At the end of every season the Arsenal youth coaching staff face the considerably difficult decision of deciding which youngsters to retain for the following campaign and which ones to let go.
This year the cull is not quite as profound as it has been in the past, but some notable names have been told that their future lies elsewhere, not least Chuks Aneke, the powerful midfielder who was so impressive on loan at Crewe Alexandra over the past two seasons.
Aneke will have no shortage of suitors, with Fulham amongst the several Championship clubs interested in his services. The 20 year old may well feel that he was not afforded a genuine opportunity to impress at Arsenal, as he was frequently played out of position on the few occasions he represented the first-team in pre-season, but with several highly talented midfielders ahead of him, he was unlikely to receive an opportunity to shine for the Gunners in the near future.
Striker Zak Ansah also departs. Highly rated as a schoolboy, Ansah struggled to replicate that form at U21 level and has been plagued by injury problems over the past few seasons, with the prodigious Chuba Akpom having overtaken him. Daniel Boateng, a centre-back who came through the club’s Hale End system, has also been released after failing to impose himself during three separate loan spells. He made a solitary appearance for the first-team.
Defenders Zach Fagan and Leander Siemann have also been let go, with neither having been particularly convincing over the past couple of seasons. Fagan, who spent time on loan at Boreham Wood last season, has already lined up a move to Conference Premier side Welling United, whilst Siemann may well return to his native Germany.
Second-year scholars Alfred Mugabo, Arinse Uade and Tarum Dawkins, meanwhile, have all seen their associations with the club come to an end. Dawkins’ departure is the one that will perhaps rankle most, given his speed and technical ability. Uade, after several inconsistent performances, finally appeared to be showing signs of improvement towards the end of last season and even trained with the first-team squad, but it wasn’t enough to earn him a professional deal. Mugabo, a senior Rwandan international, is capable of playing in most positions in defence and midfield but needs to improve his decision making. The 18 year old previously spent time on trial at Sheffield Wednesday.
The future of several other youngsters, including Benik Afobe and Ignasi Miquel, remains somewhat unclear, whilst Wellington and Samuel Galindo still have a year left to run on their contracts at the club.