It is always disappointing when an academy graduate leaves the club, but Alex Iwobi’s departure could provide an opportunity for another Hale End product to impress.
Bukayo Saka has been on the periphery of the first-team squad since last season and has featured in several pre-season games in addition to pre-season friendlies.
Now, though, the 17-year-old could become increasingly involved with the first-team, especially when others are out injured.
When Arsenal have all of their attacking players fit it is anticipated that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will often be deployed on the left wing, with Reiss Nelson and Henrikh Mkhitaryan also capable of playing there.
However, in some matches, especially in the cup competitions, Saka could well receive a runout, with the prospect having seized the majority of the chances that he has been afforded so far.
Saka travelled with the squad for today’s game against Newcastle United, and, while getting on the pitch is another matter entirely, his inclusion is further evidence of just how highly he is regarded by Unai Emery.
Emery has frequently referred to Saka when discussing his options out wide this summer, while the youngster has often been involved in training sessions with the senior squad.
The prospect’s pace, flair and directness makes him extremely difficult to defend against, and it will be intriguing to see how he fares when up against experienced opponents.
Iwobi’s departure demonstrates that there are two different aspects of ‘making it’ at Arsenal – firstly breaking into the first-team squad, which is extremely difficult in itself, and then establishing yourself as a regular over a long period of time.
Saka is just at the beginning of his journey, but Iwobi’s departure could prove to be hugely beneficial for him.