Chris Willock is a fundamental part of the Arsenal U23 team. His brother Joe is becoming increasingly influential for Arsenal U18s. Yet, as things stand, it isn’t guaranteed that either player will still be at the club next season with the siblings both out of contract this summer.
A player about whom there has been a considerable amount of hype for some time, Chris has yet to commit to a new professional deal, having last signed a contract with the club in early 2015.
The winger, 19, has been on the periphery of the first-team squad this season and made two substitute appearances in the EFL Cup, but feels that he deserves more opportunities than he has been afforded.
Joe, meanwhile, is yet to sign the professional contract that he was offered along with his scholarship deal in 2015. Having shown glimpses of his potential last season, the 17-year-old, who can play as a winger or an attacking midfielder, has really stepped up this campaign and is starting to perform with greater consistency.
Arsenal have already lost one Willock brother in the past, with Matty Willock now playing for Manchester United, and they are now running the risk of seeing two other extremely talented prospects slip from their grasp.
A very skilful player, Chris provided a reminder, if one was needed, of the quality that he possesses when he scored with a sweet strike for England U19s against Spain today.
Arsenal must do all that they can to attempt to persuade both Chris and Joe to stay at the club, with the two players both possessing vast amounts of potential.
On the subject of youth team departures, it seems that there will be several players leaving the academy this summer. Nathan Tella, who wasn’t offered a professional contract by the club, has already sealed a switch to Southampton, while Kristopher Da Graca is on trial at Genoa and others, such as Glen Kamara, Savvas Mourgos and Aaron Eyoma could also depart.
Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird
We’ve got to give this lad some reassurances regarding first team opportunities. He’s an incredible prospect and if we lost him it will come back to haunt us.
Trying to convince teenagers to stay at the Arsenal though?
They must realise under Wenger that if you are good enough you are old enough
Sure, now go say that to Gnabry.
We’re losing WC stars
We’re losing our brightest academy prospects,
What the heck is going on with negotiations at Arsenal? This running down of contracts seems to happen way too often for it not to be a coincidence.
Tell me you’re not serious re: prospects? And if so, that’s it’s based on more than Gnabry.
Also, it’s a massive stretch to say that Matthew Willock ‘plays’ for Manchester United.
Basically, this is all a bit scare-mongery.
As someone very much on the fence about our manager and no agenda to push I have to say the way we handled the Gnabry situation was terrible. Yes OK he had a year out through injury buy a loan to a Tony Pulis West Brom was clearly going to be a distaster. Why we trusted one of our best prospects to them when it was so obviously not a good fit I don’t know. Then for him to come back and not be given a chance when he is clearly had more ability and potential than others and Oxlade,… Read more »
the loss of gnabry has mostly to do with our big squad . he knew that he was too down on the pecking order . wengers intention was unclear at that point even though he said gnabry is important. i feel as though if we had removed a lot of deadwoods like walcot gnabry might’ve stayed to fight for the place.even though walcot is having a good season gnabry is much more talented than walcot .
Gnabry was a loss, no question, but I think we were more a victim of circumstance (which I’m unclear if that is what you are suggesting, too) than mishandling the situation. We made him the offer, but he wanted to go. Is Walcott “deadwood” at 17 goals, 4 behind Sanchez? Could Theo not hit 25 goals yet by the end (again, I’m not sure if you are saying he’s deadwood, or that before this season, when he looked deadwoodish, that might have been the time to cut him loose and give Gnabry a run) and conceivably do that again next… Read more »
Part mishandled part circumstance. I definetly think we could’ve done more before it got to a stage where we decided to leave. I wasn’t saying anyone should be sold (whatever my opinion is on Theo, Oxlade and Joel Campbell is irrelavent) I’m saying that for a spell all of those were struggling to make an impact last season for a chunck of time but Gnabry still didn’t get a chance
Theo walcot can be unplayable on his days. But those are few are far between. Besides he still the same player he was 10 years ago. HE really hasn’t progressed from the player he was 10 years ago. His ball control and technical qualities on the ball are still poor. The goal he has scored are a result of the team playing to his strength. And talking about his goal scoring record this year he still hasn’t scored a premier league goal in 2017. It shows how inconsistent he is. His goals cone in patches. In the case of gnabry… Read more »
Does it matter if Theo has progressed or has talent if he scores 25 goals for us this season from out wide? The entire team is experiencing a dry spell, but Theo has still put in 6 goals in 2017 in other competitions, including a cracker against Bayern. He’s not been as poor as people paint him to be. I agree that it is a loss to us that Gnabry moved on, but I don’t think that is a direct result of a decision to play Theo Walcott. Gnabry is at a smaller club where he is guaranteed to play… Read more »
They’re gone unfortunately.
This trend of allowing players’ contracts to run to the end is genuinely worrisome. It feeds the conspiracy theory that Arsenal only keep players that are good enough for business, but not great enough for trophies! Even in the first team. This summer will be make or break for me and many fans with similar concerns with regards to this club. Too many disappointments in recent times
Shame, but if he/they don’t want to be here then there isn’t much arsenal can do about it. Stuff like this happens all the time but we now live in a world where everything is scrutinised and posted online which makes people overreact.
Agreed. We’ve spent too much time waiting on potential with all the dross in our current first team squad. He’s old enough now that if he was good enough he would be knocking on the door
It is not the end of the world if a player and his brother leaves. I hope this article doesn’t serve to furrow already furrowed brows. If anything Arsenal has a pretty good record of unearthing and polishing gems among the big clubs. If someone wants to run down their contracts and act as if they can get more opportunities at Man City or Chelsea or Man Utd all the best and sayonara hombre. Hey Willocks, in case you are snapchatting about how you are the new wind beneath the banners of protesting Arsenal fans, you should look at how… Read more »
Just as a matter of interest Cannon, when was the last real “gem” the club unearthed?
Iwobi has the potential to succeed, Wilshere is a full England international with time still to develop, Szczesny is the first choice keeper for Roma, Gnabry has started very well in Germany, Fabregas is doing ok…
If you really are interested in the club’s efforts towards finding and grooming young talent I suggest you follow more of Jeorge’s articles. Although they are tinged with a bit of fatalism (like most things Arsenal) they are very informative.
If you wish to debate the definition of a “gem” or imply Wenger is not as good as finding and signing unheralded talent as he once was, please excuse my lack of interest.
Definition of the word gem is exactly what I want to debate, I follow articles on the state of the youth setup and the subsequent development of the younger players with great interest. Sadly the clubs efforts in this regard in recent years has been disappointing, most of the young players that have made the breakthrough have been poached from other clubs (nothing wrong with that) and most if we are really honest here have not, as yet anyway, reach the level that we had hoped. I fully appreciate that there are various reasons for the lack of progress but… Read more »
I’d suggest Iwobi and Bellerin as the last two. I think AM-N will soon follow as a strong squad player… Cost to replace either Iwobi or Bellerin makes the whole youth system at the club a wise investment.
We also have to be mindful of fanning their egos with articles like this. Am sure potential agents are reading this, getting all finger rubbery and hoping for a SturridgeRavelMorrisonPogbaesque premature ejaculation.
Not to take away from the fine work of Jeorgebird, as I used to be one of those fans that these well written and insightful articles about Arsenal youth cater for. However, I find I’m unable to get excited about potential future stars as I used to. Perhaps that’s because the team is in such desperate need of current stars. I used to be excited, imagining how a young, talented player could be introduced into an already established team and just make that little difference needed to finish on top of that premier league table. I think the last time… Read more »
On Iwobi… A young player needs to play as much as possible without risking injuries. That is how stars are made. And he is doing do with the likes of Sanchez and Ozil… I haven’t looked into it but where do his minutes spent on pitch rank against let’s say Delle Alli or Ward-Prowse? This season Iwobi has suffered from indecision and lack of confidence but that is to be expected, especially with all that has gone wrong this season. He’s a firecracker – the simplicity of his play, his movement and his refusal to be bullied by defenders is… Read more »
Was shocking to not find a single Arsenal player in the NxGn’s 50 best under-19 players list…
Specially since we know that list is drawn after studious interpretations of Nostradamus’ lost tomes and multiple simulations of FM 2017.
I don’t know the situation as well as Jeorge does, but given the fact neither have signed the contracts offered to them I wouldn’t be surprised to see them leave. Doesn’t their older brother have pervious at Reading where he refused to sign a pro deal despite them pretty much reviving his career?
Feels all too common a story with youth team players across the country these days, not just at our academy.
Joe Willock has not got anywhere near the u23 team, he has scored 4 goals for the u18’s in 17+5 games, so despite his “vast potential”, it seems we have others of the same age with even more vast potential, for example Dragomir, Nelson and Malen, even first year scholar Smith-Rowe has played for the u23’s.
So please save me from the over the top hype of another young lad. which seems to be based more on the potential his older brother Chris has shown, than anything the lad himself has done.
Matty Willock is 20 and still nowhere near the ‘DisUtd’ first team. If Chris and Joe follow him then they’re moving further from 1st team football than they are by staying… So not a wise idea, but maybe money is their man consideration…
Don’t tell me even the good youth players are refusing to continue to don the Arsenal shirt.
And have you seen what they are charging for tomatoes lately? The end is nigh, my friend!
Many top prospects have left arsenal ,in reality who became a top player.
Gnabry still to prove his top ability
But if u look at the young talent we brought through & played they’ve had top flight careers
Mannone ( still a playing at premiership level)
So u have to have faith the Arsene knows who right & who’s not . Don’t forget the huge stock of talent at Chelsea & city … They haven’t really managed to bring anyone through
Oz, Fabregas, Gnabry, Sagna, Clichy are some top players who left because of money.
Fabregas certainly didn’t move for money.
Gnabry left for first team games.
Sagna wanted a payday as he knew that at 31 years old he didn’t have long at the top level (although $iteh seem to have failed to find a replacement for him yet).