Arsenal’s squad for their pre-season tour – which will encompass stays in Australia and China – was named last night, with seven youngsters – Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Krystian Bielik, Cohen Bramall, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Donyell Malen – being included.
Inevitably, however, there were some notable omissions as far as youngsters are concerned, with Chuba Akpom, Jon Toral and Dan Crowley all being left out.
The trio have all had various loan spells away from the club but questions now have to be raised about their long-term futures.
Akpom, for instance, has scored just seven goals in 79 senior appearances, the majority of which have been while on loan, and wasn’t included in the tour squad despite Malen and Nketiah, players three intakes below him, being named.
Toral has, owing to injuries and loan spells, yet to make a competitive first-team appearance for Arsenal since joining the club six years ago. The midfielder remains a talent but the Gunners have many players in his position at present and he could well leave the club permanently before the end of the transfer window, despite having previously impressed during loans at Brentford and Birmingham City.
As for Crowley, the midfielder, who will turn 20 next month, wasn’t included in the squad even though he trained with the first-team last week. The prospect caught the eye on loan at Go Ahead Eagles in the second half of last season but he is another who may move on permanently, especially given that he has less than a year left on his contract.
Goalkeepers Matt Macey and Ryan Huddart were also omitted but still have a chance of succeeding at the club in the long term.
Meanwhile, Ismael Bennacer, Marc Bola and Kelechi Nwakali could be sent out on loan again, with the latter yet to receive a work permit enabling him to play competitively in England.
Defender Tafari Moore, who was with Utrecht’s B team on loan last campaign, could leave either on loan or permanently.
Meanwhile, Ben Sheaf, Gedion Zelalem and Stephy Mavididi are all out injured and Josh Dasilva is representing England at the U19 European Championship.
Glen Kamara is on trial at Dundee and Julio Pleguezuelo has been given time off as his loan spell at Mallorca didn’t end until into June.