Saturday, May 25, 2024

Signing of Brayden Clarke bolsters Arsenal U18s’ defensive options

Arsenal have signed defender Brayden Clarke, with the centre-back having made his debut for the U18s in their 8-3 win at home to Crystal Palace today.

A Wales youth international who previously had a trial at Newcastle United, 16-year-old Clarke is seen as an exciting prospect for the future and is the son of former Portsmouth player Nigel Quashie.

Clarke is the first academy player that Arsenal have signed at U18 level or above since they brought in Lino Sousa from West Bromwich Albion in December 2021.

There could well be further arrivals in the summer as Per Mertesacker looks to bolster the U18s’ strength in depth.

The signing of Clarke was certainly needed, with the U18s having been short of options at centre-back, especially following the decision to release Coby Small. Luis Brown, who can also play at centre-back but has mainly been used at left-back this season, has also been informed that he will not be offered a professional contract and is currently on trial at West Ham United.

Against Palace, Clarke played alongside Ayden Heaven at the heart of the defence. That seems likely to be a regular partnership at youth level over the next couple of seasons.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Brayden and Ayden? Nice. It’s been decades since our academy last produced a top quality centre back, and barring some loan miracle it doesn’t look like it will be Walters or Sousa either, so really hope it’s this kid!


There’s our future Ben White.


Another young, talented player comes in under the radar, barely noticed but could go on to become a world class player.
As a fan I find young players coming through the ranks like Saka and establishing themselves as regulars not only for Arsenal but for the national team very satisfying.
As much as I love Declan Rice and Odegaard nothing gives more satisfaction than seeing young players coming through…


Agreed. Though if you speak of Odegaard in contrast to that you should at least mention he kind of only broke through with us after years of languishing in the academy of the wrong club. To me that’s almost as much a source of pride, to be a club where players come to really come into themselves and fulfil their potential the way they might have not elsewhere. You might say the same of both Gabriel M.’s, and of Havertz if he continues like this.

Dr. Gooner

The Ben White furor. Why? It seems pretty simple. He doesn’t think he’s going to be given a chance to play because the current leadership has proved they won’t play him at all while he was with the group in Qua-tar. England has Walker, Trippier and Trent, so I get why he’s 4th choice. Since he’s 4th choice though, White isn’t going to show up and waste his time making up the numbers. Plus he’s fighting on two fronts with Arsenal and needs to save his body for meaningful games. If he was the undisputed first choice for his country… Read more »

Eric Blair

My take on all of this: Who gives a shit? I bet Benjamin doesn’t. He’s one of us and we’ll be behind him all the way and that’s all that matters. The rest is just noise.

Dr. Gooner

Well it’s just going to be another unwanted distraction, drawing attention to the player and thereby the club for the wrong reasons. I don’t like that. The Raya stuff is just dying down, and the Arteta touch line thing before that… it’s like someone is always trying to manufacture some sort of distraction to put us off course. I don’t want to give them anything like this to latch on to. But if it comes down to protecting my players and supporting their choices, than that’s what we need to do and it seems like the club is doing just… Read more »

Marve Lunde

There once was a lad named Brayden, Whose skills on the field weren’t fadin’. With hopes high and eyes set, On the path to become a great bet, For Arsenal’s defense, a true maiden. Teedogg chimed in with glee, “Behold our future, Ben White,” said he. As the fans cheered and roared, For the talent they adored, In Brayden, the next star they see. Me2 spoke of prospects bright, And players coming into the light. With Saka and others in mind, A sense of pride they find, In nurturing talents to take flight. Ebo shared a thought profound, Of players… Read more »


Hey Jeorge Bird!
Suggestion for you, I have noticed that you regularly attend the youth games and you are quite good at observing and assessing potential. Could you please start analyzing the positions different youth take during the match not on the squad sheet. Like heat map for the player and how did he do?
Just a suggestion

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