Arsenal: The best up-and-coming Young Guns
We look at four young Arsenal players that could break into the first team in the near future
Arsene Wenger promised to be ‘proactive’ in the transfer market this summer and, if Arsenal are going to challenge for more than just a fourth spot, he would need to be.
If the French tactician could make a few star signings to plug the gaps in the current first team line-up, Arsenal could have a solid squad in 2013/14 as they already have a few young stars to provide the added depth.
Youngsters such as Jack Wilshere, Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have already made their mark with solid performances in Wenger’s first team. Jack Wilshere is one of the greatest talents to climb through the Arsenal ranks and the young England international has even been tipped to take over the captain’s armband.
With solid performances from Kieran Gibbs, the 23-year-old looks set to be Wenger’s first choice left-back next season, even with the talent of Nacho Monreal competing for the role.
Bacary Sagna might be leaving the Emirates and Carl Jenkinson will probably take over as first choice right back when that happens. Jenkinson struggled in his debut season with the Gunners but has since improved immensely, both in defence and attacking down the flank.
Oxlade-Chamberlain lit up the pitch in his first season but failed to produce the same flair this season. However, the ‘Ox’ did improve in the latter half of the season and showed signs of a maturing player that could cement himself into a starting berth before long.
However, these aren’t Wenger’s only promising young Gunners and there are four others that could force their way into the squad if Wenger decides to keep them at the Emirates rather than send them out on loan to gain more experience first.
At 22, the French midfielder has already shown that he is a class act with several good appearances in the Arsenal colours. He played well in the 2011/12 season but failed to make his mark this season as Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey formed a solid partnership in the middle of the park, denying the Frenchman a chance to prove himself in the long term.
However, if Wenger fails to sign a defensive midfielder this summer, Coquelin might have his opportunity. Either way, he has the quality to become a regular feature in Arsenal’s ranks, if not now, then certainly in the not-too-distant future.
The attacking midfielder is one of Arsenal’s hottest prospects. He made four appearances for Arsenal in 2012/13 and showed great potential. The German can play as central attacking midfielder or on the wing, has good dribbling skills, and a good eye for goal. However, with the talent already at Wenger’s disposal in those positions, he would do well to send the 18-year-old on loan for another season or two in order for him to gain valuable first team experience.
Nevertheless, Gnabry is set for an exciting future at the Emirates and could be a threatening addition on Arsenal’s bench if he remains at the club next season.
Although Carl Jenkinson is likely to take over the reins from Sagna next season, Bellerin could also stake a claim for the full back position. The 18-year-old Spaniard swapped Catalonia for north London in 2012 and has since proven his worth with the youth team and reserves.
Bellerin started out as a winger and kept his pacey attacking style when he made the switch to right back; making forward runs regularly and producing quality service to the strikers. He is also solid in defence and Jenkinson will have fierce competition for his starting spot, especially if Wenger decides to acquire another right back in the transfer window.
The last player on this list is the up-and-coming star Thomas Eisfield. The 20-year-old German has impressed since joining the Gunners in 2012. He showed great potential during Arsenal’s pre-season and played a significant role in the comeback against Reading in the League Cup.
He has exceptional dribbling skills, is good at retaining the ball and has a formidable eye for goal. And although the midfielder has plenty of competition with the magnificent Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky all ahead of him in the pecking order, he might get more opportunities in 2013/14. All the same, the young German is set to become a star of Arsenal’s midfield if he continues to ply his trade at the Emirates.
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