There was a time when Stephy Mavididi seemed set to be the next talented young striker at Arsenal who would eventually be given an opportunity to break into the first-team.
Circumstances have dictated, however, that Mavididi, now aged 20, has returned to the club following his latest loan spell with his future remaining unclear.
Last season was a tumultuous one for Mavididi. He commenced the campaign by joining Preston North End on loan but found it difficult to settle there before returning to Charlton Athletic, with whom he had enjoyed a successful spell in the 2016/17 campaign before suffering a hamstring injury.
Mavididi’s second stint at Charlton wasn’t quite as successful as the first but he still gained plenty of valuable experience with the League One side and also, notably, scored his first goals in senior football.
Now, though, it will be interesting to see what lies ahead for Mavididi. Last season he appeared rather out of his depth in the Championship but perhaps at Arsenal, where he is hugely familiar with the club’s style of play, he would be able to make more of an impact if called upon.
It is questionable, though, whether Mavididi will get a look in, especially with Eddie Nketiah, who is almost a year younger than him, having made such significant progress last season.
Nketiah has overtaken Mavididi at both club and international level, as demonstrated by the fact that he featured, and impressed, for England U21s in their recent Toulon Tournament success while his fellow Hale End graduate didn’t even make the squad.
Mavididi certainly has exciting raw qualities when his pace and power are taken into consideration, and, like Nketiah, he is also impressive technically.
However, at this stage, Nketiah has much more to his all round game, with his link-up play, for instance, being of a remarkably high standard.
So far Mavididi’s only involvement with the Arsenal first-team amounts to being on the bench for two EFL Cup ties in the 2016/17 season but he will be determined for that to change.
Mavididi, eager to make an impression, has already returned to Arsenal’s London Colney training ground and has been doing gym work alongside the likes of Gedion Zelalem and Josh Dasilva.
With pre-season set to get underway properly in a couple of weeks, Mavididi will aim to convince new head coach Unai Emery that he should be involved with the senior squad during pre-season.
If he manages to do that and seizes his opportunity then Mavididi could perhaps go on to get further chances, but for now, with Nketiah in his way, his Arsenal future looks rather uncertain.