Arsenal’s academy is looking stronger than ever right now, and the statistics from recent seasons support that assessment.
The Times write that in seven seasons, 85 Hale End products have joined Arsenal as scholars, and 80 of them are now professional footballers with the Gunners or elsewhere. That’s 94%, a fantastic success rate for any academy.
Obviously, an increasing number of Hale End graduates are making it through into the Arsenal first-team directly right now.
Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson have all been regulars in the senior side so far this campaign, and after progressing to the first team last season, Eddie Nketiah has made a great start to his loan with Leeds as well.
Then there’s Bukayo Saka, who has travelled with the squad for most games this season despite still being 17 years old. Emile Smith Rowe would surely have been involved if not for the injury problems he’s been having, as would Zech Medley.
By sending Nketiah on loan, Arsenal have put faith in Tyreece John-Jules and Folarin Balogun to step up in the centre-forward position if Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang need a rest.
Robbie Burton has carried his impressive pre-season into the new campaign with the u23s and would be ready to plug any gaps in midfield.
Even if any of these players don’t end up in the first team with Arsenal, the signs are positive they will make it somewhere else.
Charlie Gilmour was released by the Gunners this summer and immediately got picked up by Premier League side Norwich. Xavier Amaechi left for Hamburg, whilst Dominic Thompson joined Brentford.
Very few seem to be slipping through the cracks and out of football altogether, which is a testament to the quality of the current setup. Long may it continue.