Akpom, Toral and Crowley facing uncertain Arsenal futures after being overlooked for pre-season tour


Image: Sky Sports

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.



  1. Our academy is slowly becoming a joke. It’s imposible that we didn’t take some of the players over the years. Just to name a few: Gnabry,Ozyakup, Olsson, Willock and now it happens to Crowley. Poor management all over the club. We can have La masia with Messi and Iniesta but we would still let them go in favour of Elneny’s and Flamini’s. If AMN doesn’t make it this year I’ll we can close this academy and invest in more avarage first team players

    1. I agree. And these players are solid too. Just like with any young player, they need a chance to play. The older you get, the less motivated you are playing against other reserves. AW needs to really understand this or strategically plan intakes and graduations.

      1. but all these youngsters DID play against non-reserve teams. They went out on loans to get first team experience and to show their stuff, and all of them failed. Crowley has been really poor in basically all of his loan spells. Akpom as well.

        If they cant even make it at division 1 or 2 level, how can Wenger expect them to make it at EPL level?

    2. The problem comparing non-PL clubs with PL Clubs is that no other league has the depth of competitive teams the PL does. You refer to La Masia but they have a B team and a League where 20 of their league games are against pretty poor opposition where they can give youngsters game-time, but oddly they rarely do. Which is why so many of their youngsters actually leave Barca to play first team football elsewhere.
      So that is the wrong club to use as an example.

  2. Has any comparative study been made amongst tha various Club academies to measure the success of their graduates?

    From our own Academy, we have seen the likes of Wilshere and Bellerin in the First Team. In recent years, we have seen Iwobi, Adelaide, and in this coming season, Maitland-Niles, Nelson and maybe Beilik joining the First Team.

    Now, if we could get at least a player from each Intake joining the First Team, would not that be a measure of some success on our part?

  3. I don’t think our academy is a joke, the purpose of academy football seems to be misunderstood by too many people. It’s not just about Arsenal Football Club, these kids are people, individuals with their own minds, abilities and persuasions.

    How many apprentices in any career go on to work for that company until they retire? The days of getting a gold watch are long gone, the world is a smaller place, with high demands and even higher rewards for the fortunate.

    People want Arsenal to win trophies but then criticise them for not playing teenagers. I would say of the top 6 sides Arsenal give more chances to academy players than the others. Look what happened to moyes and van goal at man United when they had to promote the academy players, Rashford aside most failed or have moved on. I think one of their academy players has just joined Everton for around £30m from Burnley after leaving United for a bag of chips. Does that mean their academy is a joke?

    1. We won nothing and big clubs mopped the floor with us in CL so winging things is hardly an excuse for not promoting youth. Playing teenagers has been great for Dortmund and Monaco, quality wise they are far ahead of us. Combination of top players and youth could be our road to success, playing avarage players on high wages brought us closer to Everton than Dortmund or Bayern

      1. You clearly don’t appreciate that the PL is a major step up from the to leagues across Europe… They have a few very good teams but they don’t have the consistent competition that the PL has. We have very few games where we can ‘blood’ youngsters, whereas Dortmund and Monaco can do that in 10-20 league games plus possibly in cup games…

  4. I don’t think that our academy is failing, but it could and should do better, especially in scouting players.
    Having the Europa League to play in this season could actually be a blessing in disguise for our young players and the exposure they need to develop.

  5. Lol you all must be having a laugh – Have you considered that they didn’t go out on pre-season because they may have a loan spell upcoming? Also i think its a good thing that our players are wanted by clubs around the world. What’s happening to our academy products is the same thing happening to those at Chelsea, Man Utd etc. Big players are being bought and unless you can show the requisite skill to displace them or at least sit on the bench, then you don’t make the team. Simple as that. Failing…. lololol. COYG!

  6. As for Olsson, he didn´t even make the cut at Midtjylland in the Danish top flight. Been average for Sweden U21 as well. I like Özyakup but would he really offer anything that we don´t have atm?

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