As the 2013 Summer Transfer Window approaches, unscrupulous rumours, big names and even bigger price tags have flooded the Internet on a daily basis. Arsenal fans across the globe have been strapping themselves in for what would appear to be Arsenal’s most exciting transfer window in almost a decade.[quote_right]”Nobody is implying that Arsène shouldn’t be frantically scribbling into his dusty cheque book…”[/quote_right]
In the midst of such overwhelming excitement, some sections of the Arsenal faithful have forgotten about the budding potential that already lies beneath the surface of the existing Arsenal squad.
Although, such forgetfulness is understandable. The glowing potential has long been overshadowed by the presence of players such as Sebastien Squillaci, Marouane Chamakh and Andre Santos, who all help to make up the worryingly large number of Elephants in The Gunners’ dressing room.
Of course, nobody is implying that Arsène shouldn’t be frantically scribbling into his dusty cheque book, but in the meantime, are there any Arsenal players within the current side who we wouldn’t mind seeing more of next season?
[title]1. Carl Jenkinson[/title]
After arriving at the club from Charlton in 2011, Carl Jenkinson went from the obscurity of League One, to the limelight of the Champions League. During his two years at Arsenal, Carl has made a total of 35 appearances, putting in some steady, yet promising displays.
As Bacary Sagna battled with a number of injuries, Carl Jenkinson began to appear more frequently, and in turn, an increasingly large number of Arsenal fans didn’t seem to mind much at all. His passing was reliable, his crossing ability was often dazzling, and his defending was – for the most part, effective.
As a boyhood Arsenal fan, Jenkinson’s evident love and passion for Arsenal can be seen in every tackle that he makes, and in every ball that he crosses. His first two years at the club have been impressive, and the potential which lies within his energetic performances is certainly there to be seen.
Naturally, at the age of just 20, Carl has a lot to learn, but, I am surely not alone in wanting to see him given the chance to improve himself even further within the 2013/14 campaign.
[title]2. Serge Gnabry[/title]
Upon turning 16 in 2011, Gnabry completed his move to Arsenal from VfB Stuttgart, making an immediate impact in the Arsenal U18’s, scoring two goals in six games from the wing. His performances earned him a swift promotion into the Neil Banfield’s reserve squad ready for the 2012/13 season.
Gnabry made his first senior appearance for The Gunners on September 26th 2012, coming on as a substitute against Coventry City in the League Cup. in October, he became Arsenal’s third youngest player to appear in the Premier League behind Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas, followed by a further substitute appearance in the Champions League.
His performances for the first team were short in length, but were packed with quality. His passing seemed elegant, his pace looked dangerous, and he proved his eye for goal with a number of ambitious long shots. Gnabry’s success for the reserves, as well as during the March 2013 Next-Gen series definitely makes him an exciting talent, and one which we would love to see more of.
[title]3. Francis Coquelin[/title]
Although Coquelin made regular appearances on the Arsenal bench, Arsène Wenger seemed bewilderingly reluctant to use him. Even as Mikel Arteta suffered injury, and Aaron Ramsey continued to look shaky throughout the season, Coquelin was left out in the cold, making just eleven starts for the club.
Coquelin impressed on a number of occasions, providing some real defensive stability in the centre, along with both short and long-range passes which helped the side progress offensively. His tidy, yet powerful performances earned him a the aaward of Man of the Match against Schalke in October 2012, but as the season wore on, Francis seemed to be phased out.
During March and April 2013, Coquelin was instead starting for the U21’s, making the first team bench less frequently than before. Despite our relatively soft midfield, it was a shame to see Coquelin used so sparingly. I, for one, sincerely hope to see more the talented Frenchman given more first team opportunities.
[title]4. Thomas Eisfeld[/title]
Snatched from Borrusia Dortmund in 2012, Thomas Eisfeld immediately began to impress Arsenal fans with some excellent attacking play from the centre of midfield. He scored once for the Arsenal reserves out of three appearances, and also bagged two goals during Arsenal’s 2012 Tour of Asia.
Eisfeld was part of Dortmund’s ‘BVB Academy’ for seven years, and can play in a variety of midfield positions. The youngster has also featured regularly at youth level for the German national team, captaining the Under-15s side.
He made just one senior appearance last season, putting on a good performance during Arsenal’s famous 7-5 away win at Reading. His pinpoint passing in the final third was exciting to watch, and with the absence of Jack Wilshere due to injury, his name was on the lips of many Arsenal fans for a number of months to come.
Although Arsène Wenger currently has quite a lot of central midfielders to choose from, many believe that Thomas Eisfeld has a promising future at the club, and so throwing him a few first team appearances during the 2013/14 season may be a good idea.
[title]5. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain[/title]
These days, The Ox barely needs an introduction. After signing for The Gunners from Southampton in 2011, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has progressed from a player who promised much, to a player who delivers much.
After establishing himself as a rising star amongst the Arsenal ranks, Chamberlain took strides forward Internationally, climbing up to the England first team via the U21’s. His lightening pace, raw strength and brilliant finishing have all helped build the foundations of what could soon be a talisman for both club and country.
However, an abundance of attacking midfielders, paired with the excellent displays of Theo Walcott, allowed The Ox to claim just 17 starts for the club, leaving many Arsenal fans wanting to see more. It’s safe to say that there isn’t a Football fan in the world who wouldn’t want to see more of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the upcoming campaign.
Although many Arsenal fans would enjoy seeing all of the players mentioned above on a more regular basis, the fact of the matter is, Arsène Wenger would have to perform an extremely complex balancing act to make it happen.
Some fans will understandably view big name signings as hindrances to the potential of these youngsters – however, such signings could also have a positive impact. Players like Coquelin, Jenkinson and Chamberlain struggled for appearances due to the strenuous nature of Arsenal’s stumbling, uncertain campaign, which yet again needed to be rescued on the final day.
The introduction of proven, world-class talent, paired with the shifting of Arsenal’s deadwood, will certainly allow our younger prospects to appear more frequently in competitions such as the FA and League cup, on a basis which is healthy for both them, and the club in general.
Which Arsenal player would you like to see more of next season? Let us know in the comments below.