During Arsene Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal both he and Arsenal supporters have taken great pride in the amount of players he has plucked from their youth teams and turned into world beaters, and this policy turned Arsenal into regular challengers for both domestic and continental honours.
However, the talent pool is not quite as vast as it used to be, and this is reflected by the fact that Arsenal have been trophyless for 8 years now – since the 2005 FA Cup. Gone are the days when Arsenal’s first team was filled with youth team players such as Gael Clichy and Cesc Fabregas and bargain buys such as Patrick Viera and Thierry Henry.
With the ever changing face of football bargain buys are harder to come by due to the extensive scouting networks of all of Europe’s elite clubs, so clubs have to rely even more on their youth systems. Here are the 3 players who are most likely to become regular fixtures at Arsenal in the coming years:
Of all the Youngsters at Arsenal whom have yet to establish themselves as an integral part of the first team, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is by far the most promising. Having signed for the Gunners in the summer of 2011 from Southampton he has had a number of promising performances for Arsenal, most notably in the 2nd leg of the Champions League tie against AC Milan where he dominated the midfield.
He still has plenty of time to nail down his starting spot at Arsenal bearing in mind that he is only 19 years of age, and England boss Roy Hodgson also sees the potential in him and has already handed him 9 caps for the senior side.
Francis Coquelin is another player who in the coming years could well be a regular fixture in the Arsenal Midfield. The Laval born 21 year old Frenchman is having his second spell with The Gunners, as the UEFA U19 Championship winner initially came on loan in 2010.
He is a versatile player and has plenty of energy, which could well prove invaluable to Arsenal in the coming years and Arsene Wenger said on the official Arsenal site of him:
What Coquelin is doing is quite good. His qualities help the team to defend better. He has that ability to fly into people and win the ball back, and that’s something important.
I believe that there’s an important stage once a player reaches 19 years of age and is not a regular player at Arsenal. [You must] get him somewhere to gain experience.”
The Arsenal academy has previous in producing high quality left backs having produced Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy since the turn of the millennium, and in Kieran Gibbs they have another good one on their hands. Lambeth boy Gibbs has been with Arsenal since the 2006/7 season, and spent 2007/8 on loan at Norwich City.
Gibbs is good on the ball, pacey, and athletic and if he can steer clear of injuries in the future he could make that left back spot his own. The concern here has to be injuries. Since 2009, he has been beset with absences, 11 separate incidents in total. And of course, he is out now with a thigh muscle strain.