It has been quite an eventful week for Arsenal’s youngsters, given the FA Youth Cup victory over Fulham and Liam Brady’s decision to depart his post before the end of next season and, over the past couple of days, there have been several other interesting slithers of information emerging with regards to some of the club’s young prospects.
Hector Bellerin, for instance, trained with the first-team squad at London Colney this morning, with the young Spaniard charged with marking Theo Walcott during match practice. Bellerin was in inspired form against Fulham and has been earmarked for a promotion to the senior squad should, as seems likely, Bacary Sagna depart next summer.
Joining Bellerin in training with the seniors was Benik Afobe, who is back at the club following a frustrating loan spell at Bolton Wanderers, during which the striker struggled to impose himself, scoring just three times in 28 games for the Championship club. Admittedly, a large proportion of those appearances were as a substitute, but, on this evidence, it is becoming increasingly difficult to envisage the 19 year old making the grade at Emirates Stadium. It is likely that he will be loaned out to another Championship side, but there remains the slim possibility that he could stay to provide cover for the first-team given the current lack of strikers.
Samuel Galindo has also temporarily returned to Arsenal after he barely featured during a six-month stint with Lugo in the Spanish second division. Galindo, who previously spent time on loan with Salamanca and Gimnastic de Tarragona, could find himself sent to Spain again for the remainder of the season given his continuing difficulties with regards to obtaining a work permit which would enable him to play in England. On a more positive note, midfielder Chuks Aneke has re-joined Crewe Alexandra on loan for the remainder of the season following a brief return to North London. Aneke has prospered at the Alexandra Stadium this season and will be hopeful of winning back his starting place for the Railwaymen.
Finally, Arsenal’s Premier League squad for the remainder of the season has been named, with deadline-day recruit Nacho Monreal the only addition to the list that was submitted in August. Craig Eastmond, who is currently recovering from an injury picked up on loan at Colchester United, makes the cut, with the remaining members of the U21 and U18 squads included on the U21 list. Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin, Carl Jenkinson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are included on the U21 list.
Arsenal Premier League squad:
Andrey Arshavin, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Andre Santos, Abou Diaby, Lukasz Fabianski, Gervinho, Kieran Gibbs, Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny, Vito Mannone, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal, Lukas Podolski, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Bacary Sagna, Sebastien Squillaci, Wojciech Szczesny, Thomas Vermaelen, Theo Walcott, Craig Eastmond.
Benik Afobe, Chuba Akpom, Wellington, Chuks Aneke, Martin Angha, Zak Ansah, Hector Bellerin, Samir Bihmoutine, Daniel Boateng, Joel Campbell, Reice Charles-Cook, Francis Coquelin, Tom Dallison, Tarum Dawkins, Kyle Ebecilio, Thomas Eisfeld, Zach Fagan, Emmanuel Frimpong, Samuel Galindo, Serge Gnabry, Sead Hajrovic, Isaac Hayden, Conor Henderson, Deyan Iliev, Alex Iwobi, Jack Jebb, Anthony Jeffrey, Carl Jenkinson, Glen Kamara, Austin Lipman, Damian Martinez, Jernade Meade, Ignasi Miquel, Ryo, Elton Monteiro, Alfred Mugabo, Nigel Neita, Kristoffer Olsson, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Josh Rees, Philip Roberts, James Shea, Leander Siemann, Jon Toral, Arinse Uade, Josh Vickers, Sanchez Watt, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Wynter, Nico Yennaris.