Yunus Musah: The Valencia prodigy who Arsenal let slip through the net

Musah

Arsenal have cultivated an unwanted, unforgivable and financially cataclysmic reputation in recent years. 

Rather than integrating the cream of the academy crop into the senior squad, Arsenal have a pernicious habit of selling their most prodigious youngsters for a scratch card and a pint of milk instead. 

Their decision to offload often goes under the radar, with the size of their mistake only manifesting when the departed player begins to fulfil the potential that presumably convinced Arsenal to sign them during their youth.

Serge Gnabry, a Bundesliga star with just about everything in his locker, is the most high-profile example of the club's self-destructive tendency at play.

The Germany international, however, is part of a wider group of players who have flourished since leaving the Gunners, which includes Jeff Reine-Adélaïde (£22.5m valuation), Stephy Mavididi (£4.5m), Donyell Malen (£22.5m) and Ismaël Bennacer (£29.7m). 

And now it is looking increasingly likely that another player will soon be joining the aforementioned quintet, who were sold for a combined fee of £8.73m, but are now collectively worth £160.2m, per Transfermarkt. 

The talent in question goes by the name of Yunus Musah, a player who joined Valencia from Arsenal on a free transfer in August 2019. 

Having enjoyed a breakthrough season in La Liga this season, the 17-year-old was recently called up to the USA national side despite representing England at youth level. 

But who exactly is Musah? And should Arsenal fans already be dreading the next tale of wasted talent? 

Here, in a special instalment of GIVEMESPORT's Brits Abroad feature, Musah's career and international situation are placed under the microscope.

Background 

Musah

Musah was born in New York on 29 November 2002 while his Ghanaian mother was on holiday in the USA, but he moved to Italy as an infant before starting his professional football journey at Arsenal in 2012. 

The youngster spent seven years in north London, crafting his style and building a reputation as one of the hottest prospects in Arsenal's youth ranks. 

Capable of playing centrally and out wide, Musah scored four goals and provided three assists in 15 games for the U18 side in the 2018/19 season, which would prove to be his last at the club, while on the international stage he captained England at U15, U16 and U17 level.

The promise was clearly there for Arsenal to meticulously develop, but Musah snubbed the opportunity to sign a scholarship deal and instead opted to join Valencia.

Valencia career 

Yunus Musah

With Jadon Sancho leading a revolution for young English players, shedding light on the sheer level of opportunities that lie in waiting on foreign shores, it's perhaps no surprise that Musah, a player who has already experienced his fair share of resettlement, was enticed by the prospect of moving to Spain.

Musah spent his maiden campaign with the Valencia Mestalla side, playing 17 games for the Spanish giants' b-team in what effectively became a warm-up for his full senior breakthrough. 

Los Che seem to be perennially embroiled by some form of crisis, and their latest instalment of boardroom unrest and club turmoil has served as the catalyst for Musah's development. 

A summer exodus ushered a multitude of high quality first-team players through the Mestalla exit door, including club icon Dani Parejo, Francis Coquellin, Rodrigo and superstar-in-the-making Ferran Torres, who was allowed to leave for a snip of his true value. 

With his first-team depleted, the former Watford boss Javi Gracia called upon Musah and three more Valencia B players to step into the fold, and the hugely inexperienced prodigy has vindicated his manager's faith with a string of fine displays. 

Musah has predominantly played as a right-winger so far this season, showcasing tenacity, creativity, raw pace and smatterings of end-product. 

At the beginning of November, Musah opened his account for the La Liga outfit with a clinically dispatched effort against Getafe, and he followed that up with a solid outing in the club's morale-boosting 4-1 demolition of Real Madrid. 

Tug of war between England, USA, Ghana and Italy?

Yunus Musah

Musah's progress in La Liga hasn't gone unnoticed this season. 

In a strategic move to get ahead of the competition, the USA made a major statement of intent by calling Musah into the international squad for the most recent set of fixtures. 

Having represented England at every age group between U15s and U18s, the call-up arrived as something of a bolt from the blue. 

Gregg Berhalter handed the 6ft midfielder two separate caps against Wales and Panama, but his international future remains up in the air by virtue of FIFA rules. 

According to the international governing body, playing in an international friendly is not binding and it's only when a player makes their first competitive cap that they are considered to have committed their national allegiance. 

While Musah's recent international call-up has created a transatlantic England vs USA discourse, there is still a possibility that he could commit to Ghana or Italy. 

The situation is less than clear-cut for a player who is likely to be in-demand by all four of the aforementioned nations, but the fact a 17-year-old's international status is even being discussed as a four-way tussle speaks volumes about the enormity of Musah's potential.

Watching the saga unfold with deep-seated regret from afar, Arsenal will be experiencing that unsettling feeling of deja vu once again. 

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