Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Arsenal trio still in the hunt for Golden Boy award

Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba remain in the race for the 2021 Golden Boy award after making the 40-man longlist.

Run by the Italian publication Tuttosport, the award, selected by European football journalists, recognises the best footballer under the age of 21 playing in Europe.

Folarin Balogun was included on the original 100-man list but failed to make the cut when 20 names were cut last month.

Somewhat surprisingly, Emile Smith Rowe has not been included. But that’s fine, we’re happy with him being our secret for a while longer.

Given the stiff competition, it seems unlikely we’ll have a first Arsenal winner since Cesc Fabregas, who won the gong in 2006. Barcelona and Spain midfielder Pedri is the runaway favourite.

The list gets whittled down a couple more times by public vote before the winner is announced in November.

It seems that alongside the panel-voted award, there’s also a web version that awards the player with the most clicks. You can vote for the Arsenal boys, here.

2021 Golden Boy nominees

Jude Bellingham – Borussia Dortmund
Karim Adeyemi – RB Salzburg
Rayan Ait-Nouri – Wolves
Ander Barrenetxea – Real Sociedad
Myron Boadu – Monaco
Brian Brobbey – RB Leipzig
Eduardo Camavinga – Real Madrid
Rayan Cherki – Lyon
Mohamed-Ali Cho – Angers
Francisco Conceicao – Porto
Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich
Charles De Ketelaere – Club Brugge
Ersin Destanoglu – Besiktas
Jeremy Doku – Rennes
Eric Garcia – Barcelona
Bryan Gil – Sp*rs
Goncalo Ramos – Benfica
Ryan Gravenberch – Ajax
Mason Greenwood – Manchester United
Josko Gvardiol – RB Leipzig
Pedri – Barcelona
Ilaix Moriba – RB Leipzig
Odilon Kossounou – Bayer Leverkusen
Noni Madueke – PSV
Felix Mambimbi – Young Boys
Gabriel Martinelli – Arsenal
Mykhaylo Mudryk – Shakhtar Donetsk
Mohamed Ihattaren – Sampdoria
Nuno Mendes – Paris Saint-Germain
Roberto Piccoli – Atalanta
Bukayo Saka – Arsenal
Yeremi Pino – Villarreal
Gio Reyna – Borussia Dortmund
William Saliba – Arsenal (on loan at Marseille)
Martin Satriano – Inter Milan
Luke Thomas – Leicester City
Khephren Thuram – OGC Nice
Jurrien Timber – Ajax
Florian Wirtz – Leverkusen
Ilya Zabarnyi – Dynamo Kyiv

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Cue uproar ala Saliba

Funsho Patrick

Don’t know what it means but I like the sound of it!


“Arsenal” trio? Since when was Saliba an Arsenal player?

BTW: I don’t know about you guys but I’ve got no enthusiasm for the Burnley game. It’s the sort of match that we should win but could easily lose. We are bang average and this is the type of game that will demonstrate it.

More pressure for Arteta after this match, I fear.


How is your day, pal?

Nainsley Aitland Miles

This has a different feel to it.

A new spine, a decent looking right-back (although tiny sample size), and presumably tomorrow will be Partey’s first start of the season. I really do fancy us for the win.

Auba, Saka, Ode will surely all start, it’ll be interesting to see if Pepe or Smith-Rowe get the nod for that final attacking spot. Although Arteta usually makes one surprise selection.

Lack of Perspective

Gets the violin out

Alan Sunderland

The consensus on here is to play partey/lokonga. To me there’s maybe 5 goals a season. Odegaard/saka/Smith rowe think 15 goals a season being generous. That leaves whoever rotates through the center forward position and defenders to get 40 for an 10th place finish. He’s being realistic .

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Partey and Lokonga obviously are not in the team to score goals. There’s always 4 players ahead of them on the pitch to do that job.

But if you’re looking at 60 goals in the league – which is a fair target but that’s only 5 more than last season – you’d expect our #9, Auba/Laca, to hit 25 between them, and then Saka/Pepe/ESR/Ode to hit 25 between them (6 each, very realistic), and then say 10 from ‘elsewhere’.

In comparison to last season, Auba/Laca hit 23 between them, Saka/Pepe/ESR/Ode 18 between them, and ‘others’ got 12.

Top Bins

Look you’re fully entitled to your opinion but all you ever have to say is of a negative nature. Are you sure you even ‘support’ Arsenal or just a glory hunter that aligned yourself to the club during the ‘good times’. We need togetherness more than ever right now amongst our fanbase and all you do is fan the fire of criticism. Sure you might be a realist but your pessimistic demeanor is toxic!

Johnny 4 Hats

To be fair to the rotund gunner, he’s almost always right. Maybe that’s because he’s a bit of a pessimist and we are a club in decline. But either way, you can’t fault a fan who is consistently right. If we was watching the invincibles and yelling “this lot are rubbish!” then you may have a point. But let’s face it, we all get worked up about the tiniest little positive and start dreaming big. The fat controller isn’t swept up in such unrealistic positivity and speaks how he finds. I salute you sir. But I hope one day soon,… Read more »


Kiss my Arsenal, idiot!!

I’ve been an Arsenal fan since the mid 70s. I stood on the North Bank in the eighties and watched some total garbage!!

I just want the glory days back!!

Alan Sunderland

The players aren’t reading the fat goobers comments. He’s calling it as he sees the, and it’s hard that argue that his opinion.

Alan Sunderland

And the truth shall set you free

Naked Cygan

What on earth is going on with Martinelli? Since Arteta arrived he has not been the same player. Not sure if it’s a system thing or more injury related. He has so much potential that we can’t seem to get out of him. Shame we don’t have the EL games to give him a run. Maybe few u23 games, the Wimbledon game, or even a short term loan in January. He needs to play if not injured.

Baichung Bhutia

I feel Martinelli wont be getting much game time this season. The pecking order seems to be Aubo, Laca and then Martinelli. If Laca is going to leave next season, its probably better to give Martinelli minutes ahead of Laca. I dont even know if Martinelli’s best position is as a lone striker.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Martinelli will likely be used on the left when he plays. Can see him being an impact sub this season.

#9 pecking order still seems to be Auba, Laca, Balogun/Nketiah.


Unfortunately he’s not a good fit in Arteta’s system because he’s so direct and Tierney plays so far forward. Essentially, that is why the two technical attacker system (ESR: LW, Marty O: AM). To balance Tierney being so direct. It might be that Martinelli might need a loan in January. If he was allowed to play as Auba does as striker (basically little contributions to build up and off the last line), I feel like Martinelli could be effective, but he’s always coming so deep when he plays up top and learning that role (probably needs a loan to learn… Read more »

Diaby's Left Peg

Tierney playing high should help him? Let’s him push infield towards goal and gives him Tierney and ESR to link up with on that side


Martinelli is most effective from the left when he receives the ball near the touchline and has a chance to run at defenders. Someone at Arseblog pointed this out quite smartly last season. As a striker, he hasn’t enough experience in the English game – Balogun probably has more going for him at the moment. But both players, both so young, need a lot more polish before they start regularly. Auba, Laca, Saka, Pepe, ESR all look much stronger in those positions — that said, one or two injuries, and Martinelli and Balogun will be starting, as they did the… Read more »

Alan Sunderland

Arteta’s system too rigid, and doesn’t work for a player like him. Same with Smith rowe. I honestly think he could be our answer to gascoigne, but not with this manager. We won our easiest game of the season 1-0 at home, so they all got their chests out. Will be the same thing until we get rid of him. He wasn’t qualified for the job, and he shouldn’t be getting paid 5million a year to learn his job.

Alan Sunderland

He doesn’t fit into arteta’s system. He gets in Tierney’s way to cross to nobody. Same as pepe not his type of player.


Surprised you’re not more optimistic about it, I think it’s definitely between him and Pedri but not much to settle them.
I guess Bellingham maybe for his work with Dortmund, but the other two doing it for the national teams puts them ahead I feel. I’d actually quite fancy Saka!

Walcott's left footed curl

Is it really that unlikely that Saka would win it? Greenwood Bellingham and Pedri are stiff competition, sure, but non of them played i Euro finals. Other then that, I’m not so sure who beats him, and I’m not even sure Bellingham or Greenwood does.


So, Saliba is recognised as one of the top 20 players under 21 in Europe, but Arteta doesn’t rate him

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Saliba’s progression is ticking along very nicely.

20.5 years old, playing for a top club in one of the top 5 leagues, playing European football. In the long run, this loan will turn out to be an excellent decision. He’ll come back to Arsenal next summer a better player, experienced, and will be a useful addition to our squad next year when we’re back in Europe.


France is no longer top 5 officially

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Yes they are because UEFA co-efficient’s uses the previous 5 years averaging – https://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/uefarankings/country/#/yr/2022


AHH so the average of the past 5 years.
Not current points coefficient?
That’s lucky, Barca the best team in laliga with no debt and no downfall too right?
Things change, coefficients are uefas way of pandering to their lovers


It all depends on IF Saliba wants a future with Arsenal. Arsenal’s role in this has basically been taken away by his treatment since arriving. If he doesn’t want to play at Arsenal then it’s over and really who can blame him if he doesn’t. Sorry to the apologists here but just because everyone wants to feel optimistic on everything right now doesn’t mean Saliba has been handled well in any way shape or form. It’s been pretty much Exhibit A1 of now not to handle a young uber talented player.


Indeed, giving him quality loans where the kid wants to play rather than putting him on the bench all season with little playing time is utterly brutal treatment. Just brutal …

You are right though that it has always depended on whether Saliba wants a future at Arsenal or not. It is up to him. Do what’s asked of you without complaint and when the time comes to don the shirt, do everything you can to honour it; otherwise, move along …


He did that and it cost him half a season of splinters and being left off two squads. Then dumping 50m on a young player in his exact position…

Your optimism on salibas arsenal future is reaching unprecedented heights even for your eternally optimistic views.


It appears that he’s recovered fine from the hurt feelings and time on the bench. He should be, now and throughout his career, ready for competition, and ready to be a proper teammate and Arsenal player. I gather from a series of reports that the club spent the past year focusing efforts on building a team with the right character and togetherness — perhaps Saliba doesn’t quite fit that design right now, but hopefully he’s eager to be here next season and do his part. The good news for the club in all of this is that Saliba is making… Read more »

Luton Gooner

I can’t be bothered to double check, but only team with 3 players? The future is bright! COYG!


Leipzig has 3 also, but considering were stealing their recruitment policy that has them breaking the 1.5 team usual of the bundeslige I’m happy with that.


Leipzig have 3 also, 4 if you count the rb salzburg kid as well (since that’s basically the leipzig b team). Bvb have 2 and given that saliba doesn’t actually play for us i feel like we’re sort of tied with them for 2nd.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Surprised Martinelli is the only Brazilian on it considering their youth team won the Olympics.


No Eddie nketiah (England u21 top scorer) ????hmmmm

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Eddie is 22 so too old for the list.


Voted Saka obvs

Nainsley Aitland Miles

I always expect to see Kanu on these Golden Boys lists. In a few years time, he’ll be too old to be nominated.

Jordan 23

Looks like Bellingham, Musiala, Camavinga, Greenwood or Pedri, it’s usually one from the big clubs who scoop these awards. Maybe Saka may get on the podium, who knows?
On the list I like Wirtz of Leverkusen (although I think he will end up at Bayern or Dortmund) and I enjoyed watching Charles De Ketelaere of Brugge this week when they held PSG to a draw in the Champions League I think he will mature into a fantastic no 9.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Probably Camavinga due to recency bias.

Jordan 23

On the subject of young players, too early for this award. But Patino is getting a lot of attention lately, has anyone seen much of him? I’ve only caught a few YouTube clips.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Would love to see him start against Wimbledon.

Diaby's Left Peg

🤞 but we shouldn’t really be hyping the actually children up so much imo

That said, Patino, Azeez, Mika and Hutchinson will definitely be taking us to a Champions league title in a few years.

A Different George

The inclusion of Saliba in this list proves exactly nothing. I like Martinelli, but his inclusion shows how ridiculous this list is. Nobody thinks he is currently the best young player in Europe–he’s not even the best young player at Arsenal.

Anders Limpar

Who the fuck is Bryan Gil!?!


I sincerely hope that I am wrong but Martinelli seems to have lost his attacking flair completely, he was such an exciting, unpredictable player. Last season he was treated horrendously by Arteta.


Seems like Arteta is untouchable flavour of the month on here again, but I agree with you. I don’t think Arteta let’s him play his natural game at all and I don’t think Martinelli understands his role and what he is meant to do at all and like you say his natural flair has vanished. He played those two games in December 2020 and injected an energy that seemed to revitalise the team (particularly along with ESR) and we went on a run that probably save Arteta’s arse. Then he got a little niggle and was brought on super slow… Read more »


Saka should be in with a good shout

Played more minutes than any other teenager in Europe’s top 5 league’s last season, played at the Euro’s

Can only see Pedri rivalling him

Jordan 23

Bellingham is getting ready to explode this season, he was terrific in the week at Besiktas. Musiala is justifying the hype at Bayern now. Pedri had an absolute marathon season at Barcelona and then in the Euros and Olympics with Spain. Greenwood has his own following and we all know Saka’s qualities and contributions. Camavinga is perhaps the talent of his generation a wonderfully gifted midfielder who seems destined for great success at the Bernabeu, but didn’t have a great 12 months. Interestingly Cesc won it in 2006, the year of our run to the Champions League final in Paris.… Read more »


It would be quite the feather in Saka’s cap I’d he could win such a prestigious award, some great names on the list of previous winners.


“Golden boy” what golden oldie came up with that toy boy name 😅

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