2017 saw a number of fresh young faces make their first team debut, but who should we lookout for in the new year?

This year was an exciting time for Arsenal’s youngsters.

Rob Holding made strides in the Arsenal first team and appeared in an FA Cup final, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles has graduated to the Premier League starting eleven.

Reiss Nelson lit up the Emirates Cup and now appears regularly in the cup, alongside the likes of Joe Willock, Josh Dasilva, Ben Sheaf, Marcus McGuane and Eddie Nketiah.

2018 will bring more cup games and another pre-season for youngsters to impress in.

Here are three names to keep an eye on.

1Vlad Dragomir

Vlad Dragomir
Vlad Dragomir

The Romanian midfielder has been in Arsenal’s youth teams for a few years now. He joined from Poli Timisoara in 2015, and is now making strides in the u23 side.

Dragomir has four goals in 11 appearances in the Premier League 2 this season. He’s enjoyed a run in the team due to several players being used for the first team, and could soon be in contention for a debut himself. Arsene Wenger included him as a substitute for the trip to BATE Borisov in the Europa League, which was an acknowledgement of his talent.

The 18-year-old still has some growing to do, but if he keeps up his good form, he could be rewarded with a first debut in 2018.

2Xavier Amaechi


Amaechi is a first-year scholar at Arsenal but has already made a big impression for the u18s.

The 16-year-old scored twice in a 6-0 win over Tottenham in November, one of which was an excellent solo goal. He followed that up with a goal in a 3-0 win over Swansea in early December.

He’s been impressing the coaches at Arsenal and has earned himself call-ups to the u23 side. He made his debut at that level in a 3-1 defeat to Swansea, and was an unused substitute four days later against West Ham.

It’s very early days for Amaechi, but the tricky winger could produce plenty of highlights in the new year.

3Emile Smith-Rowe

Emile Smith-Rowe

The 17-year-old was once a target for Barcelona before he signed professional terms with Arsenal.

Although not yet a regular at u23 level, he’s been in very good form the 18s, scoring three goals in four games.

Smith-Rowe has quite the reputation at Arsenal and will be looking to build on the immense success he had an international level.

He was a member of the u17 squad that won the World Cup in India during October, and scored in a 4-0 win over Iraq.

He also played three times on the way to the final of the u17 European Championships.

The next step for him will be to establish himself as a regular for the u23s.