Even before we can get reinforcements in the January transfer window, it appears the few we have will continue to deplete further with reports according to Tribune, a popular Nigerian paper, that young defender, Semi Ajayi, could be unavailable due to International duty, with Nigeria Under-23 coach, Samson Siasia, enlisting him amongst players to be involved with his team.
Ajayi came through the academy in England with Charlton but has always made himself available for the youth teams for his country of birth. Having been previously been shunned by the Under-20s despite going to the training camp with John Obu’s Flying Eagles last year, Siasia has named him as one of his top foreign-based players.
The 21-year old defender has been with Arsenal after arriving last year from Charlton’s Academy, impressing enough with the Arsenal Under-21s over the past year to warrant Wenger’s considerable attention. Ajayi has now trained with the first team on a regular basis this season, gaining valuable experience alongside Mertesacker, Koscielny and the other top players in Wenger’s regular team.
Arsene Wenger is already having a hard time with defenders to help prosecute games and cannot even afford to rotate players at the back. While we can rest Alexis and Welbeck for some games like the Tuesday Champions League game against Galatasaray, it is almost certain that Per Mertesacker and Calum Chambers won’t get much rest in the team until we are able to add more staff in the coming transfer window. Ajayi has made the bench for the last two League games and has been mentioned as one of those youngsters from the academy expected to break into the first team soon.
Not surprising then will it be to hear the player’s agent play down the chances of Wenger letting him go, especially as there are not yet any replacements brought in for those who were allowed to leave last summer. Vermaelen, Sagna, Ignasi Miguel and Carl Jenkinson all left (Jenko on loan) without sufficient replacement and even if he has not cut it yet at the top level, to let the 21-year old join up with the Nigerian team could deal a blow to Wenger, considering there are still issues to be monitored with regards to Laurent Koscielny’s recovery, as well as the stretch of games in which 19-year old Calum Chambers has already been involved in.
Ajayi will be part of the team to travel to Galatasaray for the last Champions League group match.
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