Arsenal youngsters that could make an impact this year

As Unai Emery gets his feet under the table at the Emirates, the expectation is high amongst Arsenal fans that their new manager will be backed by the club in this summer’s transfer window. Word coming out of Arsenal, though, suggests that the Spaniard won’t have a sizeable transfer budget with which to try to stamp his mark on this squad. While this may leave some fans reaching for the panic button, the club’s fruitful youth ranks are currently brimming with talent – talent that may now be given the chance in the first team next season.

Unai emery

05/05/2016 – Sevilla FC – FC Shakhtar Do” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Aleksandr Osipov

So, let’s take a look at some of those youngsters that could break into the senior side under Emery next season.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Having spent a successful season with Ipswich two years ago, Maitland-Niles made 32 appearances for Arsenal last season, the majority of which came off the bench. Now 20-years old, the midfielder will be hoping to be given more starts under Emery next season, ideally in his preferred position, having been used in defence by Arsene Wenger following Nacho Monreal’s injury last year. While there are still areas of his game that need improvement, not least his crossing, Maitland-Niles has shown enough to suggest he could have a very bright future at the Emirates. The England Under-21 international is believed to have already caught the eye of Emery and the Spaniard may view the youngster as a key part of his plans next season.

Konstantinos Mavropanos

The Greek youngster only joined Arsenal at the beginning of the year but has already made an impact in the first team. While Arsenal, who will start the new season priced at around 28/1 to win the title with the football betting, are expected to add at least a couple of new defenders to this squad, Mavropanos could still have a role to play. Having decided against loaning the defender out, Wenger handed Mavropanos an opportunity to shine against Manchester United last season, with the 20-year old putting in an impressive showing against a star-studded United frontline. While his other appearance in the Premier League saw him sent off in Arsenal’s defeat to Leicester City, the youngster has done enough to show the Arsenal faithful that he has all the tools to handle life in the first team.

Eddie Nketiah

Perhaps the most exciting youngster on Arsenal’s books, Eddie Nketiah has already proven himself to be a hugely prolific striker in Premier League 2, scoring 12 goals in 13 games. While he is never going to be the biggest striker in the league, what he lacks in height he more than makes up for with his raw pace, and his two recent goals for England’s Under-21 side show that the 19-year old only needs half a chance to score a goal. With a number of strikers ahead of him in the pecking order, Nketiah may have to bide his time before being given the opportunity but, on the evidence of his performances over the past year for the Arsenal Under-23 side, he has that special talent of putting the ball in the back of the net.

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