allowing one to leave, with another on the verge of completing a move today.

Oguzhan Ozyakup is perhaps the most prominent of those players referred to, with the midfielder, who recently switched his allegiance to Turkey in terms of international football, poised for a move to Besiktas. The 19 year old made two Carling Cup appearances for Arsenal last season, and was on the bench for games against Manchester United and AC Milan, but was reluctant to go out on loan and, with it being difficult to envisage a long-term breakthrough into the first-team, he has elected to depart, with the move expected to be tied up shortly.

Right-back Ben Glasgow, meanwhile, has joined Stoke City, having signed a professional contract with the Premier League club. Glasgow, a Republic of Ireland youth international, was approaching the end of his deal at Arsenal and had only been offered an extension of his scholarship by the Gunners, and has decided to move to the Britannia Stadium in the hope of establishing himself in the Reserve side there, something which, largely owing to injury problems, he was unable to do at Arsenal.

In addition, six players will be officially released when their contracts expire at the end of the month, with Gavin Hoyte, Rhys Murphy, Sean McDermott, George Brislen-Hall, James Campbell and Jeffrey Monakana all allowed to depart. Some have already planned ahead for next season, with Monakana set to be part of Preston North End’s first-team squad, whilst Campbell will spend pre-season with Dundee United in the hope of earning a permanent move. That’s not to mention Alban Bunjaku, who departed the club months ago, although his move is yet to be officially confirmed.

More players could join them in heading for the exit door in the coming weeks and months, with the likes of Sanchez Watt and Craig Eastmond prime candidates to depart, whilst others, such as Henri Lansbury and Kyle Bartley, will hold discussions with Arsene Wenger regarding their futures before deciding their next step.

Why are the club letting so many young players go? One reason is that, with a large number of players already on their books, they are having to clear the decks ahead of the new campaign, when 12 new youngsters will start their scholarships at London Colney. Furthermore, the restrictions imposed by the 25-man squad rule in the Premier League have meant that, over the past couple of years, the club have become considerably more ruthless when deciding the futures of young players from outside the first-team squad. The likes of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Roarie Deacon and Nacer Barazite may well have stayed longer were it not for this rule, and the process is likely to continue in coming seasons as Arsenal continue in their aim of assembling competent young players ready to break into the squad.


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Andrew C

The 25 man rule has nothing to do with it. I think players under 21 (that were trained as youngsters with the club) are “free” players and not included in the 25.

Master Bates

Exactly! it’s a pyramid scheme , nothing wrong with that

Cygan's Right Foot

But at some point they will be part of the 25 players and obviously aren’t showing enough signs of being better than what we already have.


The 25 man rule has everything to do with it. most of these players are getting close or were at the point where they would have to be named in the 25 or depart. crap rule and putting epl teams at a disadbantage.


Jeorge, I am not sure I agree with your interpretation. They could be kept until they reach 21 and then moved on, there is no need to do so now. I think the club are looking at the chances of them succeeding at senior level and making a judgement call as to the ones most likely to do it. I think even without the stupid 25 player rule they would have been released.


Respectfully disagree on the grounds that by age 18 an Arsenal player should be playing first team football somewhere – for their own career or purely for development purposes. To ask a player to hang about until 21 in the hopes of maybe breaking into the squad is asking too much.

Andrew C

Fair point

Glory hunter

What a waste, will we get any compensation if any of the released players sign professional contracts with other teams?


It’s releasing them or offering them a professional contract, probably worth around £400k each over 4 years.

unreal gooner

All over sudden it seems as though everyone is leaving the club. Ozyakup for one was a good player and even made the bench for a champs league game and i thought it was just a matter of time before he’d break into the first team. I sleep, wake up and the next day he’s having a medical at besiktas. Sorry for him and for arsenal for releasing such a talented kid.


Very sad to see Ozyakup go, I think he could’ve been a legit squad player for a couple years before truly seizing a spot in the first team. I think his patience had run out and like a lot of youngsters thinks he’s ready and is willing to move to make it happen. While I can’t say I blame him, sometimes it’s more prudent to listen to those ahead of you. He’s going to play in Turkey, enough said. He can learn the game there and make a big name for himself and then Spuds will try to sign him… Read more »


Yeah so true. Nothing tastes your patience more than having a sniff of playing in the champs league only to end up as an unused sub. After that he had to think to himself “will i ever get to the first team? and if so, when?. ……..I’m loathed at loosing one of the prospects i had high hopes for. Wish him success.

P/s: appreciate if you have a nice little stamp on bale when you meet in the europa league and please dont hesitate to knock a few past their grandpa of a goalkeeper.


Glory Hunter,
Only a waste in the event that one of these players makes a major breakthrough. The record of letting young players go over the last few years is pretty good. I can’t think of any that have gone who are now major stars or who would otherwise be pushing for the first team…..

Rad Carrot

Agreed. The only player that constantly sticks in my mind is Upson – I know that was years ago now, but that was the one player I was amazed at losing. He really could have done a job for us, at least for a few years. I seem to remember us losing a centre-back or two at the crucial stage of the season and Upson could have filled that gap.

Recently though, I can’t name a truly successful player who was released from our academy.


Upson was completely different mate, he left at after breaking both his legs one after the other and then didnt want to fight for his place, so was sold. Just as Ozyakup didnt want to go on loan, hence his sale.

But we dont tend to let really good players go.

I was really hopeful of Bunjaku making it with us, but, just as with a few others, namely Jay Bothroyd, its an attitude problem with him.

Rad Carrot

Yeah, I know it was different circumstances, but (if memory serves me right) he played second fiddle to Pascal Cygan, of all people. Upson went to Birmingham and kept them up; while Cygan I still hold largely responsible for us not winning the title in 2003. I still remember that Leeds equaliser at Highbury… I don’t remember much after that, seeing as I destroyed my flat soon after. My flatmates weren’t happy with me. Anyway, my point was that he shouldn’t have been left on the fringes – had we kept Upson and played him more, I maintain we’d have… Read more »

Cygan's Right Foot

Whoa, what are you trying to say? I don’t like your tone mister


All you had to do was shine up your forehead to a nice polish, point your skull down the pitch and watch as the opposition were blinded, but nooooo….


I wouldn’t also mind having Larsson and Muamba around too. I can understand why they were released due to the quality of the midfield, but I can’t stop thinking that either would’ve been an asset last season; one of them is a playmaking set piece specialist who could have rotated with Ramsey(thus preventing his burn-out), and the other a tough tackling passionate midfielder who would’ve been a more than able deputy/competition for Song.

Rad Carrot

Good luck to them all. Frankly, we don’t need to be keeping hundreds of youngsters on the books, and with a few still making it (I’m thinking of Afobe, Frimpong, Yennaris and Coquelin next season) I’m fairly confident our future is being looked after. With the others like Jenkinson, Myachi and Campbell still waiting in the wings, I think we’re fairly set. Would be disappointed to see Lansbury go, because I honestly thought he might make it someday with us, but I think he was just not good enough. Bartley I hope will stay on for at least another season,… Read more »


Why ozyakup n not any other player?….*sigh*

Cygan's Right Foot

Other than the other 6, with 2 more to go?


There is plenty gone already ozyakup is the 11th departure this summer. almunia benayoun hoyte murphy brislen-hall mcdermott bunjaku monakana campbell glasgow ozyakup with plenty more to come im sure.

Olaiya seun james



For young players like Ozyakup (and Lansbury), its an important and an understandably difficult decision to make: on one hand you have the chance to stay with the team, work under the guidance of people such as Arsene, and train and play with players of van Persie’s caliber and experience. The downside: no regular football guaranteed and maybe you’ll break into the team at some stage. On the other, you have the opportunity to play regular football every week, albeit in a little-known league, with players who aren’t as good enough as in the premier league. Which would you choose… Read more »

Cygan's Right Foot

Surely it depends on whether you want to play football or just get paid a nice sum of money. Personally I’d leave to actually do the hobby (which football basically is) that i have spent my life up to that point learning rather than sit around, get sent on loan, 2/3 carling cup games and then get released anyway when I’m 21 or older because I’m not good enough. You then have to try and resurrect your career somewhere else whilst knowing you weren’t though good enough. Yes some players take that opportunity and try to show Arsene that he… Read more »


I think it depends on your prospects of breaking through. Ozyakup was always going to find it tough to play regularly at Arsenal and in that respect I think a move to his home country is a good move.

When the probability of actually making it at the club are higher, it’s better to stay and fight for your place.

Again though, it all depends on the circumstances. Cesc left Barcelona at an extremely young age because he thought it was better for him, and development wise, it was probably the right decision.

Cygan's Right Foot

All those youngsters still require paying and so are part of the wage structure. People keep saying we need to free up wages for (insert player name here) and the club have obviously taken the view they need to be ruthless and only keep the players with a chance of being as good, if not better, than our current first team. I’d rather be ruthless, take them off the wage bill permanently and let them try to build a career somewhere else. We have had too many young players that look good in a league 1 team but never really… Read more »


Think we need a quick dose of reality here. Arsenal are a top four club and only truly exceptional youngsters are going to make the grade in the first team squad. Cole, Gibbs, Wilshere (and to a lesser extent Frimpong and Bendtner) all made the cut in recent years. Make no mistake, the step up from schoolboy football to pro is astronomical and requires physical and mental commitment that outstrips base talent. Of course the odd gem might slip through the net, but in truth, Wenger rarely gets these wrong. If someone’s being moved on, they’re almost certainly not top… Read more »


Agreed on all but Frimmers. I think it’s a little harsh to judge him yet. He looked like he was developing nicely each time before his knee injuries.

You could see that after he was criticised for being hot-headed that he tempered his game accordingly. I know not everyone likes the rap videos etc. but I think he seems reasonably switched on about his football – he doesn’t need to be a quiet academic for that..


No einstein knowledge on how our youth are doing but with the next gen series coming up, i say give them a run of two three games and from there we can deduce who are worthy of staying. it’s always prudent to have a youth team and competitons such as next gen is the perfect platform for judging on who deserves a place in the 25 man squad.
Plus with game time and a paycheque, time flies a by and no silly thoughts will emerge of leaving the club.


i’m not sure if its a good move but provided the heartbreaks we undergo season after season keeping our faith in yoputh players to deliver in league matches,i think this process is worth doing.

Dele abuja nig.

Since we are hopin 2 win carlin cup wic compition do we wont arsene wenger 2 try them, pls they are worth shippin out.

Cygan's Right Foot



Gave you a thumb up coz I love me a mystery.

Merlin's Panini

err, yeh… what he said…


Jeorge, do Arsenal effectively make a loss on these players? If so, can you see the club becoming more fussy about who they take on, or is it a case of the same number taken on each year and fewer retained after a certain level?


I’m not Jorge, but it’s hard to see how Arsenal could make a loss on Ozyakup.


On to the next one…


On the bright side, I guess players like Thomas Eisfeld will almost certainly get a lot more game time in the reserve league and Capitol One Cup since the herd’s being thinned out now.

Hope Eisfeld can use this chance to build up his fitness and in 2 years time, can push Arteta and Rosicky, who will be31 and 33 respectively, for a starting/bench role.


What people are probably forgetting the MOST about this situation is that Neil Banfield and Steve Bould worked tirelessly with the youth set-up and have now stepped up to the first team. Wenger may not have seen the youth team so much as well as reserves but i am quite sure they would have given feed back constantly to Wenger as to who could work well within the 1st team construct. Now that Banfield and Bould are directly working with the first team i am 100% sure that the first things they would have addressed is who is good enough… Read more »

Chris g

Ben glasgow signed for stoke?all those years learning the technical side of playing,passing the ball etc and he signs for stoke.should be interesting first training session under pubis,i imagine he’l start with:”right son forget everything u’ve learned so far”….


And for all the hype how many in the last 15 years have come through the youth team to hold down a regular place in the first team ? Ray Parlour, Ashley Cole and Wilshire – if he can ever get fit – and that’s it. In fifteen years. That’s one every five years. Compare that to Man Utd., Not just the Beckham Scholes Giggs generation. But the current mob with Welbeck. In fact even Spurs have managed at least as much. But then of course it’s not about football is it ? It’s about turning a buck and if… Read more »


Who are these Man U players post the Beckham generation? Well beck has played for 1 season. Let’s see. Who else? Smalling? Jones? Nani? And what about Tottenham. Who are the small army of players they have brought through? The right back they bought from Sheffield Wed? Bale from Southampton? Maybe Bentley, that bloke they paid us 7 mil for indirectly. Sorry but let’s not start making the story fit the reality……


You can’t please some people no matter what. I have to disagree with your assessment Rob. Manchester United only have Evans, Cleverly and Welbeck who have broken through in the last few years and except for Welbeck the others aren’t even first team regulars. Spurs have produced Walker and at a stretch, Rose and Livermore from their youth setup. If you include the likes of Bale and Jones/Smalling at United….you have to include Fabregas, Szczesny, Djourou, Walcott and of course Gibbs and Wilshere in your comparison. If the club was to keep hold of Ozyakup and give him more first… Read more »


And as Clockendrider rightfully points out even Walker came from Sheffield United and Rose came from Leeds, so that’s two fewer on your Spuds dream youth list. Like I said, being miserable about everything in life seems to be a priority for the moaners.


No but learning to count helps. Man U – Beckham, Neville G, Neville P, Butt, Scholes, Giggs from that generation. And the current team boasts Welbeck, Cleverly, Evans and Darren Ferguson. When I said that even Spurs had produced three in 15 years I wasn’t talking about signings, I was thinking of King and a certain Sol Campbell. Remember him ? My point was not simply that 3 in 15 years of mind numbing hype, isn’t just feeble compared with the rest of the Prem’ – who don’t spend their time banging on about how allegedly brilliant their youth set… Read more »


Alright I might have misinterpreted part of your post, my apologies but to state that The Arsenal of the 70s and 80s was a football club geared to win matches and trophies is not entirely accurate. Even during those heady times we never were world beaters and for every excellent season we had, we followed it up with being utterly mediocre and uninspiring. Of course, those guys made a fraction of what today’s prima donnas make but it never was a smooth ride as a supporter back then. I paid much much less to go watch games and it was… Read more »

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Paul M

A top club will know if a youngster in the ranks is likely to make it at the top level. Clearly Oz and the others are not considered good enough to compete at the very top, so there is no point having them clutter up the reserves until they are 22 hindering the progress of younger, better players behind them. It’s rare that a top club will develop and bring through more than one player a year that is good enough to hold their own in their squad.

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