Mystery surrounding club’s stance on Jeffrey continues following another impressive performance

Sometimes, it seems that no matter how hard you try, and no matter how good the results are, you still end up not getting the praise that you deserve. That may well be how winger Anthony Jeffrey is feeling after he delivered another superb performance in the FA Youth Cup this week despite his future at the club beyond this season being far from assured.

Jeffrey has always had an edge about him. He made his debut for the U18s as a schoolboy against Charlton Athletic in December 2010, and immediately caught the eye with his pace, an asset which made him the third fastest boy his age in the country at that time. He continued that good form into his scholarship, scoring some noteworthy goals in the Academy League last season, whilst also starting regularly at that level this campaign.

He has, however, not yet been provided with a sustained opportunity to shine at U21 level, featuring just once for Terry Burton’s side this campaign, whilst in the NextGen Series most of his chances to shine have come from the bench. Jeffrey’s attitude certainly cannot be questioned and, with his determination another commendable asset, the club’s apparent reluctance to offer him a professional contract seems somewhat bewildering.

Along with Hector Bellerin, Jeffrey tore apart the Newcastle United defence at Underhill in the 3rd round of the Youth Cup, before repeating the trick against Fulham on Tuesday night with another well-taken goal. It is true that he hasn’t found the net in the league for the U18s this season in nine starts, but the Hale End product has certainly contributed in different ways, providing his fair share of assists and improving his passing range.

It may well transpire that the club will offer Jeffrey a professional deal in June, but, even then, it is only likely to be a one-year contract, and this seems to be a strange way of treating a player whose performances, on the whole, have been impressive since making the step-up to youth level. It is true that some of Jeffrey’s crosses, particularly when he is operating on the right flank, tend to go astray, but he makes up for that with his ability to beat defenders and his improving ball control.

The likes of Roarie Deacon and Jeffrey Monakana, also searing quick wingers, have also been treated harshly by the club in recent years and, at present, it seems as if that is the path that Jeffrey is heading down.



  1. sadly because he is english if he was forgien he would be handed a contract on a plate our acadmy needs to look at producing more british home grown players with a few forgieners not the other way round like it is atm

  2. He is good but I don’t see any special with him when he play. Its not all about the goals. And he got Gnabry ahead of him. The club must believe you can at least play in the championship in the near future. How is his link up play? I have never seen him play in a whole match but some players you only need to see a few min of before saying they are top class. I see a highly average player in Jeffrey. I hope he proves me wrong but Monokana was the same thing. He is now playing in League 1? I think he needs to show he is a lot better than our even younger players in U18. If they can replace in in U21 then I don’t see any wrong why we are not giving him a pro deal.

    We are after all Arsenal and will always have good player for U21 football. I think Lipman can be good if not better in the wings too. Jordan Brown and Iwobi is coming strong.

  3. I haven’t seen too much of Jeffrey but he seems to be a one dimensional player. He can dribble at pace but his final ball is inconsistent, his short passing isn’t very assured (when compared to the standard set by Toral, Jebb, Olsson, Gnabry, etc.), he has never struck me as special.

    If we have younger players in his position the coaching staff have more belief in and want to start giving opportunities to, I can understand why they don’t want to hang on to Jeffrey. Better for him to go now than to lose another year at Arsenal without playing.

  4. Yeah i think we’ll be a bit more ruthless in the coming years with our youngsters. We end up a bit overstocked with players who are unlikely to make it at the very highest level. On a slightly different note, just read a Bolton blog which was extremely critical of Benik Afobe, basically saying he’s pretty average and that Sordell is a much better player. Quite surprised.

  5. I haven’t seen too much of Jeffrey but he seems to be a one dimensional player –
    you comment on a player you havent watched. this comment is sufficient for me to call you a dickhead.

  6. I just don’t think the club are that committed to developing our own wingers. This is partly due to our tactical setup, which favours wingers that can score goals with regularity by cutting in to the middle, like Walcott and Podolski. Gnabry can do this as well. I still don’t know if Chamberlain is a midfielder or a winger. I think Arsene’s reluctance to play him is due to the fact that he is trying to develop him as a pacy central midfielder who can drive the team forward when needed. I know we have Wilshere for that, but Chamberlain is a bit different to him. Imagine, in the future, a midfield of Wilshere, Chamberlain and a more defensive player!!! That would be pretty formidable.

    Back to the winger discussion, I myself feel that to play on the wing for us, you need to be able to do more than just beat a man. You have to have an eye for a pass, good enough technique to perform a one two combination etc. Did anyone else notice how well Walcott is actually passing the ball now??? You also have to be able to cut in and score between 10-15 goals per season. Do any of you really see Jeffrey being able to do this??? I don’t know myself, so that is why I am asking. In the future he might be able to, but he doesn’t seem to have the natural aptitude for it like Gnabry does…but who knows???

    I’ve never really seen the logic in name-calling on this site…I’ve done it myself, and then realized how stupid I was. We all want the same thing in the end…a bunch of Academy players in the first team, or in the squad at least.

  7. In all fairness we say its te club, but what’s to say we haven’t offered him a pro deal and he’s turned it down to go elsewhere? Have to remember that his next move will have a massive impact in his future as a pro, stay and play 2nd/3rd fiddle at u21 or go and get a deal where his 1st choice at u21 and challenging for 1st team! Sure saying your a pro at arsenal is great but if he stays in 3years it’ll be some guy who “couldn’t cut it at arsenal” where as now he’d leave as “one arsenal let get away”! Whatever he decides as with any of our academy lads that leave or get chucked out, wish them a successful career!

  8. I was at the game on Tuesday and thought his performance was promising. He is exceedingly quick, and his goal was very well taken. On the negative side I thought he was sitting deeper than I would like a winger to do and often left himself too far behind the Fulham back four. We looked less threatening when he went off injured. I don’t think he will be pushing for a first team berth in the next two to three years but certainly has the potential to become a professional at some level, I’m not sure that he has enough for us at the moment but wish him the very best in the future wherever he ends up.

  9. Why is there any surprise, any half wit with basic knowledge of the Shenley politics knew, the moment the “German superstar” Gnabry was signed by Steve Rowleys mob AJ career was over.
    Chippys previous comment covers this point –

    “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.”
    So AJs progress was over 2 years not today. Any contract he gets now isnt worth toilet
    paper, as if there was NO PLAN for JW come through as evidenced with Ramseys
    purchase then there is no plan most if not ALL the Hale End players.
    further evidence is
    Lansbury v Denilson
    aneke v ozyaguk
    sanchez v Sunu
    Boadu v Zemamek
    Reice-cook v Martinez

    1. yaaaaaaaaaaaaawww wilshere was always gone to make it .even wenger turn to a youth game to watch him (he really does very few time) and the list at the bottom none will/has make/made it
      young everyone favorite lansbury dont even make forest first eleven (denilson is in sao paulo first team and won the sudamerica cup) the ,sanchez watt play alright in league 1 (sme with sunu but in french top division) ,ozyaguk already been sold while aneke doing ok at crewe,anyone who have seen zemanek know he is special,none of the GK are anything near good enough for us

    2. For anyone reading the above rubbish from ‘neil’ here and being even mildly seduced by its content, Wilshere was fast tracked through the system and had made his PL, CL and FA Cup debuts at 16 years of age, at which point Wenger had already spoken of his future being in the ‘Bergkamp position’ behind the striker (a position which he is now beginning to get his first taste of).

      This poisonous copy and paste job every so often finds its way onto the comments under different pseudonyms.

  10. The boy almost plays like Lennon or Walcott. An finish and can cross , it can go astray at sometimes but he’s only 18 .the player Walcott ATM is out best player going forward because what players like him and AJ have cannot be taught and that is electrifying pace ! A lot of work to do but he could be a player with hard work.

  11. I am on Wrenny on that one. All I can see in him is a future Jerome Thomas. Speedy, with some tricks (but not in abundance) but very one dimensional. His final ball and link up play not up the Arsenal standard.
    I can see him carving a decent career at championship or third tier premiership club. With the younger Gnabry, Toral, Olsson showing glimpses of greater talent, not offering him a new contract does not sound like an decision we are likely to regret in a few years.
    There a gap in quality and hard work between Arsenal U18, Arsenal U21, reserve football, professional football, premiership football and Arsenal first team. Many cannot bridge that gap. Some youngsters look good at U18 level because their attributes (pace, height, build) gave them an advantage that disappears against better and more experienced players. It is likely that the Arsenal staff has already realised that Jeffrey is a case in point. Looking good because of his pace at U18, but ultimately not good enough technically and tactically to play for Arsenal first team.

    1. But the lad hasn’t even been given a chance at u21 level. Jeffrey is your traditional English winger, he’s direct! Those criticising his crossing clearly haven’t seen the lad play. He’s worked on his left foot and capable on both feet and provides consistent end product. In my opinion he’s better than all the other ‘pacey wingers’ that haven’t made the grade at Arsenal in the past.

  12. All these commenters using just first names, without capital letters – ‘paul’, ‘neil’, ‘dann’ – and giving roughly the same anti-Arsenal message. How very strange. It’s almost as if it’s just the same dullard posting over and over under different (and uninspired) names to try and force his opinion down other people’s throats.

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