Article courtesy of Rob Morris from the NEW ‘Clean Sheets All Round’
6. Emmanuel Frimpong: Age 18; Signed by the Gunners aged nine, Emmanuel’s tough-tackling and physicality is arguably Arsenal’s answer to Michael Essien.
Representing England at youth level, the midfielder has risen through the ranks at a rapid rate and following a successful Emirates cup, looked to make a strong impression in the Carling Cup this season. Unfortunately, Emmanuel suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in training which has seen him on the sidelines for 9 months. If he can come back fighting fit, expect the Ghanaian-born youngster to develop under the guidance of Alex Song and Abou Diaby.
5. Ignasi Miguel: Age 18; Miguel captained the reserves during the second half of last season and his move from left-back into a more central position has certainly helped his development. Question marks have been raised about his lack of pace but his strong tackling and distribution has drawn comparisons to another Spaniard, Gerard Pique. High praise indeed.
4. Chuks Aneke: Age 17; Under 18’s manager and Arsenal legend Steve Bould recently labelled Aneke as one of the hottest talents in English football.
Barcelona were interested in bringing the attacking-midfielder to the Camp Nou before he signed professionally with the Gunners and now a battle between Nigeria and England has commenced over his international future. Expect big things.
3. Wellington Silva: Age 18; Despite not being granted a special visa by FIFA, Arsene Wenger has high hopes for the Brazilian winger who has been touted as ‘the next Robinho’. Hopefully we’ll get to see a lot more of the Samba star when he joins a Spanish club on loan during the January transfer window.
2. Benik Afobe: Age 17; Currently on loan at League One side Huddersfield Town, Afobe joined Arsenal’s Academy aged six. If you wondered what the hype was about, the striker shares Michael Owen’s strike record for the England U-16s and belted 20 goals in 25 matches for an Arsenal side that won the Premier Academy League for the second successive season last year. England fans, watch out for this prolific finisher!
1. Wojciech Szczesny: Age 20; Your spell checkers enemy, Wojciech Szczesny, is without doubt the future between the sticks. A successful spell out on loan to Brentford last season confirmed that this 6ft 5in stopper is the real deal and if Arsenal fans needed further prove, his clean sheet against Newcastle in the League Cup did just that. Lukasz Fabianksi’s recent form has kept the number one jersey in the balance, but it’s only a matter of time before this Pole takes pole.