If there is one quality Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will be known for, it has to be his appreciation for youthful players, and particularly those from the famous Arsenal Academy at Hale End. One of his major calls at Arsenal when appointed manager, was recalling Eddie Nketiah from a loan spell at Leeds United, and later handing him the legendary number 14 jersey.
Under Arteta as well, other Arsenal Academy products have excelled, including Bukayo Saka, now a mainstay at the England national team, Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe. Folarin Balogun is doing well on loan and expects to be incorporated into the first team next season, while there are a lot of others coming up. With all these positive steps from the academy players, Arteta’s biggest headache is how they will get into the team in light of Arsenal’s targets that have been raised season after season under Arteta. Now the team is set to play in the Champions League next season and while that’s a big positive financially, it could lead to the stifling of talented players from the academy, with Arsenal set to go for experienced players to beef up.
This season already, Emile Smith Rowe, one of Arsenal’s best performers last season, has struggled to get play time, though his situation was worsened by injury. It may however not change, as the player ahead of him happens to be the club captain, Martin Odegaard, who has been superb this season.
Odegaard has started May in top fashion, scoring three times already and betting on him to continue in that form could be a good way to take advantage of the bet365 bonus code in May 2023. It then begs the question, given his quality, will Smith Rowe be okay to play second fiddle next season? Reiss Nelson has stepped up this season, clearly an improvement of the player that left for a loan spell at Feyenoord last season. He has featured for more minutes this season and has had a big impact, a case in point being his performance in the comeback win at home to Bournemouth. Arsenal risk losing him though, as his contract expires at the end of the current campaign, and he has reportedly rejected the renewal offered. Nelson is either seeking better terms or an exit, and it will take a lot from Arteta to convince him to stay.
Folarin Balogun is among the leading scorers in the French Ligue 1. He would like to follow in William Saliba’s footsteps, who after a great season in France, came to command a regular spot at Arsenal. However, while Saliba came as a solution to a leaky defence, Balogun will find an attack that hasn’t struggled to score goals, which means he will have to do more. He definitely hasn’t done all to prove he can lead the Gunners attack, which again may force Arteta to look beyond the Hale End product. As for Nketiah, while he led the forward line well in Gabriel Jesus’ absence, there is a feeling he still lacks the instincts to match the top goal poachers of Europe. As such, he may be forced to play second fiddle to the Brazilian, but will face stiff competition from Balogun.
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