Arsenal have always had a rich history of promoting youth players through to the first-team. Even in his last season at the club, Arsene Wenger promoted Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah into the first XI for their games in the Europa League.
This year, Unai Emery has continued that trend and has played 18-year-old, Emile Smith Rowe, who has played six games for the first-team this season. At just 18, to be a regular for the under-23 side while also playing games for the first-team is incredibly impressive.
While the youngster has stolen the headlines of the club, another Arsenal academy graduate, Bukayo Saka, made his debut for the side in the Europa League last week.
The 17-year-old winger has been a star for the under-18 side at Arsenal and scored six goals while also grabbing five assists for the side last season. This year he was promoted to the under-23 side and has played 10 games for Freddie Ljunberg’s team and has scored twice.
There’s a lot of talent coming through the ranks at Arsenal at the moment, and Saka is regarded as one of the best. A quick and tricky winger, with Arsenal not having too many wingers in the squad, Saka could well have a long-term future at the club under Emery.
As it stands, Smith Rowe is ahead of him in the pecking order but Joe Willock has already described him as one of the most talented players in the under-23 team. Already an England under-19 international, Saka isn’t too far away from making even more first-appearances. If he continues his development this season, there’s no doubt that he could be a useful player for Emery next year.