Isaac Hayden has been rewarded for his fine recent progression with a new long-term contract which is believed to tie him to the club until the summer of 2017.
The 18 year old impressed on his first-team debut against West Bromwich Albion in the Captial One Cup in September and subsequently made the bench for Premier League fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester United, as well as being called upon to participate in many training sessions with the senior side.
Hayden has developed considerably since signing his first professional contract in March 2012. Now an England U19 international, he has amassed over 20 appearances for the club at U21 level and recently scored his first goal for the second-string in the defeat to Liverpool.
Capable of playing at centre-back, the youngster, who joined Arsenal from Southend United’s Academy in 2008, appears more comfortable as a defensive-midfielder and is likely to head out on loan next season to experience his first sustained taste of senior football.
Whilst Hayden’s short-term future at the club is secure, the same cannot be said for several other youngsters whose respective deals are set to expire at the end of June. The remaining six second-year scholars- Glen Kamara, Alex Iwobi, Tarum Dawkins, Alfred Mugabo, Josh Vickers and Arinse Uade- are yet to receive clarification as to which of them will be handed professional contracts, whilst several more established members of the U21 squad will be striving for a new deal in the final months of the campaign.
Kristoffer Olsson and Chuba Akpom, who have already featured for the first-team, are set to be offered new deals soon, but Chuks Aneke, Daniel Boateng, Ignasi Miquel and Benik Afobe, who are all currently out on loan, have question marks over their futures, whilst Zach Fagan and Zak Ansah, who have both struggled with injuries this campaign, are also out of contract in the summer.
When it is taken into account that first-team squad members Bacary Sagna, Tomas Rosicky, Lukasz Fabianski and Nicklas Bendtner are all out of contact in June, whilst Kim Kallstrom and Emiliano Viviano are unlikely to make their loan deals permanent, there could be a significant amount of departures from the club at the end of the season.