Cohen Bramall’s move to Arsenal in January 2017 came rather out of the blue and it appears that the left-back will need another significant upturn in fortune if he is to succeed in breaking into the first-team.
Bramall is back at Arsenal following a loan spell at Birmingham City which certainly didn’t go to plan, as demonstrated by the fact that he was restricted to just five appearances in the Championship.
Bramall was instructed to train with the U23 squad on the first day of pre-season training upon his return to London COlney, despite Sead Kolasinac being the only first-team left-back available.
That suggests that Bramall faces a battle to get into Unai Emery’s plans for the upcoming friendly fixtures and his chances of being involved when the season gets underway will undoubtedly be reduced further when Nacho Monreal returns to training.
Bramall featured for the first-team in pre-season last summer, both on tour and in the Emirates Cup, but the early indications are that he won’t be involved this time around.
This is undoubtedly a crucial period for the former non-league defender. He is in the final year of his contract and, at the age of 22, must be named as a senior player in Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads if he is to be eligible for those competitions this season.
Even if he was to feature in pre-season and impress, it is difficult to envisage Bramall forcing his way ahead of both Monreal and Kolasinac in the near future.
Playing U23 football wouldn’t be of much benefit to Bramall, and, while he could be involved in the Checkatrade Trophy, the likely scenario is that he will be sent out on loan again.
If both Bramall and Tolaji Bola are sent out on temporary transfer then it would allow another young left-back, Dominic Thompson, who has just signed his first professional contract with the club, to receive a regular run of games at U23 level.
As far as Bramall is concerned, time is running out for him to succeed at Arsenal. The fact that he is at the club in the first place is a story of never giving up on your dreams, but he will be all too aware that the dream could be over very soon.
Still, though, Bramall’s move to Arsenal has been hugely beneficial for his career in that it has given him a greater profile and it should make it much easier for him to attract offers from Championship and League One clubs should he leave the Gunners, which would give him a good chance of carving out a successful career elsewhere.
You would suspect, however, that Bramall isn’t prepared to give up on his chance at Arsenal without a fight. He is, after all, used to overcoming the odds.