Three of Arsenal’s most high-profile youngsters signed new contracts with the club today, with Eddie Nketiah, Ben Sheaf and Matt Macey all securing their short-term futures with the Gunners.
The trio have all been involved in Arsenal’s Europa League campaign, while Nketiah notably hit a brace against Norwich City in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
Nketiah will hope to receive further first-team game time before the end of the season, including in the latter stages of the Carabao Cup and also in the FA Cup.
The striker has scored with regularity at youth level in recent seasons and is now being rewarded by being given opportunities with the first-team, with the hope being that he could potentially challenge for a place in the senior squad next season.
Sheaf, meanwhile, has been hugely impressive since undergoing the transformation from defensive midfielder to centre-back.
The former West Ham United youngster is extremely composed in possession and made his senior debut for Arsenal against Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League this season.
Sheaf is at the stage of his development where youngsters are usually sent out on temporary transfer to other clubs, but Arsenal haven’t made best use of the loan system of late, with many players unable to get regular game time.
If Sheaf does go on loan then it needs to be with a club who play in a similar style to Arsenal and who can offer him the chance to gain the valuable experience of senior football that he needs.
It appears that Sheaf may still have to be patient to make a full breakthrough into the first-team squad with the likes of Rob Holding and Calum Chambers ahead of him but he is certainly developing very well.
Macey, meanwhile, has made some significant strides over the past couple of seasons and has impressed in his two competitive appearances for the first-team so far.
Tall and possessing excellent reflexes, the 23-year-old is already effectively Arsenal’s third-choice goalkeeper even though he isn’t officially part of the first-team squad.
Macey will hope that he can become second choice to Petr Cech next season if David Ospina departs and Emiliano Martinez also leaves, but a year out on loan, perhaps at a League One club, may be of greater benefit to him.
Although they have tied three talented youngsters down to new deals, there is still some work for Arsenal to do on the contracts front with regards to young players.
Reiss Nelson, Arsenal’s standout youth prospect, is out of contract in June 2019 and it is expected that he will sign a new deal soon.
Meanwhile, midfielder Marcus McGuane sees his contract expire at the end of the season and has previously been linked with Manchester United and Juventus, who are said to be monitoring his situation.