Mavididi returns to Arsenal but finds Nketiah in his way

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There was a time when Stephy Mavididi seemed set to be the next talented young striker at Arsenal who would eventually be given an opportunity to break into the first-team.

Circumstances have dictated, however, that Mavididi, now aged 20, has returned to the club following his latest loan spell with his future remaining unclear.

Last season was a tumultuous one for Mavididi. He commenced the campaign by joining Preston North End on loan but found it difficult to settle there before returning to Charlton Athletic, with whom he had enjoyed a successful spell in the 2016/17 campaign before suffering a hamstring injury.

Mavididi’s second stint at Charlton wasn’t quite as successful as the first but he still gained plenty of valuable experience with the League One side and also, notably, scored his first goals in senior football.

Now, though, it will be interesting to see what lies ahead for Mavididi. Last season he appeared rather out of his depth in the Championship but perhaps at Arsenal, where he is hugely familiar with the club’s style of play, he would be able to make more of an impact if called upon.

It is questionable, though, whether Mavididi will get a look in, especially with Eddie Nketiah, who is almost a year younger than him, having made such significant progress last season.

Nketiah has overtaken Mavididi at both club and international level, as demonstrated by the fact that he featured, and impressed, for England U21s in their recent Toulon Tournament success while his fellow Hale End graduate didn’t even make the squad.

Mavididi certainly has exciting raw qualities when his pace and power are taken into consideration, and, like Nketiah, he is also impressive technically.

However, at this stage, Nketiah has much more to his all round game, with his link-up play, for instance, being of a remarkably high standard.

So far Mavididi’s only involvement with the Arsenal first-team amounts to being on the bench for two EFL Cup ties in the 2016/17 season but he will be determined for that to change.

Mavididi, eager to make an impression, has already returned to Arsenal’s London Colney training ground and has been doing gym work alongside the likes of Gedion Zelalem and Josh Dasilva.

With pre-season set to get underway properly in a couple of weeks, Mavididi will aim to convince new head coach Unai Emery that he should be involved with the senior squad during pre-season.

If he manages to do that and seizes his opportunity then Mavididi could perhaps go on to get further chances, but for now, with Nketiah in his way, his Arsenal future looks rather uncertain.

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

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Roof attack
Roof attack

This seems to be a key age for young strikers at the arsenal. I can’t think of one young striker who came through our academy in the last 15 odd years who made the grade eventually at the top level. Who remembers Arturo lupoli ?! It seems we rarely make a mistake in letting young players go ( *whisper * except Harry Kane? !)

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Niklas B?

One of them is lying!
One of them is lying!

True…how did I forget to mention TGSEL!

food for thought
food for thought

yes, Bedtner. the most merciful striker with a heart of gold. imagine if he decided to open his eyes when he shoots, he’d be winning the World Player every year, for the last decade, and given his pysique, he probably will go on to win it for the next 5 years. there’d be no messi, no ronnie. noone but bendtner. that’s our legendary striker. #statuepls

One of them is lying!
One of them is lying!

Probably Benik Afobe…but not really at the top but at least the PL. But seems like he is more successful in the lower league.

Lobster
Lobster

Part of me wants Welbeck to be gone so that Eddie can get a look in. A large part of me also knows that keeping Welbeck as the third choice striker gives us more of a chance to win/challenge for trophies next season. The dilemma of giving youth a chance I guess.

And whatever happened to Chuba?

food for thought
food for thought

we’ll need to keep welbz because we’re not sure how emery works out for us. to be safe it’s good to have 4 strikers. so that he can pull an Arsene trick out of the hat and throw in 4 strikers when we need a goal!

afan
afan

Welbeck is ok if you don’t have any ambitions

Rich
Rich

I think we should definitely offer Welbeck a new deal, can play right, left and centre, he’s defensively very sound, and he’s made for the pressing system Emery has suggested he’ll implement.
His numbers were decent last season, he’s coming into his prime years and I think we look much more solid with him in the team.

Corona X
Corona X

I’m not sure I agree, I think we can do better – but then again your arguments make sense so I’m not voting you down. There should be a yellow thumb, for sitting on the fence!

Don Cazorleone
Don Cazorleone

Have we finally reached the point in society where we are so desperate to give an opinion on everything that we now need a way to let people know we have no opinion at all? Christ…

Lobster
Lobster

Nobody doubts his utility.

I just think there’s a genuine decision to be made between keeping a 27 year old striker who has a single-digit average of goals per season in his 4 years at Arsenal OR selling him now while he has some market value, reinvest the money into the other parts of the team which are in need and promote a 19 year old academy product who topped the scoring charts in PL2 last season to our 3rd choice striker.

Jimbo Jones
Jimbo Jones

This is very true. I like Welbeck but does Danny Welbeck help you challenge for the title. I think the answer is no. Do Arsenal want to challenge? I hope yes.

What is key is that we have two top class proven strikers already and up too Welbz isn’t quite good enough so cash in and give Eddie a chance

Vonnie
Vonnie

Eddie is still young so doesn’t take up a squad place, I’d probably keep them both and give Eddie some game time in the cups and some u23 games.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

As backup I think he does. Particularly when you have problems elsewhere you need to address.

Emmanuel
Emmanuel

You are correct

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

I think we need Welbeck. He might not score a lot of goals, but the team does function with him up top.

Also he can fill multiple positions. Useful guy to have around.

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter

Ah the curse of the loaned striker

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

Never heard of him.

Martin
Martin

Very profound comment

HansRott
HansRott

The loan system as we employ it simply doesn’t work.

If we really do have first class young players who need to step forward to a higher level then it’s time AFC became more imaginative. The alternative is seeing players decide to leave or be let go as more and more younger players ascend the ranks only for themselves to hit a thick, brick wall.

Perhaps this is why part of Unai Emery’s brief is to be significantly involved with these younger players.

The point is that if something doesn’t change then we’ll simply keep rotating personnel year after year with very little result.

That said, under Wenger, we did get Bellerin, Chambers, Holding, Mavropanos, AMN, Ramsey, Wilshere, and Iwobi into our first team squad though, I’d argue, most were significant purchases and not true graduates of the youth system.

This season, we appear to have a decent bunch that include Willock, Nelson, Nketiah, Zelalem, and Jeff Reine-Adelaide plus others that I’ve not a clue about. And if we send them all out on loan into the sea of lower league clubs (who never employ Arsenal’s expansive style of play) hoping that luck, health, and vision coincide into a successful season (think Wilshere and Bendtner) then it’ll be another pointless twelve months wasted.

Hulk
Hulk

Wellbeck needs to go. He is the modern day Heskey. I would rather give a young hungry and actually talented player a chance.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

Off topic.
Germany’s Low bench Ozil because he was looking for a more lively midfield capable of pressing and running back to close spaces behind, and in doing so effectively eliminating the problem faced against Mexico. Even if it is on the expense of less creativity upfront, but however creative you may be, it is meaningless if you allowed yourself to be vulnerable at back.
Since Emery aspire to replicate the same style of football, he will face the dilemma of where or whether or not to play Ozil and give him the same amount of tactical freedom on the expence of the team.
Simply put: He is not compatible with high pressing, fast-tracking-back football.
and I say let’s sell him while he’s worth something.

Rich
Rich

Completely agree.
If we can get £25-30mill? and him off the wage bill? I think it would be a smart move

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Nice story and I’m not even a huge Ozil fan but pretty sure then benching is due to his ongoing back problem.

Jimbo Jones
Jimbo Jones

Not the case. Tactical and a bit due to political pressure.

Mesut Ozil could become the elephant in the room at Arsenal. Such a talent but there’s something not quite right

Atom
Atom

Reports are coming out of Germany the other players demanded he be benched as his failing to track back led to the Mexico goal. Given 3 changes were made and he came through the Mexico game it seems likely this was a tactical decision to bench him. Germany basically has the same issue we do – they desperately need a proper dm next to Kroos

Valentin
Valentin

If I remember correctly, he was the player who tried to block the shot. So he did track back, but was undone by a smart change of direction.
Germany main problem is not Özil, it is that they play 2-4-4 and that system does not work against a solid defense playing with two speedsters on top or on the wing. Every body has spotted their weaknesses against quick wingers.
Even against Sweden whose strikers are not particularly quick, Germany was constantly at risk of a quick counter-attack.

However I agree that I do not see Özil working in the high energy, high pressing system that Emery wants to put in place. The problem is that none of our current midfield players could. Xhaka will just be a red carded every other games. Elneny would just infuriates fans with his repeated backward passes. AMN would have to change and show more agression. Iwobi would have to improve his distribution. Ramsey would strive, but without Giroud as a focal point, he would not be very effective. Aubameyang plays on the shoulder of the last defender like Henry rather than as a pivot like Giroud. Compact défense would not be stretched so easily.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

Benching Ozil didn’t seem to make much difference, their problems were elsewhere.

One thing I think we have learned first hand on many occasions is that if the rest of the team plays crap Ozil will be crap

Billy Bob
Billy Bob

Thing is Portugal ain’t much to write home about but Ronaldo takes the team to a new level, that is what quality players do!!!

Zyrth
Zyrth

That’s really a different type of player. You’re looking at one who functions in the final third and one who plies his trade in between the final and middle third. Ronaldo is the type of player who beats defenders and always raring to shoot, while Ozil plays slightly behind looking to create space, find players that makes runs like Ronaldo does and puts it to them be it the final pass or a pass to invoke plays.

Atom
Atom

They beat France in euro 16 final with Ronaldo missing virtually the whole game and with him contributing very little most of the tournament. It’s not like he plays for Iceland or Greece

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

Portugal don’t have an Aubameyang or a Lacazette. Ozil’s a creator not a goal scorer.

A player like Ozil can take a team with good forwards to a new level. Ronaldo wasn’t happy when Madrid sold him.

Xhaka’s not a destroyer but his passing can kill the opposition provided you can shut them out.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob

When the tough gets going ozil gets dropped, not surprising after his shoddy display in the opening game against Mexico!!!!

Whowearsshortshorts?
Whowearsshortshorts?

Thanks George, informative as ever!

santori
santori

I don’t particularly think Nketiah is well served around the first squad at the moment, he needs to go on a strong loan to develop.

santori
santori

Arsenal fans are deluding themselves into thinking this new Mslintat regime is better.

They are foolish trumpeting these ‘early signings’ as evidence of a ‘new approach.

We signed Podlski early (even before start of window) in Wenger’s reign and Alexis was not exactly last minute either.

Meanwhile Leno and Lichsteiner are not exactly hot commodity for bigger reources club.

Hardly surpising that these deals are concluded earlier.

Torreiro (if we sign him) similarly does not start for Uruguay.

In fact, a cursory look at the team and you will find (if you were a neutral) that Arsenal lack world beaters.

PEA aside, Ozil is lethargic. Iwobi (unfairly criticised) yet to hit heights (albeit still 22yrs). Granit has had a good World cup thus far but won’t be considered top talent (although there is room for improvement)

Instead, Arsenal fans inexplicably trump up VERY average players like Elneny who frankly would not look out of place in mid to low end of the table.

I don’t think the Msilntat purchases are terribly exciting.

But we shall see what influence Emery can have.

he did the right thing in not threatening to go head to head with the German (unlike Arteta who played his inexpereince), instead secure the job first.

He needs to influence the selection proccess now to better calibrate towards the goals of his team in its balance and needs.

Valentin
Valentin

Having seen the real Unai Emery at PSG, I do not think that he will vastly improve things.
I would question the quality of his assessment of players.
When at PSG, all the players that he requested ended as flops. Krikowiak was lend to West Bromwich Albion with which he was relegated. Jese was sold to Stoke that he helped relegated. Alcensio was sold to a Portuguese club. He installed Kevin Trapped as number one, who then subsequently committed a few too many high profile howlers. Aureola was then reinstated as main goalkeeper.
Before people throw Sevilla to me, I would say that at Sevilla and Valencia his influence on recruitment was minimal and that was one of his reason for leaving Valencia and Sevilla. Incidentally both clubs continue to do well after he left, so their success was obviously not due only to him.
His relationship with players were not particularly warm. Neymar hated him and after three weeks requested he be gone. The rest of Brazilian PSG clique thought that he spent a lot of time with video session, but that most of them were boring, uninspiring and not very good. Joaquin left Sevilla because he could not stand working under him any more. Remember the quib about running out of popcorn for the video session.
Ultimately most of the success and failure were due the quality of the individual talents rather the way he collectively set up his teams. In fact at PSG, he failed most of the big tactical tests. Lost against Monaco, Lyon, Draw against Saint Etienne, draw against the run of play because of the brilliance of Cavani. Destroyed on the return leg against Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Alex
Alex

According to, the latest scientific release on modern day football.
It would seem that it is more interfering for a team to strengthen the overall level of a team to reinforce at faulty positions rather than buying a super star player.

Because, this one will have less impact globally on the game of his team.

Emery is currently working on our weak spots and our defense.

Monkey knees
Monkey knees

Saw him a few times up the road at the Valley. The basics are there… But injuries, as with most of our loanees, hamper any development.

jon

Having been admitted to the hospital last week, and failing to spot any obvious football talent there, I’ve come to doubt whether we really need a clinical striker.

Valentin
Valentin

Mavididi Big chance is that because of the influx of new players and the imposition by the premiership, the FA and UEFaA on the number of club and country home grown players he may get his chance. His link-up play is mediocre but did improve at Charlton. Physically he is the only player who can play the pivot striker a la Giroud, Diego Costa, Lukaku. Every body else play on the shoulder of the last defender and wants to use his pace: Lacazette, Aubameyang, Nketia. That opens an opportunity for the game in which Arsenal may need to go long.