Decision time dawning on Wellington’s Arsenal future


In this era of 25-man Premier League squads it’s rather rare that a player gets to the age of 23 at a major club without a concrete decision having been made on his future.

Wellington Silva doesn’t exactly do ordinary, however, with the winger having often managed to stand out from the crowd with his excellent dribbling and superb skills.

The Brazilian’s association with Arsenal stretches all the way back to late 2008, when he made a stellar impact while on trial at the club. From there he agreed terms before being sent out on no fewer than six loan spells, the most recent of which saw him spend the campaign with Bolton Wanderers in the Championship.

Wellington provided some tantalising glimpses of his potential whilst with Bolton, but, unfortunately, he was unable to perform consistently and, when fit, wasn’t always able to command a regular place in the starting line-up.

He will return to Arsenal for pre-season training yet again, but this time Wellington will surely be seeking assurances about his long-term future at the club.

There could yet still be an opening for him- Arsenal are in need of an additional wide player- whilst it isn’t out of the question that Wellington could leapfrog Alex Iwobi and Serge Gnabry in the quest for first-team minutes.

However, alternatively, Arsene Wenger may assess the situation and come to the conclusion that Wellington isn’t a player worth persisting with, particularly given the strides that Iwobi made this season.

Deciding Wellington’s fate won’t be easy, but for the sake of both the club and the player, some clarity on the situation is required. It would be intriguing to see how the prospect (if indeed he can still be referred to as such) fares in the Premier League, but we are now edging closer to a decision, at long last, being made on Wellington’s Arsenal future.


Toral, Zelalem and Crowley seeking to play major part in Arsenal’s pre-season plans


Arsenal have an abundance of central-midfielders on their books, but, with Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere all set to represent their respective countries at Euro 2016 this summer, there could be opportunities for some of the club’s youngsters to impress in pre-season.

Jon Toral, Gedion Zelalem and Dan Crowley all experienced loan spells this season with varying degrees of success.

Toral enjoyed a superb spell with Birmingham City as he delivered some excellent performances for the Championship side and built upon the experience that he gained with Brentford the previous season.

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Zelalem, meanwhile, spent the entire campaign with Rangers and impressed in patches as the Scottish side won two trophies. He will return to Arsenal eager to break into the first-team set-up, but Dan Crowley, who had a short stay at Barnsley, has already admitted that he will need to go out on loan again at some point next season.

All three players could have a prominent part to play in Arsenal’s pre-season plans. Toral, at the age of 21, will be especially keen to make an impact as he seeks to prove to Arsene Wenger that he can succeed at the club.

The Spaniard’s cause is helped by the fact that he is capable of operating effectively either as a central midfielder or out wide, and, having spent half a decade developing him following the switch from La Masia, it would be rather disappointing if Arsenal didn’t give Toral a chance to establish himself in the side.

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Zelalem and Crowley may not have developed quite as quickly as anticipated, but both players are still encouraging prospects. The latter revealed that Wenger has informed him that he is not yet ready for the physical side of Premier League football, and the same probably applies to Zelalem.

Even so, being involved in the first-team’s preparation fixtures would be of great benefit to the two youngsters and would allow Wenger to assess just how close they are to making the breakthrough.

At present it is difficult to envisage how Wenger is going to keep all of Arsenal’s first-team midfielders happy next season, particularly if Granit Xhaka, as expected, joins the club. Toral, Zelalem and Crowley, though, will be aiming to make the situation even more complicated.

What next for Maitland-Niles after Arsenal youngster’s Ipswich loan spell?


At just 18, Ainsley Maitland-Niles already has a considerable amount of experience under his belt.

The prospect featured fleetingly for the Arsenal first-team last season and has spent this campaign on loan at Ipswich Town, making 32 appearances across all competitions.

It hasn’t all gone to plan, with the youngster struggling to command a place in the side in the closing stages of the season, but Maitland-Niles remains a very exciting prospect and it will intriguing to see what is in store for him next season.

The youngster started the campaign extremely well with Ipswich as he delivered some hugely encouraging displays and showcased his ability to beat players with ease.

The likelihood is that he will be dispatched on loan again next season, but it is tempting to consider keeping him at Arsenal, allowing him to train with the first-team squad and perhaps feature in the Capital One Cup.

It remains to be seen which position Maitland-Niles will end up in long-term- he is capable of playing as a right-winger or a central midfielder- but for now his qualities seem best suited to playing out wide as he can deliver dangerous crosses and use his speed to good effect.

Maitland-Niles is very highly regarded by the Arsenal coaching staff, with the prospect having often starred for the club at youth level. Now he has taken some significant strides towards establishing himself in first-team football and will hope to push on further in his development next season.

Arsenal U19s beat Liverpool but suffer Final disappointment in Spax Cup


Arsenal U19s suffered a disappointing conclusion to the Spax Cup as they were thrashed 3-0 in the Final by Schalke.

There was one positive for Arsenal to take as Ryan Huddart, who didn’t feature in the final, was named goalkeeper of the tournament.

Earlier in the day the young Gunners had defeated Liverpool 1-0 in the Semi-Finals courtesy of a strike from Edward Nketiah.

Arsenal team v Liverpool: Huddart; Osei-Tutu, Da Graca, O’Connor, Robinson; Mourgos, Crowley; Tella, Hinds, Crowley; Nketiah. Subs: Groeneveld, Shelis, Eyoma.

Arsenal team v Schalke: Keto; Osei-Tutu, Da Graca, Groeneveld, Robinson; Hinds, Mourgos; Eyoma, Crowley, C. Willock; Mavididi. Subs: Nketiah, J. Willock, Shelis, O’Connor.

Trialists Groeneveld and Shelis feature as Arsenal progress in Spax Cup


Christos Shelis


Keith Groeneveld

Arsenal beat Fluminense 1-0 in their first game of the day, with Aaron Eyoma scoring the only goal of the game.

Trialist defenders Keith Groenveld and Christos Shelis featured as substitutes. Groeneveld, who plays for Mechelen, was previously on trial at Manchester United, whilst Shelis is part of Arsenal’s Greek academy.


Osei Tutu-Da Graca-O’Connor-Robinson


Eyoma-Hinds-C. Willock


Subs: Tella, Shelis, Groeneveld, J. Willock

The Gunners drew 1-1 with Ennepetal in their final group game. The prolific Edward Nketiah scored Arsenal’s goal to set up a meeting with Liverpool in the semi-finals.


Osei Tutu-Da Graca-Groeneveld-Robinson


Eyoma-J. Willock-Tella


Subs: O’Connor, Da Silva, Crowley.