Gnabry turns professional with first-team opportunities not too far away

It has been quite a memorable week or so for Serge Gnabry. The German youngster, who enjoyed a superb debut season at Arsenal following his move from Stuttgart, made his comeback for the Reserves against Stevenage at the weekend following a lengthy injury layoff and came close to scoring on two occasions, before it was confirmed today that he has signed his first professional contract having recently turned 17.

Foreign recruits do tend to be offered deals automatically, but in Gnabry’s case he surely earned his upgrade on merit as well. Having excelled in the under-18s, scoring seven goals in seven Academy League starts, he then broke into the Reserve side where he found the net twice in six appearances. His directness, skill and power have endeared him to regular watchers of Arsenal’s youngsters and, whilst it is true that there are occasions, such as the FA Youth Cup defeat to Derby County last season, where he can be rather ineffective, Gnabry’s promise, overall, is very high indeed.

This season, although still eligible for the under-18s, he is likely to play the majority of his football for the second string, as well as being heavily involved in the NextGen series. It is not completely out of the question that there will be some first-team involvement, either, with a place on the bench in the Capital One Cup not beyond the realms of possibility.

Manager Arsene Wenger spoke last week of the younger players at his disposal, saying: “We also have younger players who are 16 or 17, who are not with us on [the Asia] tour, who will certainly appear this season. We are faithful to what we want to do whicih is to promote young players and give them a chance at that level.”

You do not need a decoder, to use another of the Frenchman’s phrases, to work out that Gnabry is likely to be in the mix, with others possibly including the likes of Hector Bellerin, Jon Toral and Kris Olsson, with the latter having already featured at first-team level in the Markus Libeherr Cup this pre-season.

Another possible, and perhaps somewhat surprising candidate for a run-out at some stage is Chuba Akpom. The 16 year old first year scholar impressed as a schoolboy last season and, under new coach Terry Burton, has been used heavily for the Reserves so far this pre-season, edging out the likes of Sanchez Watt and Philip Roberts. Akpom still has much to work on in terms of his finishing, and was a victim of frequent fouling against Stevenage on Saturday, but is highly rated at the club for his blend of skill and directness.



  1. Hey Jeorge,do you have any info on what’s happening with the likes of Ryo,Eisfeld,Yennaris(spelling),Cowuelin?…willthey be with reserves or stay with first team?…

  2. J.B. – Any news on left-back James Shaw, with Andre Santos playing a more forward role maybe he could be a potential signing.

  3. Once Santos he not at LB he has shown he is a major liability as he cannot defend for shit.

    Good news on Gnarby looks a great prospect

  4. Is gnabry a down to earth kid? At this level its down to character as much as ability. He reminds me a bit of wiltord. Hope he makes it.

    1. Jimmy, By everything I’ve read and seen by Gnabry on the social media world these days seem to be a really good kid! Very exciting prospect for the AFC I was saying last season should been in 1st team over Gervihno and Arshavin at times very direct player coming in from left and very explosive shot! Wish him luck! Cheers!

  5. Great news re: Gnarby.
    Looking forward to seeing this lad play at Chesham.
    After seeing Akpom, Wynter & Olssen at B’wood, gotta say that these are some of the most technically gifted youngsters I’ve seen the club producing.

    1. Nobody ever talks about Wynter but he seems like as good a prospect as any. Wenger has brought him in to train with the first team on a few occasions and he was one of the 6 who got to train with the Brazil Olympics squad recently. The coaches must rate him very highly to get those opportunities.

      1. At last someone else who thinks wynter might have a good future. from what i have seen he could make a very good dm. nothing fancy and well disciplined he just gets his tackles in blocks well and provides a simple pass. whether that is enough only time will tell. but its exactly what we are missing at the moment in the first team and why we are supposed to be looking at the likes of mvila capoue etc. obviously needs a decent spell in the reserves and a loan spell or two but if he can avoid the distractions of twitter, gangsta music and other outside influences and just focus on his football he can do well.

      2. I hadn’t seen Wynter before the B’wood game, and as you say, he hasn’t really been bigged up, so he was a surprise to me. But a very pleasant surprise….
        And yes, as said above, we have some fantastic kids coming thru, Lipman is also highly thought of I believe?

      3. I like Wynter. Him and Ebicelio are going to be very good central midfielders in a few years.

  6. JB – do you have any info on the under 21 league rules yet? i see the fixtures for that and the next gen series are out. it appears arsenal u21s will be playing at the emirates whilst next gen will be at underhill.

  7. What’s happened with Jack Jebb, is he injured? Are the staff waiting for him to turn 17 and tied to a pro deal before allowing this ‘next Wilshere’ the exposure of Reserve football? Or is he just not as good as everybody kept saying he was?

    1. I believe he played recently for 18’s vs. Chelsea in a AFC 3-2 win. Maybe club wants him to keep a quiet profile on him? Cheers!

      1. And why would they want to do that? How is he different from say, Akpom?
        Chelsea’s best school leavers have gone abroad with the “u21s”.

      2. We have many players in the midfield at the moment who are highly rated. Its hard for him to show a lot when he was away from U18 a lot. This year anything can happen. I have a feeling our U18 will be even stronger even though its the first year scolars in it.

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