Julio Pleguezuelo joined the Arsenal first-team squad for training on Wednesday, in a sign that his impressive academy performances might get him senior chances this season.
Arsenal made no attempts to hide the fact that Pleguezuelo was getting involved with the senior side on Wednesday, posting a couple of pictures of the 21-year-old on the club website.
The call up seems to be a pretty direct response to the Spaniard’s improved performances for the u23s. Pleguezuelo got a goal and an assist for the young side against West Ham United last week, with a looping header and a long pass forward that covered half the pitch before finding its target.
Here are Arsenal’s goals from the u23s’ 3-2 win against West Ham this evening.@EddieNketiah9 looking sharp as usual with two goals, plus a lovely goal and assist from @JPleguezuelo. pic.twitter.com/Fobz6y8nKe
— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) August 24, 2018
Arsenal youth expert Jeorge Bird seems to believe the centre-back is now unlikely to go on loan in the next couple of days, and will instead stick around hoping to feature for the first-team this season. It won’t be easy, with Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos also waiting for opportunities.
Pleguezuelo impressed me carrying the ball out from the back in recent u23 appearances though. He’s a capable passer, but if there are no good options and space opens up in front of him, he’ll happily take advantage.
That could give an extra dimension to Unai Emery’s strategy to play out from the back, so hopefully the defender gets an opportunity in the League Cup at least.