Exclusive: Arsenal wonderkid could step up to replace player likely to leave, says expert

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Arsenal FC wonderkid Ethan Nwaneri could step up into the first-team next season, according to Charles Watts as he spoke exclusively to CaughtOffside for his latest Daily Briefing column.

Nwaneri recently caught the eye with his performances for England at the Under-17 European Championships, and it makes sense that there could soon be a role for him in Mikel Arteta’s first-team.

The teenager made his first-team debut for Arsenal when he was 15, becoming the youngest Premier League player in history, and Watts expects we could soon see more of him in action for the Gunners.

With Emile Smith Rowe perhaps set to leave this summer, Watts suggested that could open up room for Nwaneri to get into the side more often, even if he’s still not quite ready to feature week in, week out.

Ethan Nwaneri in action for Arsenal

However, it seems clear Watts rates Nwaneri very highly, suggesting he could be similar to Bukayo Saka in that he can go straight into the first-team rather than going out on loan first.

Nwaneri to play more for Arsenal next season?

“Ethan Nwaneri is someone Arsenal fans will have been aware of for some time now and he really caught the eye for England Under-17s at this summer’s European Championships,” Watts said.

“So what next for the latest homegrown wonderkid to come out of Hale End? I think we’ll see Nwaneri stay at Arsenal next season and become more of a fixture in the first-team. I can’t see him being a regular, but I think we’ll see Mikel Arteta start to give him some minutes to ensure he continues to develop at the rate that Arsenal want him to.

“There are certain players that you look at and think that they can skip going out on loan and move straight into the first-team picture. Bukayo Saka was one and I think Nwaneri is another.

“If Smith Rowe goes, it could be the perfect chance to promote Nwaneri. He’s such a talent and it’s really important that Arsenal leave him a pathway to continue to develop. Sometimes you need to leave a place in the squad to give a highly talented youngster a chance and I think this is definitely one of those occasions.”

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  1. We don’t understand Arteta’s hatred for right footed players, perhaps that explains our poor performance at high level such as against those of Porto and Bayern . In as much I believe Nwaneri is a good player, Smith Rowe is also a wonderful player who has the same characteristics with De Bruyne. Arteta selling Smith Rowe will remind everybody of Mourinho’s blunder in selling De Bruyne.
    If you allow Arteta’s wish, over 80 percent of our outfield players would be left footers and I don’t know where such is happening in this modern day football. Smith Rowe ‘s major crime is that he’s not a left footer.
    Of the five central defenders we bought during his regime, four – Mari, Magalhaes, Trusty and Kiwior are all left footers. Only White is a right footer. Yet you still hear of Hato, Faye and co who are all left footers. The same with midfield and attack.
    Arsenal hierarchy must kick against that otherwise we don’t have any chance on big games. Look at the blunder between Magalhaes and Kiwior during Bayern game, which is as a result of left footer s inability to handle much pressure under intensive challenge.

  2. Just no way any club is gonna be willing to pay 120M Euros for Osimhen. He made an error to accept that contract renewal.
    He’s gonna be stuck at Napoli for another year or more.
    Clubs are wary of FFP

  3. There are several academy players that should begin getting 20-25 minutes of first team game time. Nwaneri is one. Chido Martin is another. I love ESR and I would love to see him play more but reality is he isn’t going to get much time. Wherever he goes, hell be a big hit

  4. I would rather see Arteta promote the kids than buy in players, even if there’s a season where they all bed in. Havertz rotated with Biereth rather than Sesko, ESR for left 8, with Nwaneri rotating. That said I would bring in Fofana as back up for Rice, or he’ll play every minute next season.

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