Unlike a lot of Arsenal supporters, I actually look forward to the League Cup (I’m sorry, but I refuse to call it by whichever company chooses to sponsor it this season-Milk cup, Rumbelows, Carling cup etc.etc.) due to the opportunity of gazing over the latest prodigies who hope to impress Arsene and his management team. We’ve been able to watch youngsters like Cesc, Theo and Jack full of raw talent and enthusiasm, progressing into valued players of the 1st team who will be playing top class football for years to come.
Of course the other side of the coin are players who flatter to deceive-Lansbury, Bentley, Eastmond and countless others.
Of the current crop 2 players stand out.
Thomas Eisfeld is a classy 20year old who Arsenal picked up from Dortmund for a reported fee of £420k. Dortmund reportedly were not happy with Arsenal pinching one of their young prodigies-and especially for such a paltry fee. The Germans had overseen Eisfled’s return from a serious cruciate ligament injury that potentially could have been career ending.
Although he’s only featured in the 1st team once (coming on in the League cup against Reading) he has appeared in pre-season friendlies and the Next-gen tournament. His maturity and calmness on the ball, coupled with always showing when Arsenal are in possession is reminiscent of the early Fabregas years (although Cesc was only 16 when he made his breakthrough). Eisfeld is stocky, strong and has an eye for goal and it’s surely only a matter of time before he’s included in the first team squad. A lot of Arsenal fans are looking forward to Eisfeld making his full debut or at least make an appearance from the subs bench.He’s the type of player that fans get excited about when they see him stripping off on the sidelines waiting for him to run onto the pitch to potentially change the nature of the game. If he has the ability and consistency to do this in the Premiership and become a stand-out player remains to be seen. But he certainly has the potential and bags of skill to be another centre midfield star of the future.
Serge Gnabry-is only 17 and has already made his premier and champions league debut. Originally a sprinter who chose football over athletics, Arsene picked him up from Stuttgart on a £100k fee but Serge could only join the club once he became 16. He quickly impressed the coaching staff and Arsene Wenger has already stated that he has all the attributes to become a star with the added potential of playing through the middle due to his strength and efficiency in his game.
Serge became Arsenal’s 3rd youngest player in league history (after Cesc and Jack) when he came on against Norwich and he also came on as sub 4 days later against Schalke 04 in the Champions league. Any Arsenal fan who’s seen both of those performances cannot be anything but impressed with the way he played with no fear and full of attacking intent-almost a mini-Alex OC. He likes to attack full backs and has scored at all levels-both internationally and at club level. He won rave reviews at The Next-gen tournament scoring a searing equalizer against Chelsea in the semi-finals. Arsene Wenger is known for trusting young players to shine for the first team, don’t be surprised if Serge Gnarby is the surprise package for next season.