As we approach their official contract expiry date at the end of June, Arsenal confirmed four u23s on the way out this summer.
As we covered on Thursday, Arsenal confirmed the imminent release of four players from their u23 squad this week. Let’s have a look at why each of them are departing.
For three of the players on the list, Thursday’s news wasn’t really news at all. First, Joseph Olowu spent the last few months on loan with Wealdstone FC, but reports in February suggested that Arsenal had no intention to keep him afterwards.
The 21-year-old has had a couple of loans now, after spending 2020 with Cork City. But there still wasn’t a clear path to first-team football ahead of him at centre-back, nor at right-back, so a departure makes sense.
As for Levi Laing and Luke Plange, it’s been clear for a while where they were both headed.
Another centre-back who can also play right-back, Laing has been playing for West Ham United since February, even facing Arsenal on a couple of occasions. The Gunners have a lot of academy defenders, so some hard decisions had to be made at the back.
That’s perhaps even more true in Plange’s case. The 18-year-old centre-forward looks a good prospect, and in normal circumstances, you’d probably expect him to stay.
But Arsenal have Folarin Balogun, Nikolaj Moller, Tyreece John-Jules, Khayon Edwards, Amani Richards and others behind Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah. There’s no way all of them can get minutes next season.
Plange has been playing for Derby County since March, scoring five goals in three u18 appearances, though he’s yet to net in his five u23 appearances for the side.
Finally, Jason Sraha is pretty much the only one of the four we didn’t already know was leaving. Unfortunately, injury problems have plagued him since his arrival from Chelsea two years ago, and he didn’t make any appearances this campaign.
There are other players with contracts expiring this summer, notably Arthur Okonkwo and Kido Taylor-Hart. However, in their cases Arsenal still have a contract offer on the table they’re hoping the two youngsters will accept before June 30th.
Daniel Oyegoke, Nathan Butler-Oyedeji, Ovie Ejeheri, and Mazeed Ogungbo have also been offered professional contracts.