Saturday, May 25, 2024

Maastricht return bringing the best out of Nwakali

After enjoying an impressive season on loan with MVV Maastricht, it was anticipated that Arsenal youngster Kelechi Nwakali would push on to greater heights this campaign.

It didn’t quite turn out like that in the first half of the campaign as the Nigerian midfielder endured a frustrating time in the top tier of Dutch football with VVV-Venlo, where he was unable to command a regular starting berth.

Nwakali got off to an encouraging start for VVV-Venlo, scoring on his debut against Groningen after entering the fray as a substitute.

However, subsequent opportunities proved difficult to come by and a decision was made last month to cancel the 19-year-old’s loan and instead send him back to Maastricht in the second division.

Nwakali has enjoyed being back in familiar surroundings and has played with much confidence in his appearances since returning to Maastricht.

Last weekend the youngster provided an assist in the win over Cambuur and he will now hope to feature frequently until the end of the campaign.

It is expected that Nwakali will return to Arsenal for pre-season training in the summer, although he perhaps isn’t quite ready yet to play a major part for the first-team.

There is a possibility, however, that if Nwakali thrives during the remainder of the season at Maastricht as he did for the majority of last term then he could have a part to play for Arsenal in the cup competitions next season.

Nwakali is excellent technically and a fine passer, while he also has good strength and dribbling, with the important step for him now being to get more consistency in his game.

It may have been a difficult season so far for Nwakali but he his now back at a club that he knows very well and is eager to prove to Arsenal that he deserves to be called upon next season in some capacity.

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

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Tough to make the leap up to first team at Arsenal, wish him well.

Teryima Adi

It’s tough everywhere. Not only in Arsenal.

Gonzo gunner

Leave him there for a full season maybe? Pre season and all. It would probably aid his development better than preseason with us, 3 substitute appearances and then a January loan.


We should try to loan him out to Leipzig next season to replace Naby Keita. That way Leipzig can focus on strengthening other areas and we’ll get to know Nwakali better. IMO he’s got the same profile as Keita/Max Meyer. He just needs to play in a better league.


Um, he couldn’t cut it in the Eredivise, what makes you think he would be able to start in the Bundesliga for one of the best teams?

George Onyango

How does a player improve by playing in lower leagues?Dutch league is Mikey Mouse League and if he cannot make it in Division One then he is not good enough!! Typical of players who excel in World Cup under 20, few make it to the top of his career. At the age of 19 it is easy to say whether a player will make it to the top or not. I saw Cesc Fabregas in under 17 World Cup and you could see straight away that he was a start in the making and the then Wenger saw the talent.… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

Would have loved to prove you wrong about Sanogo but he had 3 goals in 18 games with Toulouse. You’ve got to give a bit of time to this guy. He came from Nigeria where you play in the street, dribble as much as you want and no coach is there telling you when to pass the ball. Now development depends on the player. Our greatest prospects were Crowley (sold) and Zelalem (will have to be released) while Iwobi is Wenger’s favorite keeping Laca on the bench.

canon fodder

As a person who has never lived in Nigeria, how are you sure that people play football in the street in Nigeria? I have lived there and played football on proper pitches and with professional coaches. The country had won the u17 World Cup and Olympic gold; you don’t do that without having any facilities or coaches!

Heavenly Chapecoense

All great players from Africa including Nigeria and South America love to say fondly how they played and enjoyed playing in the street, used to stop the game to let a car pass and resumed etc… Both grassroot football and organized football can exist in a country.Just contrasting the spontaneous way of football to academy football. That’s all.

King Nacho

So you don’t know that ‘he came from Nigeria where you play on the streets’ ?

Andy Mack

Sanogo was awesome in the U17 European Cup (Before his big injuries) and we got him on a ‘Free’.
Nwakali was highly regarded at one of the U17 tournaments to.
The issue is that players develop at different ages but the one thing that helps most is game-time, so actually playing for a 2nd div Dutch team is better than sitting on the bench for Real Madrid (who were one of the teams vying for his signature when he signed for us).

Lucas Sam

Nwakali as fabregas was the star of the tournament they were in. That nigeria u17 team was miles above the rest and nwakali was the base of it (golden ball of the tournament). He just needs game time and be on the good side of the injury gods. As for why he plays in the dutch league instead of joining us, maybe it has something to do with work permit. (Same was with miyaichi). Mind you I’m not Nigerian I just saw the tounament.


Sanogo was scoring right and left at youth level.even in french league 2
The only thing was his body let him down.its not like we invest massive money on him.he was free on low wage


The only sad part is that Arsene made him an excuse to not sign another striker for a season or two, and giroud was getting criticized because he had to bear most of the burden of scoring goals


Where was Drogba at 19?


yet another arsenal youngster being rejected whilst out on loan, I think we have to many youngsters and need to trim the squad, as 95% of them wont make it at arsenal

Tas Gunner

Which alternate dimension are you from ronaldo? where 100% of the youngsters make the grade? Curious to know cause All your comments here suggest you are used to a much higher standard then what is norm in our dimension.get used to some loss as well as success if you plan on staying in this dimension fella,otherwise you are in for a real stressful ride i’m we have to endure negatives as well as positives 🙂

Andy Mack

I guess he’s suggesting that Barca, RM, Bayern, Yanited and all the other teams where 95% of their youngsters don’t make it, should close down their youth system as well…


why shouldn,t I have high standards, we should ALL have high standards, or we might aswell go and support a first division team, we are arsenal we are a top club, we should be up there fighting for top spot, not floundering in sixth place, I love this club, I have supported arsenal for many, MANY years now, and that’s why I get annoyed at times, because it hurts to see this great club in this position, because there is no need for it, if your happy to finish in sixth that’s up to you, but I’m not I want… Read more »

Andy Mack

That has no relevance to the club youth academy which produces more 1st team players than most other top PL teams.. Every single ‘top’ club has a wide selection of players because not only do players develop at different ages, but it’s no use just having 3 potentially world class youth players who spend their time kicking the ball to each other in every training session. You need a squad to play in any youth league in the same way we need a squad of players in the ‘1st team’. Nwakali is a very talented youngster who will reach PL… Read more »

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