Mass departures send shockwaves through the Academy


It had been anticipated for some time that many youngsters would be departing the club this summer, but it was still came as something of a shock on Friday when it was revealed that at least 15 members of the U21 squad will depart when their contracts expire at the end of next month.

Some players, such as Jernade Meade and Jordan Wynter, refused a new deal in search of first-team opportunities elsewhere, whilst others, including defenders Sead Hajrovic and Elton Monteiro were let go having failed to break into the senior picture at Emirates Stadium.

The sheer number of players being let go may come as a shock to many, and does rather beg the question as to why many of these players were kept at the club for so long when they had very little chance of making the grade. For some players, such as Nigel Neita, a striker who went almost two years without scoring in a competitive fixture, it had long been apparent that even a cameo in the Capital One Cup was highly improbable, but the departure of Meade has sparked some confusion, with the left-back having performed diligently during his two first-team outings this season.

Meade, however, acknowledged that, with Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal ahead of him, he would probably have had to go on loan next season in order to receive first-team game time, and instead came to the conclusion that it would be more beneficial to make a permanent switch now so that he could become fully integrated at his new club.

Some of the elder statesmen of the second-string set-up will be leaving too, with midfielder Craig Eastmond having signed a pre-contract agreement with Colchester United, whilst it would not be a huge surprise to see Sanchez Watt join him at the League One club, with the pair having both impressed during a loan spell there earlier in the campaign.

Goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook also leaves, despite impressing on the few occasions that he was called upon over the past few years, with Samir Bihmoutine, Conor Henderson, Josh Rees, James Shea, Zach Fagan, Martin Angha and Kyle Ebecilio completing the plethora of players departing. Angha and Ebecilio have already signed deals with Nuremberg and FC Twente for next season and will be hopeful of featuring regularly in two of Europe’s top leagues.

These departures have considerably culled the number of players available for the club at both U21 and U18 levels next season, but their exits are likely to be compensated for by the acquisitions of several promising talents from elsewhere, which could include Aston Villa’s England U17 midfielder Dan Crowley.

Jeorge Bird is the author of  Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird


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Brian Mendoza

We have become a selling club SACK EVERYONE THIS INSTANT

Brian Mendoza



Dan Crowley looks a fabulous player. Sign him up!

When he was being called the new
Jack Wilshere I nodded my head in disgust, but I’ve watched him play againts our lads and he ripped them apart. Hope it happens.

Jamie Arsenal

We have a lot of dross so few leaving not bad at all i say.


i just found out squilacci gets 50 grand a week. WTF. whoever came up with the wage stucture needs a good slap


What is happening to our Academy? Loads of players with bags of talents heading out not being able to fulfilling their dreams with us after our investment in them !!!! Something needs to change at the Academy!!!


Alright then. How many of these players do you feel were good enough to challenge for a first team spot?


Only Meade, and he left because he didn’t think he could break into the team.


Sorry I consider this good news, if anything. It shows that our academy does not settle for average players. If a player is not good enough, they leave. None of these players were deemed good enough to play for AFC (or the players themselves sensibly reached that conclusion given the first team players whose place they would be competing for), so they left. Hopefully they will be replaced by better talent and the cycle will continue.


“It shows that our academy does not settle for average players.” Not exactly, even Arsene himself has spoke about missing out on players who eventually come good. It’s not that they’re average (you can’t judge a footballer until he has played senior football for a number of years) it just wasn’t helpful for all of their futures to stay.

Johnny Jensen's Bender

Bags of talent but not enough.

All the best in their future careers, just don’t score against us!

Across the leagues there are between 80-110 players who learnt their trade at Arsenal, we should be proud at how we consistently produce players, helping to improve the standard of English football.


Absolutely. It just goes to show how highly rated our academy is and the quality of player it produces.
I wish them all the best of luck in their future careers.


bang on.


You are ignoring the success stories of Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere on purpose to suit your own agenda.

Academy players advancing into the first-string are the exceptions, not the rule. If it weren’t, we obviously wouldn’t have any of this homegrown quota business would we? Not every club is Barcelona.

Read up on confirmation bias.


Wow 2 successful academy players…

You do realize that it takes 11 players to make a football team right?


You do realize Arsenal is a top-flight team that only wants the best of talents right? And that since there are other top-flight teams with academies like Manchester United thus Arsenal’s academy won’t always have all the best youngsters on this earth? And while we’re at it, other possibly just-as-talented youngsters from abroad in under-scouted leagues / countries exist just as well don’t they?

TL;DR, read actual facts about academies and its graduates before making yourself look like an idiot.

damien joyce

Real Madrid have 1, Casillas.
Man Utd have 4, Welbeck, Cleverly, Fletcher and Jonny Evans.
Chelsea have 1, John Wank Terry.
Man City have 1 who doesn’t play Micah Richards.

We have Jack and Kieran Gibbs, you could perhaps include Szcz in there too.

If we get two more out of likes of Eisfeld, Damian Martinez, Gnabry, Bellerin or Toral then we’ll be doing well.

Mikel Artekkers

And when you consider that none of Welbeck, Cleverly, Fletcher, or Evans could be described as first choice for Man U (some Dutch cunt apparently ahead of Welbeck, Cleverly rarely starts because Shrek has taken the behind the striker role, Fletcher ousted by Carrick and his gall bladder or something, and Evans behind Ferdinand and Vidshit), it b ecomes even clearer that we are doing quite well with out (well renowned) academy.


And Barcelona have a B team. Makes things easier for them.

New guy

This is a very good point. If we had an Arsenal B team playing in the Championship, that would make a big difference.


Not only that but, the more rejects we produce capable of playing top level football, the closer we get to Barca and Real, Bayern etc. Who produce the majority of Homegrown players that play in said leagues.

Jamie Arsenal

Change that to ‘loads of players with some talent , who are not good enough for first team’.

Cyril Washbrook

The overwhelming majority of youth footballers, including at the academies of relatively big clubs, will never make it at the highest level. Youth investment is inherently a gamble: for the most part, you just don’t know which players are going to make it. Instead, you hoover up players who look like they have talent and hope to find a player of genuine first-team quality every few years.


Loads of players with bags of talent!? Ehh, slight exaggeration there I’d say :S

Long as Gnabry, Bellerin and Eisfield are not on that list, I’m fine with it personally.


True that Meade is a bit of a shame yes, – but understandable why he’d want a move because he IS fairly decent so he’s not among the ranks of the Eastmonds and all who tour the country on loan every year and everyone knows they aren’t ever going to be playing for Arsenal realistically. Fair play to him I say, he’s good enough to make it at another decent club i should think, and its a credit to him that he obviously wants to push on and play rather than hang around and hope – he is unfortunate in… Read more »


This is part of the ‘fresh start’ ‘clearing the decks’

The club is going through a strategic systemic change.

RC Motors

gives the next generation of under twenty-one-ers to fill their boots and develop. if they’re good enough they’ll break into the first team if not they will be moved on and another generation of youngsters will be given a chance. this is the circle of life/football


these players just were not simple good enough – they are off the wage list – bring in the next 15 odd promising youngsters and see if any are good enough – that’s how the youth system works


Couldn’t agree more – not sure what the problem is here, if they’re not good enough to make the first team one day, get rid


if they were good enough, AW would keep them. simple as that.

other than jermaine meade im not surprised with the departures.


*Jernade. Sorry but I’m ‘That guy’.

Grammar Police

*Sorry, but I’m ‘that guy’.

Missed a comma and there’s no need for a capital letter on ‘that guy’.

I’m ‘that guy’.


There’s a big difference between correcting a name and a small piece of grammar.


… first the BLOODBATH at the academy, now there is OPEN WARFARE amongst the supporters … it’s quite clear that this is ARSENAL IN CRISIS!

Jamie Arsenal

Go away!

Rad Carrot

Mmm. Always good to clear out now and again.

Disappointed that Meade has gone as he looked a talent, but can completely understand his reasoning. Good luck to the lot of them.

The Ghost of Peter Storey

It’s always a shame to see Academy players leave, but if Arsene doesn’t think that they will ever make it to the first team squad then it’s better to free up the space for others. There is a whole team of ex-Arsenal academy players in the premiership this season (e.g. Taylor, Bentley, Sidwell, Traore, Bartley, etc.), but none of whom would improve our current squad (probably with the exception of Ca$hley).


Oh. Who cares? Jack, Gibbs, The Ox, Chesney and others made the grade at 18 or so. Some of these players are already in their 20s. Clearly, they were not Arsenal standard, wish them luck elsewhere.


I entirely agree, if you’re going to be good enough for a top team, you should be good enough by 18 or 19, simple as that. For example, how many players do you see play regularly for England U21s who then make the step up to the full England team? Very very few, because the ones that are going to be good go straight into the England team (there’s a few exceptions obviously, e.g. Milner).


If you look at it our entire British core made their debuts at the top level when they were 18 or younger, and all of them are under 24…with some of the academy talent leaving being 22 years old, I’m not crying over their departures. I wish them all the best of course, but if they can’t make the grade at Arsenal they should look elsewhere. It’s this kind of attitude we have to hold our selves to, we need to set the bar at a high standard and stick to it.


Please remind me how old was drogba when chelsea bougth him???!!
You should know that some players are late bloomers!!!


Yeah and if the Boss or the staff saw that untapped talent in any one of those players I’d doubt they’d have allowed them to leave. It’s also a different process bringing up folks through the youth system versus buying them outright at latter stages of their career. Would you have a 25/26 year old player still playing at the academy!? That space needs to be taken up by someone younger who needs the development to reach that next stage.


15 more Eisfelds please.


I very cautiously agree but he’s still an unproven talent (but I concede he has boatloads of potential).

Yankee Gooner

Youth OUT!


Kids today, eh?


Craig Eastmond’s coming up to retirement age by now surely.


Maybe, but he’s only 4 in footballing years.

Alex c.

Anybody that criticizes dis clearout doesn’t want arsenal to move forward. They’d later be the ones complaining that arsenal needs quality Players.


No one’s complaining mate. I suggest you read the comments properly before shooting your mouth off. You are at risk of your ill-considered comments being used to suggest that it is in fact irrational people such as yourself who are what is wrong with the club.

Alex c.

Hello will, thanks for the insult. Let me make my stand clearer. I’m not among the peeps dat r luking 4 “quality players”. Lots of people i knw;not on dis page tho hav started burying wenger 4 allowing them 2 go. I probably think if d youth team coach doesn’t find dem worthy, dey should go.

Touched Your Mother

You should probably go back to the comments section with “dis stuff”


for Christ’s sake speak English, dis? no!!! this!!!


I got as far as ‘dis’.


As long as we keep gnabry and bellerin


Glad to see we’ve still got Zak Ansah on the book, despite lots of injurys the kid’s got real potential.


Hi Zak.

Not sure if AW reads these comment boards, he seems like a Guardian reader to me, maybe try their website?

Kidding of course, I think you’re very good.

Plus ca change

I’ve no problem with this. The Academy should be a place to work hard and show you have what it takes, not a holiday camp. If you any prove you can one day step up to the first team then it’s right you should be move on. It should be an academy of excellence not a means to an end.


dont act all you plastic fans ever ask for is re enforcements at evry transfer window,world class players what then do you expect those coming through the ranks to do?


Do we need the Arsenal academy? No. The number of players who actually make it to the top is so small it is not worth it. Trials should be held to choose the best 100 under 19 players in Britain. Five teams of twenty could play their counterparts in Germany or France March through July. In August players can be drafted. Then a new group be selected for the following years squads.

Parisian Weetabix

This is your best idea ever Dave, you genius.


All we need to do is find the next young Messi and the Academy would be worth it. Isn’t that the point of digging through coal, to find the diamond?


The transfer value of Wilshere, Gibbs and Szczeney have probably already made it worth it


Exactly this!! I was going to say that there are three names that currently make the academy worth it; and all three of them are tied up on long term contracts with the Arsenal first team. END OF.

Alex c.

Nice one pete. I’d sell 3 of dem for £ 105 million

Alex c.

Nice one pete. I’d sell 3 of dem for £ 105 million combined fee


We need an academy mate, where else and barca get their future stars. It’s a fundamental part of the club……


“How to ruin the future of football in 3 easy steps”


Where do you expect all the other players to come from? Football’s youth systems produce enough players for world football. A few don’t make it, because they weren’t good enough. Without that competition, the overall standard would drop. With your baffling plan there would soon be no footballers left.

It Is What It Is

Allowing a 16/17 year old to leave his family in Dover for a short term opportunity in, say, Liverpool. Gets dumped the following summer or the next and it’s back to square -1. But, it’s okay. He was one of the chosen century.
Hell effin yeah


Anybody who watched the mediocre performances against Chelsea and Aston Villa in the finals of the Next Gen series would totally understand that nearly all of them had no chance of ever making it.Our much vaunted youth policy is in fact a bit of a myth since over the last decade or so the only ones who have made it are Ashley Cole,Wilshere and Gibbs.Clichy,Fabregas etc were actually products of someone else’s academy.Currently the young players coming through at Chelsea,Tottenham,Liverpool and Manchester United are way ahead of ours as are Norwich and Aston Villa.Time for a massive revamp and by… Read more »


shame about henderson, will be a great signing for somebody… think he will be lighting up the prem in a couple of years time


He’s quite old by youth standards though, and if he hasn’t even made the bench he’s right to leave. Maybe he’ll develop into a top player elsewhere but obviously Wenger, Bould and staff don’t see it happening at Arsenal and truth be told I totally trust them in their decisions.


Tbh none of these guys are a loss. I saw a little bit of Meade at Reading in the Capital One Cup and he looked ok but physically most of my sons U11 team are bigger.

It always amazed me why Eastmond and particularly Watt (He’s about 22-23 isn’t he?) were kept so long. The last player like that was Randall who is now warming the bench at Chesterfield or Rotherham or somewhere.

We need to be more cutthroat, well done Arsenal.


It is still a very talented group. Olsson and Akpom look very very promising, as do Miguel and Gnarby. Excited about reports linking us to Crowley although fully expect Citeh to swoop in and offer him a small island, a night with Kelly Brook and fistfuls of five pound notes.


Good luck to them all. We’ve needed an academy clear out for a while now. Players like Eastmond, Watt and to a lesser extent some of the younger ones clearly were never going to make the grade at Arsenal. Hopefully this will bring about a change in how contracts are offered to these younger guys. They should really only be contracted until they’re 21 unless they show real, real promise like a Gnabry or a Bellerin. It also gives people like Olsson (another with real, real promise) and Akpom a few more years at under 21 level rather than under… Read more »

[…] More on the mass cullings and ones that got away from the youth setup […]


Not to sound unappreciative (long time reader, first time nit-picker), but you used begging the question in the wrong way.

“Begging the question (Latin petitio principii, “assuming the initial point”) is a type of informal fallacy in which an implicit premise would directly entail the conclusion.”


The concern I have is not so much that we had a clearout but that we didn’t keep the ones we wanted to.


Ahhh.. I think we did actually.

Alex c.

Hmm. All said and done. I’m glad Akpom, Eisfeld, Gnabry, Miquel, Yennaris and Martinez are nt on dat list. That’s my joy.


You use both ‘that’ and ‘dat’ in the same post. You are either a fake ghetto plum, or a fake regular joe. Either way you lose.


There’s been a bunch of changes to the academy system in England which basically means that big clubs can hover up talent from others much more easily. I think its really bad for football since lots of smaller clubs rely on selling academy prospects (think crewe alex). I suspect that the mass clearout has something to do with the changes. Not that I had much hope of any of the players making it at arsenal…

Merlin's Panini

I would have liked to see Conor Henderson make it. He always looked a decent little player. Just had horrible bad luck with injuries. I guess with the midfield we have he would’ve been hard pushed to get a chance at all. Good luck to all the players though.
I always like to see ex-Arsenal youngsters make it, as long as they don’t come back to haunt us and don’t end up at Sp*rs.

Alex c.

I feel for henderson too. Poor lad

David S.

I’m not seeing what the fuss is all about. There are very few clubs out there that are as willing to give young players a chance as Arsenal. We probably have more first team players who first signed for Arsenal when they were under 18 than any other club in the EPL. So if the club that always gives youth players a chance is letting 15 players go, there has to be a good reason right? Like everyone has said, it’s a shame to see Meade go, but with Gibbs and Monreal in the mix, his first team chances were… Read more »

[…] 朴主永,沙马赫,本特纳,朱鲁之流几周内将各自结束租借合同回到球队,阿尔沙文,斯奎拉奇也将设法找到更好的去处。今天夏天,真正的大换血正在酝酿实施中。青年梯队残酷的清洗可能只是一切的开端…… […]

[…] 来源:[Arseblog News] […]


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