It was officially confirmed today that Chris Willock has left Arsenal to join Benfica.
The talented winger will initially link up with Benfica’s B team and will have designs on establishing himself in the senior squad in due course, something which would have been incredibly difficult to achieve at Arsenal.
Willock certainly can’t be criticised for wanting to further his development elsewhere and it will be intriguing to see how he progresses in Portugal.
A player who possesses excellent close control, Willock has also started to add more goals to his game in recent years, while he has improved with regards to his strength.
For Arsenal, though, now it is time to focus on the players that are still at their disposal and one prospect who will immediately benefit from Willock’s departure is Reiss Nelson.
Like Willock, Nelson is capable of operating as an attacking midfielder or out wide, with the 17-year-old having already been guaranteed first-team opportunities next season by manager Arsene Wenger.
Nelson is an extremely exciting talent and all of the evidence suggests that the Hale End product is the standout youngster on Arsenal’s books at present, something which will hopefully become apparent to a wider audience next season if he does indeed become involved with the first-team.
There are other creative prospects to keep an eye on too, including Trae Coyle, who has now officially signed scholarship terms with Arsenal. Another player in the Willock and Nelson mould, he featured in the UEFA Youth League last season while still a schoolboy and will hope to break into the U23 squad next campaign.
Losing Willock is certainly a major disappointment for Arsenal, especially considering the amount of years they spent developing him and the potential he possesses. A starlet who trained with the first-team as a schoolboy and played for Wenger’s team in a friendly aged 16, his ability has been abundantly clear for many years.
Nelson, though, will now be looking to step into the limelight.