Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Arsenal must manage Nelson and Nketiah’s next steps carefully

This has certainly been a significant season for both Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah.

Prior to this campaign neither player had featured for the first-team yet they have now amassed 14 and eight competitive senior appearances respectively and have both featured in the Premier League.

Given that Arsenal have such a small first-team squad at present, both players have remained on the fringes of proceedings throughout the course of the campaign and Nketiah has been a regular on the bench in the Premier League of late.

It will be intriguing to see what the next steps are for both players and there have been suggestions this week that Arsenal could loan the pair out next season in an attempt to further their development.

If this course of action is taken then there needs to be much research involved in order to find clubs who not only play in a similar style to Arsenal but who are also prepared to give Nelson and Nketiah regular playing time.

So many talented Arsenal youngsters have failed to make an impact out on loan in recent years, with bad club selection often playing a major part.

With Nelson, of course, there is also the rather pertinent issue of his contractual situation as his current deal expires in the summer of 2019 and he isn’t close to agreeing fresh terms.

Perhaps the England youth international will follow the path of Marcus McGuane, who recently joined Barcelona’s B team from Arsenal’s academy, and elect to continue his career elsewhere, but the Gunners must try their utmost to prevent such a situation from happening.

Nelson, despite still being rather raw, is the standout player that the academy has produced of late and possesses vast potential. If he was to leave then, irrespective of whether he succeeds at another club, it would be sending out a rather concerning message that another high quality prospect feels his development is best served away from Emirates Stadium

Nketiah, on the other hand, is tied down for the short term at least and it will be intriguing to see how he progresses.

The striker has scored with regularity at all the age groups he has played at so far and now the aim will be for him to take that onto the senior stage.

Nketiah has already demonstrated with his spectacular appearance against Norwich City in the Carabao Cup that he is capable of making an impact for the first-team and it is hoped that he can prove he can perform consistently under pressure.

This season has been a successful one for both Nelson and Nketiah as far as their development is concerned but what happens next campaign could well be very important in terms of dictating whether they succeed at Arsenal or not.

Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird


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Faisal Narrage

TBH we’ve had a shitty season, but I’m not sure we’ve managed Nelson well. There’s been times when we could’ve brought him on, but instead chosen to give it to a senior fringe player, like when we brought on Jack against Watford with 10mins left but 3-0 up Nelson was visibly pissed, after spending so long warming up. Not sure what the situation is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he leaves. It’s ironic how as the first team have become more competitive in the quest for glory in recent years, we’ve given less chances to youth, yet we’ve been… Read more »


Bellerin,iwobi,maitland- niles
Add chambers and holding to the mix.m sure arsenal has given more minutes to the youngsters this season than any other club


I feel like holding is better than chambers


Chambers played OK against Milan….I think all the players just need more coaching.


Better than Cannavaro, yes. But Chambers, not sure. Chamb has more experience at least.


I like both, but they both need regular game time to learn and I think Chambers should be given a fair crack of it until the end of the season. I’m more concerned about Mustafi’s inconsistencies and Koscielny’s fitness problems.


Also guys like Willock and Nelson have been starting quite a few games in the Europa League. The guys are 17 and 18. What do they expect? To be a regular starter in the league? Bielik is 20. That’s brutally young for a center back. Show me one team in the league that plays a 20 year old in the middle of their defense? Would also say that we try our best to give them as many chances as possible. But in the end it’s down to their dedication and commitment. That’s unfortunately mostly the biggest problem when it comes… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

My point about Bielik is your comment that he’s a CB; he’s not and shouldn’t be. That’s what I said about my concerns for the management of some of the youth.

I’m not sure why so many are defensive about it, but even Jorge can confirm that we’ve handled loans very badly in recent years to the detriment of many young players. Those are my concerns.


Has any of these young players flourished when he moved away? Exactly. Maybe they just haven’t been that good? It’s not always Arsenals fault if something doesn’t work out. And I trust Wenger more when it comes to which player is best suited for which position than I trust you. Sorry. How many games have you seen from Bielik? Why do you think he’s not a center back? Because he has played a different position when he was 15? That’s the case with almost 90% of the footballers. Bellerin was a winger, Aubameyang was a winger, Lacazette was a winger,… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

Because we have an academy mandate to turn physical ball-playing DMs into CBs, as we have done historically with; McGuane, Shaef, Song, Djourou, Hayden, etc. And in all occasions, the players never looked as good in CB as they did DM. Also the whole “but did they leave to become better?” argument is flawed. A large factor in a player’s development is the quality of their environment. We almost sold Ashley Cole to Crystal Palace if it wasn’t for a chance injury. If we did, do you think he would’ve developed to become one of the best LBs in the… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

I wouldn’t add either Chambers and Holding as both were bought for the first team. It’s like when people call Fabregas an academy prospect.

I never said Arsenal don’t gibe youth a chance, but that they now give less chances to them, something Wenger himself confirmed, for all the reasons I stated.

Nothing controversial about that.


I don’t really agree with this. The manager has to do what’s right for the club first before any commitment to individual players. It’s not a priority to give game time to youngsters just in case they might be pissed off. I think Nelson has had some chances this season, perhaps more than he’d get at other big clubs in England. And I don’t think he’s done anywhere near enough to be demanding game time ahead of established first team players. I realise his performance is mitigated by being played out of position, but that didn’t stop AMN from coming… Read more »


Nelson is light years away from first team football. He has no end product and guys with no end product will cost you points. We can’t let him play just so he can practice his solo dribbling. We are not in that era anymore. This is a new era with world class first team players like Lacazette and Auba. We need to buy ready made players and challenge for the big trophies. Nketiah and AMN have the skill set needed for first team and hence they are up in the pecking order. Nelson hasn’t got much to offer. All style… Read more »


Iwobi has no end product.


All we are saaaying,
Is give Reece a chance.


We totally fucked it up with Gnabry. It was clear he is a good player with much mre potential than Theo but we never made him feel really wanted and he jumped at thebchance to leave. Such a shame..he is doing really well again in Germany


We waited for him while he was out for basically 2 years yet he jumped ship the moment Bayern came calling. It’s not like he was sitting on the bench because of Theo, don’t know what more we could have done.


Not loaning him out to pulis?


Gnabry was the one who chose to go to WBA, Arsenal wanted him to go to Norwich, but Serge chose a PL side.


We could have brought him back grom Pulis hell at West Brom rather than telling him to suck it. And we didn.t have to sell him..he had 1 year on his contract. We could have used that year to show him he was wanted…like we are doing with Jack now


Bit stating the ‘obvious’. Sure we want to develop these players but there is also a chance that playing them will mean results to our detriment at times as they come to gris garnering experience sometimes at our expense. Its a fine line. Holding was bigged up by many (in their usual self imaginary world where about anyone is better than Mustafi) and found wanting. But not playing the likes of Chambers nor HOlding do not give them a chance for improvement either. We made the mistake letting Gabriel go too soon. Rather than making sure the younger Cbacks show… Read more »


Wenger will not play them until the last game of the season…and only if 6th place is secured


Koscielny when he arrived cost Us a cup then ….don’t forget


exaclty. Nkeitah and Nelson is not ready to play in the EPL. Look at their perfomance in the U21s, is not even that impressive for first team starts.


the under 23?? we are close winning that league and they are both our best scoorer..


It’ll be interesting to see how Wenger utilises the remaining EPL games of this season, especially with a log jam of games on the horizon.
It would seem like a terrible waste not to fully exploit the opportunity of using these games to help develop our best youngsters.

As far as loaning them out next season, I have to say that that prospect doesn’t fill me with much optimism

Faisal Narrage

Would be great to use them in the league, but in recent years Wenger has become more conserved and used fringe players rather than youth, which interestingly have led to more out of sync and poor performances (The Forest loss, the youth players were actually the better players in that game, and in the early stages of the EL, it’s the fringe players that have performed below par). Would be great to give them a chance in the PL, but after our usual and annual bad run, it usually means Wenger is less keen to take risks and less keen… Read more »

sixteen swans

I agree. The loaning out of players has become farcical and pretty-much pointless in terms of developing players. Lower league managers are so heavily biased towards solid, week-in-week-out, mediocrity that an 18-year-old Lionel Messi would never get seat on a bench let alone a start. The only point would be if the receiving club had a manager who’d utilize talent for its ability to effect outcomes and be willing to be patient if need be. And how the fuck is that going to happen in a division where virtually every club starts a season eyeing relegation over their shoulders. Perhaps… Read more »

Inspector norse

B teams playing in the lower leagues is the solution. For some reason the british just hate the idea though, well so it seems. Some kind of taking of urin by the smaller clubs gets mentioned just about every time. I really dont understand that. B teams are real asset to youth development though and i think we should offer the kids, who actually sacrifice alot to get a small chance at a career in football that proven developmental tool.


Realy the anwer to youth development in England is for the players to take control of their own carers at an early age and leave PL clubs for Champ or League 1 clubs where they actually stand a chance of getting game time and developing into PL players for the future. PL clubs hoover up all the best young talent and realistically only very few can ever be used in the 1st team and the rest just stagnate and fail to reach their potential. C Willock, Bentley, Gnabry, McGuane etc made the correct decisions to try their luck elsewhere. It… Read more »


B teams would provide a solution. But it is very complicated. How many clubs should be allowed B teams? Every PL club? That is 20 more teams to accommodate in the football league and at what level do they get parachuted in? What happems to clubs who are relegated from PL? Should promoted teams be allowed to form a B team etc?? Should B teams be protected from relegation..or allowed promotion? And what about the other clubs..e.g should a Coventry of a Notts County be relegated to allow the inclusion of a PL B team into their league. It just… Read more »

Inspector norse

It will be like a newfounded club they must play them self up. they cant just be tossed in and steal earned positions. PL and Championship clubs could have B-teams if they want, after that its a moot point. If they cant blood their talented youngsters in the lower leagues whats the point of them. Its really not that complicated its quite common around europe. But there is a weird resistance in England that i dont understand. There will be no shitting on the smaller clubs there will just be more clubs and yeah a little more competition and a… Read more »


I take your point. But the lower league clubs are still going to lose out as the better financed B teams take promotion spots and rise up the leagues.
I.m not against the idea..it would be very interesting to see how this would affect player development. I just understand where the resistance is coming from


Yet this could all be fixed if teams were allowed to have their B team compete in the lower divisions like Spain does. Then we could ensure the players get both the competition needed to develop and the Arsenal training and values. I don’t buy the reasoning that this would devalue the lower leagues. It should only make it more competitive. If the teams can’t compete with talented B squads, then it means the B squads have increased the level of these lower divisions. If the B teams struggle to compete, then they are learning a very valuable lesson in… Read more »


Both points are valid, I think perhaps there should be a prize for the fa youth Cup and under 21 league winners which allows them to take part in the league 1 promotion play offs.
That way only teams deserving of a place get in And it gives the current youth structure a more competitive incentive.

Faisal Narrage

One of the many good things are former academy manager did in his short time here was to change focus on loaning players to FL teams and sending them abroad, in particular to the Dutch/Belgian league, which suits are technical players better and are more open to giving youth a chance. It worked by and large for almost all the loanees we sent there (even the ones we ended up selling. Dan Crowley had his best form only once we sent him there)


At this point in the season and with the squad we have, both these players should be getting some more playing time.
Arsenal have zero wingers in their entire squad. Literally zero. Giving Nelson some minutes at the end of games to stretch tiring teams looks like a no-brainer.
Nketiah too could get some time on the wings. Would personally love to see him be considered third choice striker ahead of Welbeck (and Welbeck being sold next year to bring in much needed cash). There appears little chance of it happening though.


Nope. We haven’t had any good wingers for a long time (apart from Sanchez, if you want to call him a winger). Definitely not in the mould of your Salah, Mahrez or Sane’s. That’s why our attack is so dam predictable and stale. Somehow he is able to shoe-horn Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere, Xhaka and Miki all into the same team. No wonder our heat map is usually just a semi circle around the opposition box. We don’t have any exciting players anymore that take on defenders directly and penetrate. We are becoming rather boring to watch these days. I think… Read more »


They really good football players these

Cliff Bastin

Give Eddie the number 25.


Arsenal are going to have a big problem soon with the amount of homegrown players in the squad, in the last two transfer markets we got rid of an abundance of homegrown players. The rumours of player exits for the next transfer window are also homegrown players (players such as:Wilshire, Ramsey, Welbeck, Chambers, Bellerin, Iwobi and Holding (the latter on a possible loan), and all the other players on loan.) We are also losing potential homegrown youth players for the first team. These two as well as others are important no only for their potential ability, but also for the… Read more »


An article that needed writing. Younger players need TRAINING. They need the right soil to flourish in so to speak. Ox. Need I say more.

We can’t always predict these things. But we should do our best to maximize the potential of players before letting them go. Are we doing that?


Loan moves to suitably coached Germany clubs perhaps?


I’d give both Eddie and Nelson at least one start in the league before the season is over.

Robins Boost

let’s plan for 0ur attack next season on the assumption that we’ll be playing 4231.
so that’s 4 positions up top in total.
We need 4 players to be 1st choice. (Laca, Ozil, Micky, Auba)
1 player who is good enough to challenge and displace the 4 first choices at any time. (new signing)
1 first choice back up. (Welbz)
Another 3 to rotate for cup games and as cover = Eddie, Nelson, Iwobi.

Andy Mack

If you look at the Barca first team squad they have a number of players that started in their academy, moved to the Barca B team then moved off to other clubs (not on loan) and returned to the A team. Barca A bloods very few youngsters. It’s similar with Bayern and a few other top clubs in leagues where there aren’t many ‘Top Teams’. Although ManU brought Pogba back, that’s a very unusual path for players in the PL, as talent can earn good money with the smaller PL teams whereas the smaller La Liga (or other leagues) teams… Read more »

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