Thursday, September 28, 2023

What next for Arsenal’s Premier League 2 winners?

It was a glorious occasion for Arsenal U23s last Friday as they beat West Ham United 3-0 at London Stadium to be crowned champions at that level for the first time since 1990.

Arsenal’s youngsters have produced some excellent performances this campaign but, ultimately, the academy will of course be judged on how many players manage to establish themselves in the first-team and it will be intriguing to see what the next steps will be for some of the players concerned.

Here’s a look at what could be on the horizon next season for the youngsters that were most heavily involved for the U23s this campaign.


Nelson has become a familiar figure in and around the first-team squad this season, making 15 senior appearances in total, and it is hoped that he will be able to add to that tally next campaign.

The starlet has yet to sign a new deal with Arsenal but the expectation is that he will commit his future to the club, and, if that does come to fruition, he could become increasingly involved in the Premier League.


Another player who has been involved with the first-team this campaign, Nketiah hit the headlines with his brace against Norwich City in the Carabao Cup.

The striker has continued to impress when called upon at youth level but next season he needs more first-team minutes. Perhaps the ideal scenario would be for him to feature in the League Cup as a starter in the first half of next season before being sent out on loan, but only if a suitable team can be found for his development which suits Arsenal’s playing style.


Willock made his Premier League debut in the defeat to Newcastle United recently and has developed well this campaign but the midfielder perhaps isn’t quite ready to fully break into the first-team just yet.

A loan move elsewhere could prove to be beneficial for his development, but, again, Arsenal must take much consideration in deciding where to send him as so many temporary transfers in recent seasons haven’t had the desired effect.


A powerful midfielder who has also featured in defence, Dasilva was involved in the early stages of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup campaign this season.

The 19-year-old is arguably more ready to step up than Willock and deserves an opportunity to prove his worth in pre-season as his versatility could make him a useful squad member next season.


This time last year Osei-Tutu hadn’t made a single appearance for Arsenal U23s but he was a regular this campaign and, arguably, was the team’s best performer overall.

The right-back relishes pushing forwards and has also improved defensively. Maybe it is a little too early for him to be promoted to the first-team squad but he certainly deserves to be involved in some capacity next campaign.


Dragomir has long been seen as a player with much potential, but this season he stepped up to start performing on a consistent basis.

Capable of playing as a winger or an attacking midfielder, the Romanian has also been used up front and has excellent technical ability. He will hope to feature in the League Cup next season.


At times this season Smith Rowe has looked simply too good for youth level, with the 17-year-old thriving whether deployed as a central midfielder or in his usual position on the left flank.

It seems very likely that he will be involved with the first-team in some capacity next season and it will be intriguing to see how he fares.


The tall defender was signed last season after he elected to join Chelsea and he has played an important part for both the U23s and the FA Youth Cup side this campaign.

Composed in possession, Medley will hope to earn a senior callup next season but could end the campaign out on loan.

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

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The future looks bright! It’s been really exciting to learn about our young’uns (Thanks Jorge!) and I really hope many of them make it through.



We need right backs. JO could slot in and do some work. Can’t be bad for Bellerin.

Granit (e) hard!

Exciting times for our academy indeed. Vlad, i think we all knew about in this forum when he was signed, so exciting that he is beginning to fulfil his earlier hype…Enter the Dragon!


Yes Jeorge, our recent record at loaning out our players leaves a lot to be desired.
I sometimes wonder how much care those responsible, for checking out the clubs taking our players, really take.
There should be an understanding that our players have to be given reasonable amount of playing time or they’ll be recalled to Arsenal.


There’s absolutely no guarantee that a new manager (who would be under insane pressure to deliver trophies to our clearly “success-starved” fanbase) would be in any way inclined to continue Wenger’s policies toward youth players such as giving them spots in the first team and League and FA Cup squads. As such, all these guys might be gone in a couple of years. For instance, Reiss Nelson recently said he was very happy with the contract offer he’d received and he was looking forward to signing up. A couple of days after that statement, Wenger announced his departure and Nelson… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

The new manager won’t influence the academy.
The whole system has been rebuilt to specifically ensure it’s not all ran by one man and can provide continuity. So he cannot stop BFG. All that is ran by the DoF along with Head of Recruitment (Sven).

And no doubt one of the mandates for the new manager will be the integration of youth. They will surely pick someone with some knowledge of using youth prospects and not a Jose type.


Emile has looked really good, definitely one to watch next year. Thanks for all the coverage Jeorge

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