Arsenal have a famous reputation for investing in youth, and have one of the finest academies in the UK, with names such as Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Cole all graduating from the academy.
Let's take a look at the latest academy prospects ahead of the Premier League season opener against Aston Villa:
1. Serge Gnabry, Midfielder/Winger
"The next German Wunderkind" has bags of potential and has made a mark in the Arsenal and German youth set-ups.
A very dynamic and skilful player, he made his first Premier League appearance against Norwich last term, becoming Arsenal’s third youngest player in the league’s history after Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere.
After his inclusion in a fine pre-season tour, expect Wenger to include Gnabry more this year
2. Chuba Akpom, Striker
The England Under-19 striker also impressed in Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Asia, hitting the back of the net three times in two appearances.
A free scoring striker across Arsenal’s youth set-up, he is a clinical finisher, converting chances with a brash assurance. Deceptively strong and quick across the ground, he could break into the first-team this season.
While Wenger’s search for a clinical striker has appeared fruitless, he could be pleasantly surprised if he gives Akpom the chance that he has merited.
3. Gedion Zelalem, Midfielder
A pre-season revelation, whose cameos projected him to the forefront of supporters’ imaginations.
While he has not fully developed physically as of yet, the 16 year-old gave off hints of his wondrous abilities. With sublime vision and technique to match, he exudes a calm authority whenever a ball is at his feet.
However, due to his relatively young age, he would be wise to focus more on his performances at Under 18 and 21 levels.
Nevertheless, if he continues his development, we could be seeing his name on the senior team sheet sooner rather than later.
4. Kristoffer Olsson, Midfielder
Another fine midfielder that fits the mould of midfielders Wenger has preferred since the inclusion of Cesc Fabregas in 2003.
Graceful in possession and a wonderful passer, he has the potential to blossom into an exceptional playmaker.
However, expect the likes of Thomas Eisfield to be closer to first-team action than him, although he is also one to keep an eye on over the coming years
5. Hector Bellerin, Full Back
One of the stronger candidates to make an appearance this term, this buccaneering full-back displays all the attributes Wenger wants in a full back.
He has the pace, control and delivery to frighten any defence when in full-flight, but the ex La Masia student also excels in possession, and pass and move football.
Retaining an enormous engine, his stamina is required in one of the most taxing of positions. With Sagna ageing, he could be competing with Jenkinson for a coveted first team spot fairly soon.
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