Arsene Wenger has revealed that Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are two Arsenal youth players who will be joining the first team next season.

  • Nelson scored 12 goals last season
  • Maitland-Niles only Arsenal youth player to get game time in Premier League
  • Wenger wants to keep squad together
  • Plans on giving both teenagers first team roles
  • 10 youth players to keep an eye on next season

While Nelson and Maitland-Niles both regularly trained with the senior squad members last season, next term it appears that we’ll see the 17 and 19-year-old handed a far more consistent role.

“We have some young players who will join the squad next season,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.

“Like Reiss Nelson, like Ainsley Maitland-Niles already. So they are two players.

“So we have quality players who might have a chance next season and hopefully we will be able to do that again because that’s part of the DNA of the club as well.

“The first quality we have that will be needed is to keep the [first-team] players together. The team has learned a lot, but to transfer that into the new season the first ingredient and the first request is that they stay together, that they fight together.”

Maitland-Niles was Arsenal’s only youth player to appear in the Premier League last season and while it was only for one minute against Sunderland, that’s a huge step for a teenager to take in their career.

The midfielder also made six appearances in cup competitions and played 13 times in Premier League 2, racking up two assists.

Nelson, meanwhile, made 27 appearances for the youth team over all competitions, including the UEFA Youth League and Premier League 2. The winger scored 12 goals overall and assisted six.

With the likes of Alex Iwobi developing well with the first team over the last season and a half, it’ll be exciting to watch these two products of the academy grow.