Saturday, 8 June 2019

Nelson, Saka and the six youngsters Arsenal must build their future around

The Gunners have some of the most exciting young talent in the Premier League
Arsenal are heading into another period of change as the club looks to close the gap on the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool at the summit of English football.

But failure to secure a top four spot last season, combined with the defeat to Chelsea in the Europa League final, means the Gunners are facing up to a third successive season outside of the Champions League.

That means money will once again be tight at the Emirates, with owner Stan Kroenke still insistent that he will not be putting in any of his own money and that the club will continue to operate to a self-sustaining model.

That means Unai Emery will have a transfer budget of around £45 million ($57m) this summer, which is far from enough to oversee the type of rebuild that is being planned.

That figure can of course be increased by any player sales this summer, but Arsenal are also planning on giving more opportunities to some of the club’s impressive young talent that is waiting in the wings to make a serious impression with the first-team.

That is one of the big reasons that Freddie Ljungberg, who was Under-23s head coach last season, will be moving up to become part of Emery’s coaching staff for the coming season.

Here, Goal takes a look at six of the best rising stars at the Emirates who could play a key role in the club’s future over the coming years.


This has to be the year that Nelson makes a significant step towards cementing his place in the Arsenal first-team.

Last season’s loan spell in Germany will have been an important learning curve for the 19-year-old, who started the campaign in scintillating style for Hoffenheim - scoring six goals in his first 11 games.

Nelson was unable to maintain that level of form, but still ended the season having made 29 appearances and was one of six candidates for the Bundesliga’s Rookie of the Year award.

He will return to Arsenal this summer looking to show Emery that he is ready to make the step up at the Emirates, although he will unfortunately miss the pre-season tour to the United States due to his involvement with England at the European Under-21s championships.

Arsenal were crying out for wingers last season and Nelson can play on either side and has the attributes needed to make a real impression under Emery. He’s quick, can run with the ball, can beat a man and - as he showed in the Bundesliga last season - he can score goals.

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