Another week, another youngster gone, but, given that he is now at the stage of his career where he requires regular games to enhance his development, Nico Yennaris’ permanent departure today is not too surprising.
Yennaris, 20, has joined League One side Brentford for an undisclosed fee and, in doing so, has brought the curtain down on a career at Arsenal that spanned over ten years and yielded four senior appearances.
The most significant of those outings came in January 2012 when Yennaris performed admirably at right-back after replacing Johan Djourou as a half-time substitute against Manchester United in the Premier League. At that stage there was clamour amongst supporters for Yennaris to be promoted to the senior set-up on a regular basis, but, despite his ability to perform adroitly in both midfield or defence, that hope eventually didn’t transpire.
The England U19 international spent time on loan at Notts County and, more recently, Bournemouth, but failed to feature regularly during either spell and, having not represented the Arsenal first-team competitively since September 2012, the time seemed right for a permanent departure.
There will be several endearing memories of Yennaris’ time at the club, not least his dramatic winner against Inter Milan on a rain-soaked pitch in the NextGen Series last season, whilst he was also part of the U18 side that won the Academy League in his first season as a scholar.
Yennaris, who was once the mascot for Arsenal against Coventry City before featuring against the same side as a player many years later, joins the rapidly-growing list of Arsenal Academy alumni who are scattered throughout the English footballing pyramid. The youngster’s departure could soon be followed by that of Emmanuel Frimpong, who hasn’t been called upon to represent the first-team this season.
Benik Afobe and Chuks Aneke, who emerged from Hale End at the same time as Yennaris, also have serious question marks over their respective futures as the cold, hard reality begins to sink in regarding just how difficult it is to succeed as a first-team footballer at Arsenal.
Nico Yennaris Arsenal statistics:
First-team apps: 4
U21 apps: 42 (1 goal)
European apps: 9 (2 goals)
U18 apps: 38 (2 goals)