Monday, July 15, 2024

Nwaneri delighted to sign first pro contract at Arsenal

Arsenal have confirmed that Ethan Nwaneri has signed his first professional contract with the club having turned 17 last week.

The midfielder is the youngest ever player to feature in the Premier League having made his debut for the Gunners at Brentford last season at the age of 15 years and 181 days. This season, he featured off the bench at West Ham.

Nwaneri has glided through the academy ranks since joining Hale End aged nine. While most of his football continues to be played at youth level (he’s scored 14 goals in 15 games across age groups this season), he’ll no doubt have one eye on Arsenal’s summer tour of the USA and the opportunity it’ll afford him to further impress Mikel Arteta.

Speaking about the decision to award Nwaneri pro terms – something of a formality having persuaded him to stay at Emirates Stadium last year – Per Mertesacker told “We are extremely proud of Ethan and his journey, from pre-academy to Hale End, then a seamless transition to Sobha Realty Training Centre and then making his first team debut. Ethan’s journey now continues, and we will all be there alongside him to support his development.

“Ethan has a strong ability to master the ball, dominate possession and is really effective in the final third, which fits into our playing style at Arsenal Football Club. He is someone that will thrive on and off the pitch as a Strong Young Gunner and we look forward to working with him during his ongoing development in the years to come.”

Nwaneri says the deal is payback for all the hard work that has gone in over the years and is now targeting more games at the highest level.

“I’m delighted to have finally got to this stage after all the hard work over so many years,” he told

“It’s a proud moment for me and my family to finally be here, so I’m happy and ready to keep working.

“It was the dream to get to this stage. I’ve always thought about when this day would come and I’ve been looking forward to it, so I’m happy it’s finally here.

He added: “I want to keep pushing towards the first-team, gain as much experience as I can from the players in the first-team, and score as many goals as I can in whatever game I’m playing in and just keep pushing. I’m just going to keep working and do my best when I get opportunities given.”

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Johnny 4 Hats

I don’t remember a player coming through the academy with such status.

Players like Saka, Smith Rowe and Nketiah just seemed to ghost into the team. But we’ve known about Ethan for years now. And a tonne of other clubs have tried to pinch him.

God knows what he’s going to be. My guess is a really, really good Oxlade-Chamberlain. I’m really looking forward to seeing him develop and grow.

Loan to the championship next season? That’s what I’d be doing. But Phil Foden and Bukayo didn’t need loan deals. Maybe he’s good to go in August.

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

I was reading an article earlier about Endrick Vs Yamal being the Messi Vs Ronaldo of the next era – clearly there are huge levels of hype and hyperbole involved when it comes to wonderkids – and it certainly feels like we have one on our hands in Nwaneri. The interesting part of that article was the Pedri situation – he played 72 games in a season at Barca as an 18 year old – and now there is talk that he is burned out at 21.. I do worry about Saka in this sense, so it would be good… Read more »


I have never been impressed with Barcelona churning of their players who keep getting younger and younger each season. I’m not envious if anything I worry about the players.
The hype is real. The hype is hyperbolic. None of them seem to last.

I quite like how we have been managing expectations of Nathan.


Too talented to loan. 1st team players begging Arteta to bring him on says a lot. Youngest prem player already. Our older ex-academy players need to go to make room. Nelson, Smith Rowe etc. His ceiling is higher.

Bleeding gums Murphy

When he came on, granted we were cruising, he looked so assured on and with the ball. Watch out for Chido Obi-Martin. Gonna be be something too.

Johnny 4 Hats

I hear what you’re saying. But we are now a club that fights for titles and champions leagues. Every game is life or death. When Saka and ESR came through, it was a bit like “Well, could they be any worse than the dildos on the field?” I just worry he might not be able to gain the trust that he’ll need to come on in premier league and CL games. And I would love to see this lad play week in, week out. Although we already think he’ll usurp Messi, outside of two late substitute appearances, none of us… Read more »

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

It will depend on the character, which is a very valid point (multiple respected coaches, players and managers have commented on the generational talent that could have been Ravel Morrison) – what I back our current set up to get right is banking on individuals with the character to succeed, and pretty much cutting our losses at an early stage on those that don’t. We seem pretty keen to retain Nwaneri so my guess is that he has the right attitude to succeed. Man City made the decision to let Sancho go for a relatively small fee at a young… Read more »

The Beast

Outside of the league cup, I struggle to see him get game time next season for the 1st team, which isn’t a criticism of him at all.
Completely agree that things are much different now compared to when ESR & Saka broke into the side, which is as it should be for a club looking to compete on all fronts. Loan move is prob the best option but who here really knows.

Willie Young

What is the length of the contract?


Standard length of A4 paper



A Different George

I know that every club has special coms people to write announcements and statements supposedly attributed to players or staff. But really, make it sound a bit more authentic. I am reasonably sure that Per Mertesacker would never talk about a player’s “seamless transition to Sobha Realty Training Centre.”

I think everyone who listens to interviews with Per is impressed by how genuine and straightforward he is. I bet he could say something about Nwaneri that was just as complimentary and a lot less corporate.


He actually said ‘sober reality training centre’.
It was named as a reminder to young players not to copy some past Arsenal players and go down the pub too much.


It’s important to support the grass roots local sponsors. Give them their 5 minutes of fame, doesn’t hurt.

The Beast

Classic Per, can’t go 2 seconds without banging on about the Sobha Reality Training Centre

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

Or the SRTC, as Per commonly refers to it…

Interestingly if you remove the letters S, R, T and C from the surname Mertesacker, you are left with Meeaker – which is the exact description Per used when asked how the team would be if it were not for his beloved Sobha Reality Training Centre


One of our own to outshine all the rest in the Endrick and Mainoo generation.


Even crouching the guy is tall.

A Different George

There’s a picture I remember of Mertesacker and Santi after winning the FA Cup and they’re about the same height. Except Per is on his knees.

Al M

Arteta and Arsenal the myth
– give youth a chance
Arteta and Arsenal the truth
-Nwaneri only teenager to play for first team in league since 2019


Arteta and Arsenal, the truth
– in a title race for the second season running

Ten Hag and United, the truth
– kids are the best players we got!


Saka was a teenager in 2019 and 2020…


How old was Fast Gabi those seasons? I’m pretty sure he was thereabouts as well..

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

Youth team prospects will look at facts not myths when assessing their prospects of progression to the first team squad – and the facts are that we are a young and exciting squad that contains several Hale End products – so even if you don’t perceive MA as a manager that brings youth through – the ethos is very much in the favour of encouraging top youth to see our club as a very attractive prospect – and you only have to look at the likes of martinelli and saliba to see that we won’t just limit ourselves to hale… Read more »

The Beast

That would make some sense if we haven’t had one of the youngest squads in the league for the past few seasons.
Guess some ppl aren’t happy unless we’re playing an U18 side in the CL knock out stages…


You either want Arsenal to compete for the top honours or you want a finishing school?


Glad to see he’s signed. I guess it helps him, having seen what happened to the fella who jumped ship for Boehly bucks at Chelsea last year and is … well I don’t know where he is on loan at now but he clearly got fast tracked to first team football with they move. Genuinely can’t remember his name now either.

Good luck progressing Ethan, I hope we see you gliding through the opposition for the first team real soon.


Omari Hutchinson, on loan at Ipswich Town from Chelsea?

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