Eight departures as Arsenal Academy look towards next season


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.

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


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33 Comments on "Eight departures as Arsenal Academy look towards next season"

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8 this year, 10 last year? :/


Sadly, all part of the huge filtering process. — ‘you have kiss a lot of frogs’. Got resigned to it a few years back.

Even with the talented kids that come through our academy, very few are Arsenal ready in time these days.

Its ruthless and not fair on some of them, who could make it if given more time. The only upside is that many of them make a good living elsewhere.

The other part is the flaw in the system where the squad rules mean you have to decide at 21-22 if a player is ever going to make it.

Its one reason I like the B team proposal, we wouldn’t need to offload these these kids wholesale — there would be no need. Promote them into the B team and wait and see what happens.

We could keep doing things like the potential situation now with Vela; sell them and buy them back later if they do improve. I’d just rather keep them in the Arsenal family, train them our way and give them a fair chance to show what they can do. — We’d still lose most of them in the end, but that’s just the way of things.

Isha nla

Too much clear out.. Where are the replacements coming from ?


Chucks is nearly 21 not 19 as stated in the article. Its a shame about him because when he played pre season games for us, he never looked out of place. Looked like he had real potential. Scored some great goals for Crewe this year. Good luck to him wherever he ends up.


“Wellington and Samuel Galindo still have a year left to run on their contracts at the club.” Fucking hell?! Were we that poor?


Shame for Aneke, he was really good this year, maybe deserved an extension and a loan spell in the Championship/PL.


chuks aneke should have been given time i do like that boy.


Maybe they thought that he is a good player but wouldn’t get his chance at Arsenal…its theoretical but makes sense. I mean these guys look out for the players and probably didn’t wanna waste his time and potential.

Lethbridge Gooner

Letting Aneke go shows we are not relying on youth coming through like in the past anymore.

The soccer world is now buying experience rather than promote youth.


the what world?


Can someone please translate? I dont speak american

Me So Hornsey

Having IMO the best in-depth midfield in the country at arsenal, it does make sense, however I wish hope they’d extended hb in aneke for a year then either sold him with a buy-back clause or loaned him to a ‘lower’ prem team.

Me So Hornsey

Sorry that made no sense at all and I can’t be arsed to re-type. Please ignore.




Wenger is coming up on 18 years, it is a shame we haven’t brought through more talent from the academy. A lot of the youngsters he has developed arrived at 16+. I guess this explains the youth restructuring…?


Aneke should have been given a proper chance, I’m sure he’ll forge a decent career somewhere. I really hope Wellington is given a chance. I can’t believe Gallindo is still at the club.

Bacary's right leg

People talk about giving Aneke the chance. But they are the same people saying we need to buy x y and z and would bemoan him playing first team football. It’s a fine balance nowadays. Where as before someone like aneke would have got a proper go.


With all these kids leaving, who are we gonna play in the carling worthington coca cola captial one micky mouse cup next season?

Andy Mack

There are plenty of new kids to play in the tin pot cup.

Unyoke the ox

Surprise about Chuks. He’s looked good on loan.


Dawkins is the one I’m surprised about. I have to wonder what he did so wrong to be let go at that age when he’s looked OK from all accounts.

Aneke doesn’t surprise me. If we signed a 20 year old purely on the basis of performances in League One, there would be widespread dissent. He needed to have succeeded at a higher level to win a contract.


Why so many? I hope there more left at the academy.

Yolo Toure

Shame about Chuks, wish him well!

Al Gilmore

Have seen quotes from many managers – AW and SAF, to name but two – that state that the quality needed for a top 4 side has gone up several notches since say, the United golden generation. United have brought through very few regular starters since the Golden generation. Arsenal continue to come up with 1 every few years or so, with Gibbs being the current one.

It IS very difficult to bring young players through because the demand for instant success at the top is massive. As someone has already said Wenger would be slaughtered is he didn’t sign anyone this summer and said it was because he didn’t want to stifle youth players. They also slaughter him for taking risks in cup competitions with young players because winning a trophy is paramount. So the AW nay-sayers (you know the ones who second guess AFC’s every move and AW’s every decision) need to find some consistency to their arguments. You can’t slag the club off for not bringing youngsters through but at the same time demand 2 top class mature players for every position and demand success in all competitions. If you look at CFC and Citeh you will see the demand for success on all fronts totally negates the chance of bringing a young player through. CFC play your Lamps etc even in home ties against lower league opponents. When does McCeachran even get a chance.

Clearly Southampton are doing something right and it amazes me that they are ripping up their youth heirarchy. But in a sense their previous financial plight and league position demanded they concentrate on youth and it is now paying off. It also helps that they are the biggest club in a fairly large catchment area – unlike London clubs scrabbling around.

Maybe Greg Dyke has the answer – an AFC B team playing in the lower leagues – so we can keep these young players in an AFC shirt and take more time to see how they develope. The only problem is – is league 1 really a grounding in playing football the way AW wants? Prob not.

Andy Mack

‘is league 1 really a grounding in playing football the way AW wants?’
That’s a fair question but if you’re referring to Aneke, Crewe are know for bringing on very good young players. The PL has had an awful lot of them from such a small club.

I agree with pretty much everything you say but Aneke has shown real potential. Personally I’d try to hold him for another year and put him with either a strong championship team or a lower PL team but it’s difficult to make the loan club guarantee the guy will get playing time.

Not certain but I think the Chavski lad is on loan somewhere.

What may be better than the ‘B’ team system would be to change the Loan system to allow 6+ to go to one lower team, where it would give us the chance to insist on types of training & playing time quotas. As you say, the ‘B’ teams being stuck so far down could cause real issues


In all honesty, I just couldn’t see our “B” team (if it existed) being stuck in the lower leagues for very long.


We are making a mistake with Aneke, he is so much better than Miyaichi, Sanogo and their likes.


on witch basis is that !!! miyaichi got 2/3 season where he never play because of injuries before that he was one of the best if not the best young player in the dutch league while on loan there at feyenoord, he was doing alright at bolton and wigan in the PL .i m sure his future will be away from our club this summer

sanogo has score goal in every level of the youth french team and bang lot of goal in french ligue 2 while at auxerre. once he score goal ,he wont stop i m sure of it

aneke while has one good season at crewe at the bottom of league one but he is nearly 21 already,he is miles away from been a Arsenal first team player . its better for him to try to step up in the championship rather that waste his time at arsenal waiting for a small chance to happen in the carling cup


Will people calm down, of course we are still bringing through youngsters they just have to be bloody good enough. Chunks aneke even whilst doing well at crewe, still wasn’t a regular starter and of those let go he was by far the best. Who will we play in the capital one cup? Well perhaps 11 of the 65 players we have retained might get a game. If you list our midfielders out in order of best down to worst, aneke would have been lucky to make the top 18 in no particular order all these are ahead of him ozil Ramsey wilshire cazorla Walcott podolski rosicky chamberlain arteta flamini diaby campbell gnabry eisfeld olsson zelalem, toral, ryo, for sure and may be some others too. Some of those are younger than aneke and who will replace those let go well the players in the year or two below them of course that are already better. Zelalem we have already mentioned, crowley, iwobi, jebb, willows, maitland-niles and the list goes on.


By the way it’s not 8 departures it’s 12
Viviano kallstrom park bendtner aneke ansah fagan boateng siemann mugabo uade dawkins.

Djourou, sagna and fabianski should all be added to that list come 1st july.

Whilst, eventhough they are now old enough to be named in the 25 next season, I doubt any of these will, martinez, miquel, Coquelin, galindo, ryo, may be martinez, as 3rd keeper?


# willows = willock #

@gooner4eva have you seen aneke play u21 international or full international football? Like ryo and sanogo. He is about the same age, yet has not impressed any managers, not even the crewe manager picks him regularly as a starter because he simply is not a team player.

Get over some youngsters stay some go. Our list free transfers is shorter than chelsea and man citys, palace have given 15, Hull and Fulham similar numbers. Let’s not forget we have also given new contracts to 10 new scholars and offered contracts to 3 more. 2 of the 2nd years have been offered pro contracts with another 4 already signed.


If we didnt let them go,how are we going to find a better quality players to bring in. The coaching staff knows better than we do

North Bank Ned

The reality is that very few new players – established stars or academy players – break into the first team each season, and, with all due respect to the Southamptons of this world, we are talking about nailing down a place in one of the top teams in Europe where virtually all your teammates are going to be internationals. It is a high bar to clear. The weight of numbers is hugely against any academy graduate making it. Better for most of them that they are cut loose at an age where they can still develop a professional career. I doubt very much that Arsenal lets go anyone whom the coaching staff thinks has a shot at making it. Aneke, may, or not be good enough to play in the Premiership, but it is highly unlikely it would be for Arsenal. He is a long way down the pecking order.