Bellerin trains with first-team as Afobe returns from failed loan

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.

Afobe has previously spent spells with Huddersfield Town and Reading.

Afobe has previously spent spells with Huddersfield Town and Reading.

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.

U21 list:

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.




  1. I think many will struggle to make the bench, with league points at a premium?
    I would have thought Bellerin would need more time, however well he is playing now. I am hoping that Sagna will be around a bit longer so he can pass on his experience.
    They have the Next Gen tournament coming up soon, as well as progressing further in the Youth Cup, so that will give them more experience, and I guess a few will find a suitable loan deal?

  2. as much as afobes lkoan was a fail he was played in some of the strangest positions, central midfield, the wing, he didnt really play upfront for bolton so it could be a case of arsenal cuttin his loan short as much as bolton maybe?

  3. Good report. But if I may ask, what is going in with Thomas Eisfeld these day? I personally think he should be getting more playingtime with the senior team. Any reason why that is not happening?

  4. I would have thought Nico Yennaris was ahead of Bellerin? And I wouldn’t draw too much from Afobe’s loan as many haven’t had the best time away.

  5. I think it`s worrying that so many of our kids go out on loan to gain experience in the form of playing time and end up not playing. i`m not sure the cosseted world at hale end and colney prepares them for life in the championship or div 1.

  6. There is a good number of players who should not be with Arsenal next season: Ashavin, Fabianski or Mannone, Squillaci, Eastmond, Watt, Boateng, Henderson and Hajrovic. There are some of the Under 21s who should be given a run in the first team squad next season; Aneke as 3rd choice AM behind Wilshire and Rosicky, Afobe (assuming he turns things around at some stage) behind Giroud and a new striker, Campbell behind Walcott and AOC and Ryo (assuming he turns things around at some stage) behind Podolski and Gervinho. A few others need an extended loan to prove themselves before promotion to the first team; Martinez, Yennaris, Miquel, Angha, Meade and Eisfeld. Its anyone’s guess whether any of the big five of Gnarby, Toral, Bellerin, Olsson and Akpom can break through over this period. But having that collection of players around explains why Wegner is so reticent about buying in players.

  7. Working against the pace of Walcott would surely help Bellerin develop, and maybe in cup games next season we can see how good he has become. But that takes care of the Right wing only.
    Conor Henderson was a Left wing player initially Left back/ DM sorts, his performance against Leyton Orient in 2010-11 earned good reviews as well.

    Hopefully Henderson, Yennaris, Eastmond, Meade,Shea will make priemer league grade in 2-3 years, just like Justin Hoyte did.

    It is good to see Players like Nacer Barazite, Nordveit, Vela prospering in other leagues

    But as always sad to watch a current Arsenal prospect’s future getting dimmer day by day.

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