'They will go abroad' - Arsenal warned over top young talent as European giants circle

Xavier Amaechi Arsenal 2018/19
The Gunners have some of the best young talent in the Premier League with players such as Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah

Arsenal risk losing some of their best young talent if they are not given the opportunity to prove themselves at senior level.

That is the view of Cohen Bramall, who will leave the Gunners when his contract expires at the end of this month following two-and-a-half years in north London.

During that time, Bramall has seen first hand the quality of young players who are being produced at Arsenal - with several now knocking on the door of the first team.

But the 23-year-old has warned that the exciting crop of emerging players at Emirates Stadium will soon start to look elsewhere, unless they are given an opportunity with the senior side in the near future.

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“Yes, 100 per cent,” said the defender, when asked by Goal if there was a chance of Arsenal losing some of their top talent. “If they don’t get the chance to show how good they are they will go abroad.

“There are a lot of clubs in the Bundesliga who want English talent and they will jump ship and go and try it over there.”

Unai Emery did hand some of Arsenal’s youth an opportunity last season, with players such as Emile Smith Rowe and 17-year-old Bukayo Saka both handed their first-team debuts.

Smith Rowe made six appearances for the senior side before leaving in January for a loan stint with RB Leipzig in Germany, scoring three goals in the process.

Saka, meanwhile, featured four times in all competitions and, when he replaced Alex Iwobi against Fulham on New Year’s Day, he became the first player born in 2001 to ever play in the Premier League.

Emery also handed game time to the likes of Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah, but the latter was limited to just nine appearances all season - despite Danny Welbeck’s injury in November leaving Arsenal with just two recognised strikers for the remainder of the campaign.

Eddie Nketiah Arsenal 2018-19

“I feel sorry for Ed because Danny was injured for a lot of the season and Ed should have been given more chances,” said Bramall.

“But with the media and the fans, there is a lot of pressure on youngsters because as soon as they don’t have the best game, people are on to them.

“It’s hard to take in. But with Ed, the boss should have given him more chances.

“The first team were in a difficult position last year, though, obviously trying to get Champions League and the fact it was Unai’s first season made it hard for youngsters to get in.”

Two of Arsenal’s best emerging talents are Xavier Amaechi and Tyreece John-Jules, who have yet to make their senior competitive debuts.

Both are very highly rated, but with their contracts due to expire at the end of the coming season, Arsenal are facing the very real prospect of losing both before they have even made their mark at the club they have represented since they were young boys.

Bayern Munich want to sign 18-year-old winger Amaechi, while striker John-Jules is wanted by a host of top sides across the continent.

Freddie Ljungberg, who was Amaechi and John-Jules’ coach last season with the Under-23s, however, is moving over to join Emery’s first-team coaching staff next season and Bramall believes that can only be a good thing.

“Freddie has coached us for a whole season, he knows who is ready, who isn't and who is ready to go out on loan,” said the full-back.


“I think a lot more youngsters will get an opportunity now with Freddie there, especially in the cup games and the Europa League.”

One player who did not get any senior game time at all last season was right-back Jordi Osei-Tutu.

And Bramall admits that came as a surprise to everyone in the U23s set-up, given the problems Emery had to deal with on the right side of his defence.

The Spaniard lost Hector Bellerin to a season-ending injury in December and largely plugged the gap by using Ainsley Maitland-Niles as cover.

Carl Jenkinson did get some minutes, as did Stephan Lichtsteiner, but Osei-Tutu never got a look in.

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“Jordi not getting a chance last season didn’t make sense to any of us,” said Bramall. “We were gutted for Jordi because we were expecting him to be with the first team a lot more and we didn’t really understand why he wasn’t.

“He deserves his chance. I think Ainsley has done a good job there but I feel sorry for him because he’s not a right-back, he’s a midfield player and he can be a scary player there.

“He deserves a chance in midfield and Jordi deserves a chance at right-back. If that doesn’t happen then I think Jordi will have a successful loan because he is that good. He’s one of the best right-backs I’ve seen.”