The NextGen series was concluded some time back but I really liked the concept of NextGen. It gives a platform to all young players to showcase their quality to the whole world and show what they are capable of. Arsenal was unlucky to go out in the semi-final. Unlucky because they were leading the game but they lost the nerves when it matters a lot. Nevertheless they reached the semi final.
Playing at the Emirates in front of a big crowd in the quarterfinal will have given huge confidence to all the youngsters. The crowd supported them well, most of seats were occupied and that shows how much we care for all young gunners. In this, the first NextGen series some of the performances by the young guns have really impressed me. I have come up with small list of reserves players who are capable of becoming stars in coming years. . .
Serge Gnabry (Midfielder / Winger)
Gnabry signed for Arsenal in 2010 but due to his age he joined officially in 2011 when he became 16 years old. He signed his first professional contract at age 17. Gnabry played most of the games on the left wing for the reserves. He is known for his lethal pace, passing ability, creative play has been really very impressive. In a game against Marseilles he sprinted a loose ball and assisted Apkom to make 2-0. Wenger watched that match live, He played 20 minutes against Koln in friendly however he was not that impressive but you cannot judge player in 20 minutes. He played 60 minutes against Reading and was not that impressive in that game either and was replaced by Thomas Eisfield. Against Liverpool –U21 he scored an absolute beauty. We should loan him out next season to gain first team experience, He is not the finished article yet and it will be too early to promote him.
Thomas Eisfeld (Attacking Midfielder)
Eisfeld signed for Arsenal on 31st January 2012 from BVB. Wenger describe him as next Mario Gotze. Eisfeld played in the friendlies against Malaysia XI & Kitchee and scored in both the matches. He was one of the very impressive players in Arsenal’s Asia tour. His play-making abilities , on-field presence of mind , technical understanding makes him one of hottest prospects in Europe. His substitute cameo against Reading where we came from behind and won the match was very impressive. He can play on wings or in midfield but his natural position is playing as SS or No 10. He is quite deadly from that position given his passing ability and eye for goal he has. He has played in 20 U-21 Matches and has scored 8 goals and 4 assists quite impressive. I hope Wenger will promote him next season, if not we should loan him out because he will leave Emirates if he doesn’t get enough first team action and we don’t want to loose such a great talent.
Hector Bellerin (Defender / Winger)
Frankly speaking I had not heard his name before NextGen but he was one of the star performer for Arsenal in NextGen Series. Bellerin was signed by Arsenal from Barca Youth academy at age of 16. He started playing as Right back for Arsenal reserves and within some days he made right back position his own. He played in almost all the matches for the reserves. He is known for his pace, crossing ability, attacking mindset and high work rate. He is very good while attacking and quite impressive while defending. Surely he can be backup for Jenks once Sagna leaves . Due to his impressive run in reserve league Arsenal offered him a new contract. I don’t see him getting promoted to first team for at least two seasons due to the other options we have at right back in the current Arsenal squad. A loan out will be a ideal solution.
Ignasi Miquel (Defender)
Miquel has been on the verge of breaking through at Arsenal for several seasons without ever quite making it. He is our reserve captain, he is well known figure in first team as he is been playing in league cup since 2010-11. He played every minute in League cup for Arsenal in 2011-12 season. His natural position is Centre back but he has played as Left back in several occasions. He is one who is on the verge of breaking into the first team for the past 3 years. He is known for his aerial ability, game reading and strength. No doubt he is very good player and needs more first team experience, A loan out will be ideal given the option we have in current squad in Centre back and may be more addition in the summer will cancel out his chance to play regular first team next season. But surely I want to keep hold of him
So this was a small list of players who are capable of playing in first team in the near future. I am sure you will all have some young players in mind to discuss, if so please share with all 😉
Written by Manthan