Afobe and Miquel set for pivotal pre-season

Afobe and Miquel set for pivotal pre-season

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When Arsenal released a host of players last week, it left Benik Afobe and Ignasi Miquel as Arsenal’s longest serving youngsters who signed scholarships at the age of 16 but are still not officially part of the first-team squad.

For both players, who have a year remaining on their contracts, this pre-season could be pivotal in deciding their long-term futures at the club. Afobe certainly seems to have the toughest battle on his hands, with the England U21 international facing stern competition from Yaya Sanogo and Chuba Akpom with regards to first-team opportunities.

The 21 year old recently returned from a loan spell with Sheffield Wednesday, where he didn’t receive as much game time as he would have anticipated. It was his fifth temporary transfer away from the club and, like Chuks Aneke, who was let go last week, he is approaching the stage of his career where he needs to settle down and establish himself as a regular. He is most probably going to have to drop into the Championship in order to fulfil that aim, especially if Arsenal finally spend money on a world class striker this summer.

Miquel’s chance, contrary to what some believe, may not quite have vanished yet. The centre-back also endured a difficult loan spell as he failed to feature regularly at Leicester City last season. With 14 senior appearances for Arsenal to his name, however, he already has considerable experience of senior football and, perhaps depending on whether Thomas Vermaelen leaves during this transfer window, the Spaniard may well be installed as the club’s fourth choice centre-back.

There are many aspects of his game that require improvement, and his decision making is still a little rash at times, but a lack of alternative options could present him with a chance of being a squad player. He will certainly be looking to fare better than he did last pre-season, when he struggled greatly when deployed at left-back. A long-term future at the club still seems unlikely but Miquel could still see out the final year of his contract with some first-team involvement.

Jeorge Bird is the author of  www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com  Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

 

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16 COMMENTS

  1. It’s hard to see Afobe being any serious use to the first team squad, but there may well be room for Miquel, especially if he’s still U21 and so doesn’t have to be registered (is/does he?). I (unfortunately) don’t think it too likely that we’ll have more than three senior CB’s next season so Miquel may be required. He’s at least further along than the likes of Ajayi.

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  2. No doubt we all love to see youngsters coming through the ranks and establishing themselves into the first team squad but it is getting harder and harder for them with Arsene seemingly and, hopefully to be honest , looking to improve the squad quality by using the financial resources available to us.
    Give it your best shot guys and if it doesn’t happen here i’m positive a rewarding future awaits you somewhere.

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  3. Ajayi and O’Connor are looking the boys at centre half – but it’s such a shame though. I really liked Miquel and thought he could be one for the future – clearly his progression hasn’t been the greatest as it seems he is now a ‘worst case scenario’.

    Biggest disappointment for me with our released players, was Zak. From the things I saw and heard; he is a real talent.

    Good luck for the future boys, in this ruthless, cut throat stages of establishing yourself as a regular starter in the senior team.

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  4. Miquel I think would benefit greatly from being an understudy to someone like the BFG they have some similar attributes and maybe he could model his game on the German.

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  5. They need to get Iggy on the same intensive gym programme that Ozil has apparently been on this season – I think we’ll start to see the benefit of MO’s physical conditioning next season, but since his return from injury he has looked a lot more robust. Get on the weights Iggy!

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  6. Sell them now with a buy-back-clause like we did with carlos vela. If they improve and impress we buy them back.

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  7. I would like Miquel to come good. It’s been a while since we brought through a young defender and I think he’s had some reasonable performances (shaky ones at left-back notwithstanding). And I like his face.

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  8. I’d be more worried about who our third choice cb will be next year. If TV5 leaves we need to get a proven experienced cb in.

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    • Why you keep talking about this? There is no reason why the club should allow vermealen to leave and I think it’s almost certain he will stay.

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  9. Was Thomas Eisfeld a mere figment of my imagination? A lucid, afternoon nap dream? Cos I swore last preseason we had a talented and creative attacking midfielder about to burst onto the scene as a long term Rosicky replacement. Since then I have heard nothing. Albeit he hadn’t been released but he also hasn’t been loaned or even deployed as an unused sub when we had 27 of our midfield players out around February.

    I’m starting to wonder if he exists anywhere else but my subconscious. Either that or it was determined he wasn’t going to make it and is being used for spare footballer parts. If next time we see Sanogo and he has a Caucasian leg, I’ll know the latter to be true.

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    • Unfortunately, it was just your imagination, since Eisfeld last year was, and still is, nowhere breaking into the first team. He still has some time though.

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  10. i know its out of context, just have a laugh,Angel Di Maria: “It hurts when you’re always doing your best for your club and then you hear that you might be going to Tottenham Hotspur”

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  11. In my eyes a team challenging at the top level should have four central defenders. Any more, and they’ll not get the game time needed to compete, and less, it’s dangerous if you have a couple injuries and/or suspensions. If Vermaelen stays we need one other established central defender, although if the Boss thinks that’s Miquel I would be happy for him to challenge for a spot on the bench.

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