With Ivory Coast forward Gervinho the only big name addition to the Arsenal squad so far this summer, Arsene Wenger will try to blood young talent in 2011-12 and give the superstars of tomorrow their chance today. As the mercurial Frenchman has done so many times before, relatively untested youngsters with the right levels of ability and potential will be given an Arsenal jersey when ready. Jack Wilshere was the emerging talent this time last year, and the 19-year-old is now a mainstay in the Gunners starting XI; the following are looking to follow in the England man’s footsteps and turn promise into performance.
Fresh from a loan spell at Feyenoord, the 18-year-old Japanese winger has showcased pace, skill and quality thus-far in his short time in Europe, and could be set for inclusion in Wenger’s first team squad. Following on from 12 games for the Dutch club, local media have nicknamed the Aichi born man ‘Ryodinho’, comparing him with Ronaldinho.
In reality the Asian wideman is more akin in playing style to Theo Walcott, with pace to burn and trickery that could stump Premier League full backs this term. Miyaichi has been included in the side’s pre-season tour to his home continent, and impressed in his first appearance for the club against a Malaysia XI. With boundless energy, and the ability to change a game, if Wenger does decide to keep the Japan under-19 man at the club rather than to send him out on loan again, a role as an impact sub initially may be fitting for the promising winger.
A product of the Arsenal youth system, the England under-21 international has got a taste of senior football with loan spells at Scunthorpe, Watford and Norwich, and may not feature in his manager’s plans in 2011-12. With the potential departure of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, it will be up to the likes of Lansbury and Aaron Ramsey to plug the gap left by their skipper, and learn quickly in a competitive environment.
The Enfield born midfielder has an eye for an Arsenal-esque through ball, and creativity that surpass his age (20) and the willingness to go from box to box – like Fabregas. He has shown that he can do the business at Championship level, and now is ready for Premier League football, whether with Arsenal or in a loan move back to Norwich.
Signed for a fee of £1 million from Charlton in the summer, the 19-year-old promises versatility and physicality for the Arsenal first team defence, and could be deployed at right-back or centre back. Despite only playing a handful of games for his former club, the defender’s ability was there for all to see, and the Emirates side beat a number of Premier League rivals to his signature.
Jenkinson qualifies for Finland and England due to duel-nationality, and will look to play under-21 football in 2011-12. Regardless of a spectacular own goal in a recent friendly against FC Koln, the tall defender has impressed in pre-season, and will give Wenger an option if Bacary Sagna is not available.
Expect this trio to feature in the Emirates first team at some point this campaign, as Monsieur Wenger looks to nurture the emerging talent at the club.
Gareth McKnight writes for Soccerlens.com.