It is only the first full week of June, but Arsenal have already made something of a cull at Reserve and youth level, releasing six players and allowing one to leave, with another on the verge of completing a move today.
Oguzhan Ozyakup is perhaps the most prominent of those players referred to, with the midfielder, who recently switched his allegiance to Turkey in terms of international football, poised for a move to Besiktas. The 19 year old made two Carling Cup appearances for Arsenal last season, and was on the bench for games against Manchester United and AC Milan, but was reluctant to go out on loan and, with it being difficult to envisage a long-term breakthrough into the first-team, he has elected to depart, with the move expected to be tied up shortly.
Right-back Ben Glasgow, meanwhile, has joined Stoke City, having signed a professional contract with the Premier League club. Glasgow, a Republic of Ireland youth international, was approaching the end of his deal at Arsenal and had only been offered an extension of his scholarship by the Gunners, and has decided to move to the Britannia Stadium in the hope of establishing himself in the Reserve side there, something which, largely owing to injury problems, he was unable to do at Arsenal.
In addition, six players will be officially released when their contracts expire at the end of the month, with Gavin Hoyte, Rhys Murphy, Sean McDermott, George Brislen-Hall, James Campbell and Jeffrey Monakana all allowed to depart. Some have already planned ahead for next season, with Monakana set to be part of Preston North End’s first-team squad, whilst Campbell will spend pre-season with Dundee United in the hope of earning a permanent move. That’s not to mention Alban Bunjaku, who departed the club months ago, although his move is yet to be officially confirmed.
More players could join them in heading for the exit door in the coming weeks and months, with the likes of Sanchez Watt and Craig Eastmond prime candidates to depart, whilst others, such as Henri Lansbury and Kyle Bartley, will hold discussions with Arsene Wenger regarding their futures before deciding their next step.
Why are the club letting so many young players go? One reason is that, with a large number of players already on their books, they are having to clear the decks ahead of the new campaign, when 12 new youngsters will start their scholarships at London Colney. Furthermore, the restrictions imposed by the 25-man squad rule in the Premier League have meant that, over the past couple of years, the club have become considerably more ruthless when deciding the futures of young players from outside the first-team squad. The likes of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Roarie Deacon and Nacer Barazite may well have stayed longer were it not for this rule, and the process is likely to continue in coming seasons as Arsenal continue in their aim of assembling competent young players ready to break into the squad.