Arsenal sign four players to scholarships but release Boadu, Barnes and Regis

Liam Brady and the Academy coaching staff have made the considerably difficult decisions regarding Arsenal’s scholarship intake for next season, and there were some surprises amongst their choices, with just four Hale End graduates being retained and several others being released.

In addition to midfielder Gedion Zelalem, who will be eligible for the U18s when he turns 16 next month, scholarships have been handed to striker Jordan Brown, winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles, right-back Tafari Moore and goalkeeper Ryan Huddart. 

England youth international Brown, who possesses an impressive goalscoring record at schoolboy level, broke into the U18 squad earlier this season, and has made six league appearances at that level, scoring his first goal against West Bromwich Albion recently. He also made an impressive cameo in the FA Youth Cup victory over Newcastle United last week.

Brown is joined by Maitland-Niles, who has featured twice for the U18s this campaign, scoring once, and England U16 internationals Moore and Huddart, who have been on the fringes of the U18 squad this season.

A concrete decision is yet to be made on centre-back Elliott Wright, who also featured against West Brom, but the remaining U16s have been released, including several players who have played for the U18s this campaign. Goalkeeper Ethan Ross, defenders Aaron Barnes, Stefan O’Connor and Dieudonne Longalonga and midfielders Denzeil Boadu, Chris Regis and Lewis Byrne-Hewitt have all been let go in addition to Regan Charles-Cook, although it is worth remembering that these decisions are not set in stone and the club can reverse their choice at any time. Similarly, those players who have been offered scholarships can refuse and pursue their careers elsewhere prior to signing the contract.

Second-year scholars Anthony Jeffrey and Zach Fagan, meanwhile, are continuing to strive for their first professional contracts, whilst several members of the U21 squad see their contracts with the club expire at the end of the current campaign, including recent first-team debutants Jernade Meade and Martin Angha.



  1. why is it that zelalem has to wait until 16 years old to play for the under-18,s when the likes of cedric evina played at just 13?

  2. Strange! 3 players good enough to play for England but not good enough for Arsenal. Wonder if this will one day bite Brady in the bum?

  3. Releasing Boadu is the most surprising considering how highly rated he was and playing for england u16s. Regis is not better than Brown, and Wright has had alot of injuries.

  4. Only 4? did not expect that. But I guess that might means we have promising U15 players who can be given a chance next season, plus 1-3 signing.

  5. How does the club rate Gedion Zelalem? There is very little footage of him playing football online but he does not immediately appear to have that X-factor so widely spoken about. How mistaken am I?

    1. training with 1st team at 15, think that tells you how highly wenger rates him. also plays for germany, best youth system along with spain, so yes you are mistaken.

  6. Jeorge, what about Kyle Young, how is he doing? Has he really got bigger potential than his brother, like Ashley said a few years ago?

  7. What do you think of Apkom Jeorge? Interesting watching the highlights it’s the first i’ve seen of him. Seems to have a good touch, but not as tall as i’d thought (under 6ft i would guess?). Wenger and the staff seem to have a very high opinion of him, despite his goal scoring record being decent but not great throughout the age groups. What qualities does he have and what does he need to work on?

    1. His progression has been fantastic. He is good at holding the ball up and laying it on for others and is also incredibly skilful as well as having good strength for his age. He’s not the most clinical of strikers, though, which is why I have suggested he may be better playing in another role in the future.

  8. Jom, why is Toral suddenly all hype??? From what I have seen he MIGHT be our most versatile midfielder that we have at the club, at any level!!! He has played a bit wider, in a defensive role, as a playmaker, you name it, he’s probably played there. And he scores goals too!!! He can’t be all hype. He might not be as technically gifted as say, Olsson, but they are two very different players. Toral has that forward drive that a lot of our players don’t have. I like him, personally.

    1. He seems just one of a few players we have. Many in this U21 team is special but nothing that amazing. Olsson seems very good and might have a big chance to do something. Gnabry is the best, vision, technically and physically. Other than him I don’t know.

      Being versatile is one thing. Being top class and versatile is a total different thing. Scoring goals is great but at this level.. unless you scored shitloads of goals and tons of assist than nothing is too good for this level. JET and Watt scored alot in every game almost… still you have to look at the goals they scored and the opposition they faced and the level of class during the entire game.

  9. True, scoring goals isn’t everything, but he is a midfielder, and central midfielders who can score are pretty hard to find!!!

    1. I don’t know man. Another one who is good at scoring goals is Zak Ansah who I think is also very special. Scoring great goals and good individually. I am glad he is back, Akpom will learn a lot from him.

      1. zak ansah is pretty average , don’t get blinded by the goals he makes…..I saw him play many times and he is not at the same level than akpom

  10. Some surprising releases in this bracket. i thought this group was highly thought of especially the likes of Boadu who i kept hearing about. I bet Ivan and co. are responsible for this lol. #BlackScarfMovement

    1. yeye very efficient….what are you talking about one first team player’s saleries ala bendtner or chamack would pay the youth team players saleries and dont start talking about how buying foregin youth is some sort of conspiracy when it is obvious english players have higher price tags and comercial value in this country which makes them much more lucrative! take your tripe elsewhere

  11. Definitly an odd decision , if is true….usually the released players know their future in march…why so soon ?…anyway for ethan ross is normal to be released because iliev and vickers will be the u18/u21 keeeprs next year and huddart is a first year plus 98 harry girling is a top gk .We have plenty first year defenders and midfielders but forwards only lipman and brown so it possible that we buy another cf.
    anyway the team roster for next year will be.
    gk, vickers,huddart
    df,dallison ,mugabo,siemann,ormonde~ottewill,uade,moore,wright

    I think some highly rated 97…willard, toonga, olomola,jordan or richardson will have their chance during the season

    1. Many tought this u18 team was special. with 5-6 england international, a few other highly rated but what happaned? To be fair many from U16 has been given a chance too. But still.

  12. A lot of our youth players are moved around different positions to improve them, it doesn’t mean they’re actually ‘versatile’. Midfielders who switch between playing no.10 and deeper; defenders who sometimes play CB, sometimes at full back; forwards who play down the middle one game and out wide the next; fullbacks who play some games as wingers, etc. Monteiro and Jeffrey are the only outfield players I can think of who have been kept in the same position pretty much every game.

    Having said that I think Toral is a very good young player, he seems the complete package. Physically, technically and mentally, he scores highly on all of them for me.

  13. Bradford tomorrow! They’re League 2 so I hope we see a few more youngsters again. Yennaris and Miquel are out injured unfortunately, I think they both would have had a chance to start.

    The team I would like to see:

    Angha – Djourou – Squillaci/Vermaelen – Meade
    Coquelin – Ramsey
    Eisfeld – Chamberlain – Gnabry

    I think we’ll go a fair bit stronger than that to make sure we win the game, with Jenkinson, Arshavin and Chamakh probably all in the starting line up at the expense of Angha, Akpom and one of the German widemen. Maybe Rosicky could start too. Eisfeld was very good when he came on v Reading in the last round, I would like to see him start. Gnabry is exciting but raw, a bit naive, and was a bit selfish shooting from distance a lot of the time instead of looking for a pass in his short 1st team cameos.

  14. Jeorge can explain the selection process when comes to handing out scholarships because we seem to let go a lot of players every other year. 2010 there was 13 graduates that came from hale end, then the next year there was just 3. Last year 9 graduates came from Hale End (13 if you include Dawkins, Dallison, Siemann, and Roberts) and this year there only appears to be 4 scholarships handed out. Is there any specific requirements on and off the pitch that the players have to meet or is it just simply down to competition for places with the second years?

  15. The power struggle at arsenal.
    Only 4 kept on because the positions are being filled with Steve Rowleys imports.
    In the blue corner you have the academy led by Liam Brady and in the red corner you have Steve Rowley and who leads scouting.
    The objective of each team is to provide players to the first team BUT this is where the problems begin.
    Instead of working in harmony, the respective teams are at logger heads so much that they despise each other.
    Each team has its own network of scouts and it has been known for both teams to send scouts to the same game to look at the same players. It has become that bad.
    this season alone 2 scouts had seats next to each other.
    The objective of the academy is to provide players for the first team, BUT as the Mr Wenger has no interest in the academy from an early age it is not until they are offered a 2 year scholar and move to shenley that they are finally on anyones radar. In the mean time Team Rowley is also searching high and low for players to bring into the same pool.
    The problem is that any player that is bought into the club from overseas would have had some financial investment made by the club so the club are already committed to bring through players from Team Rowley. Steve Rowley was promoting Aaron Ramsey to Mr Wenger ahead of Jack Wilshere.
    If Jack came through and succeeded, Steve Rowley would not get his commission. The saving grace for Jack Wilshere was the unfortunate leg break to Aaron Ramsey, had that not occurred Jack was being sold to West Ham.
    Unless there is a reshuffle in the structure of the academy and scouting, the in-fighting between the respective parties will destroy what was achieved in the past.
    Everyone is on the gravy train, and its the supporters who get short changed by the greed of others who see lining their pockets before the good of the club.

    1. I doubt that we was ever going to sell jack wilshere come on mate. Steve Rowley should have lost his job the same day he scouted Jamie Edge from Cheltenham Town

    2. “Jack was being sold to West Ham”

      Hahahaha! Thanks Chippy, I needed a laugh.

      I never get tired of saying it, and it shouldn’t even have to be pointed out but for the benefit of anyone who might read Chippy’s nonsense and be even slightly convinced by it I will repeat it.

      Wenger gave Wilshere his Premier League and Champions League debuts when he was 16. Wenger compared Jack to Dennis Bergkamp when he was 16. Talk of Wenger not wanting Wilshere is the most absurd and pathetic bit of anti-Wenger propaganda yet.

      Scummy fans fabricate and spread shameless lies like these to try and persuade others to agree with their point of view – that Wenger should go. Don’t be fooled into the lie that they do it because they love the club, these people just enjoy the attention it brings them.

  16. How do you know Jack was going to be sold off to West Ham??? Wenger saw something special in Jack from the age of about 15. Remember THAT goal against West Ham??? Wenger was there at that match. And just so you know, Aaron Ramsey WAS going to be JUST AS GOOD, IF NOT BETTER than Wilshere before that injury. It really gives me the creeps what has happened to him since then. Think before you give any “inside knowledge.” Clown.

  17. JB – Do you think any of this month’s Birthday Boy’s will be offered pro-terms or will they be delayed till this summer or even next? Josh Vickers, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and
    Arinse Uade.

    I personally think BOO has the best chance

      1. Some of our lads at u16 level tend to get overhyped and get found out when they enter u18s. Liam Brady was quoted in foufourtwo saying the overall problem with english youth players is that they tend to be treated like superstars before they have even done anything in the game and they lose focus. He went on to complain about the fact that our 15 year old lads get blogged about like theyre already somebody so that could be the reason why a few are not fulfilling their potential because they already think theyre the bees knees

  18. Chippy – you made some valid points in your critique on the current scouting situation at Arsenal. I know that around the time that generation Wilshere/JET/Murphy Arsenal beat Tottenham at White Hart Lane a couple of years ago. The club were edging Jack towards looking elsewhere, they kept on telling him he was too small, not explosive enough and needed to be more box to box. I know this because his Dad told me about the frustration they were having at Shenley. For instance, when Miquel came from Spain, the deal included a full resettlement package – house, cash etc for him and his family. The Hale End graduates in comparison are eating porridge. The Hale End (HE) graduates know that they are behind every bought/imported player/talent. They do not make it by planning but through fortitude. Also you never talked about the Tiperrary Mafia (Brady/Cort) who profit vicariously from the talent they sell/on.

    1. Yes Hale End is a numbers game and run on a shoe string Parents bring their children 4 times a week including matches out of their own pockets. Going there straight from school and finishing between 8:00 -8: 30 pm. All they then get is a cup of lucozade and a couple of biscuits -of course the foreign players go to Shenley with the first team and get treated well not having the same treatment. There is a two tier system in place. How they got tier 1 heavens knows !

  19. so I wonder what the people who said wenger should play a full strength side in the CL say about Bradford game. I bet the players and the team is in high morale at the moment…. now we definitely have a chance to take top 4 spot with our morale high.

  20. Yeah, i think they don’t wanna waste their time with another JET or Lansbury, and i think that’s what they needs to do with these superior teenagers who thought they’re allready stars and don’t wanna do the hard work and don’t have the right kind of attitude, so we should really not do too much wondering about these desicions, we don’t know enough to make any conclusions about it.

  21. And in there lies the problem with producing young home grown talent, the boys are over hyped and believe the press, they figure that after the first or second pro contract that they’ve made it and stop doing the important things that got them there in the first place.

  22. I strongly believe releasing Regis was a HUGE mistake…some people are trained to play football and others are born to play. He’s ability for his age was outstanding even though his brain as a footballer needed to be developed more. He has huge potential to be the next (yaya toure) for arsenal plus he played for ENGLAND U17’s and scored at just 15. What else can u ask from the kid?? If your going to reverse your decision then you should bring him back before another prem team makes him into a star and it ends up costing arsene wenger a fortune to bring him back.
    All the best guys…#gunnerstillidie

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