Arsenal will look to integrate young players into the first team next season, according to the BBC’s David Ornstein.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Ornstein discussed Arsenal’s transfer plans for the summer. As part of that discussion, the BBC journalist admitted the Gunners aren’t just looking for external additions to the senior squad, but also internal from the academy.
Ornstein: "Not to forget, #AFC would be looking to integrate young players as well. Nelson, Smith Rowe, Willock, and Saka who is said to be the most highly rated prospect, a wide player himself but extremely young."
— Cannon Insider (@CannonInsider) May 14, 2019
The four that Ornstein mentioned are certainly worthy of opportunities at Arsenal in the coming years. Reiss Nelson has had a solid loan with Bundesliga club Hoffenheim, even if he hasn’t played quite as often as he would’ve liked. Emile Smith Rowe impressed with the Gunners earlier in the campaign, and he only saw his momentum slowed by injuries.
Meanwhile, Joe Willock hasn’t been given as many first-team chances as he’s deserved this campaign, but he’s been fantastic with the academy and impressive on the few occasions he has stepped up.
Finally, it’s no surprise to see Bukayo Saka on the list. As Ornstein says, Saka is arguably the highest rated prospect in the u23s right now. The winger only turned 17 this season, yet he’s a regular starter for the top youth side and even made his first-team debut in the Europa League group stage.
On the other hand, I’m afraid to say I’ll believe Ornstein’s claims when I see it for myself. Unai Emery gave plenty of opportunities to Matteo Guendouzi this season, but the homegrown youth prospects have really struggled to get into the team, even when the side went on terrible runs of form.
Eddie Nketiah still hasn’t played 90 minutes of Premier League football in his entire career so far, despite making the squad on 30 occasions. Emery just doesn’t seem willing to bring him on, pretty much regardless of the situation. Let’s hope that changes in 2019/20.