We may not yet be halfway through the current campaign, but thoughts are already beginning to turn to next season and the youngsters that will comprise Arsenal’s latest scholarship intake.
Three players – forwards Khayon Edwards and Billy Vigar and defender Taylor Foran – have already been offered deals for next season, while Malcolm Ebiowei has been let go and is currently training with West Ham United.
It is anticipated that some of the more high-profile schoolboys, like goalkeeper Remy Mitchell, defender Zane Monlouis and midfielders Charlie Patino and Marcelo Flores will all be retained along with winger Omari Hutchinson.
A decision must also be made on Edu’s son Luigi Gaspar, who is a midfielder like his father. Gaspar has been largely impressive for the U16s since he joined the club earlier this campaign.
Others are under consideration too, such as defenders Zach Awe and Henry Jeffcott, who have both already featured for the club at U23 level.
These decisions are always difficult to make as some players can make an impact for the U16s but then struggle to step up when they transfer to London Colney and are training full time.
The current crop of U16s is certainly rather talented, however, perhaps more so overall than this season’s first years.
As ever there is the possibility that any of the players that are offered a deal could turn it down and go elsewhere, as Yunus Musah did when he elected to join Valencia.
In addition, the club usually look to add one or two players from abroad to the scholarship intake in order to boost numbers.
It will be intriguing to see who makes the cut as Arsenal look to build next season’s U18 squad.