Catalin Cirjan remains one of the most talented players in Arsenal’s academy, but the 2020/21 campaign didn’t go entirely to plan for him.
The prospect was unable to establish himself as a regular starter for the U23s as he frequently flitted between that age group and the U18s.
In addition, while Cirjan is most effective as an attacking midfielder, he was often deployed on the right wing in the early stages of the season and also played deep in midfield on some occasions.
As a consequence, it was difficult for the 18-year-old to build up any sort of momentum during the season, and there was then further frustration as his campaign was ended early by injury.
Cirjan is still recovering from that problem but will hope to be fully fit for the start of what will be a very important campaign in his development.
The Romanian youngster will no longer be eligible to play for the U18s, so he now has the opportunity to be a key player for the U23s, and his cause will be helped if the likes of Miguel Azeez and Ben Cottrell push on to more involvement in first-team football in some capacity, whether at Arsenal or on loan.
There is much to like about Cirjan’s game – he has excellent technique, is a great passer and isn’t afraid to shoot from distance. He is also now starting to become slightly stronger physically, which will help his overall development.
Now, after a frustrating season, he will be determined to make the next campaign count as he looks to edge closer to featuring for the first-team.