Arsenal is determined to keep hold of 16-year-old Ethan Nwaneri, who became the youngest player in Premier League history when he came on as a substitute in Arsenal’s win over Brentford in September. Despite not appearing for the first team since, Nwaneri has impressed in the U18 Premier League, registering three assists and two goals across nine appearances. In the FA Youth Cup, Nwaneri has scored twice in three games while for England U17s he has seven goals across 12 caps. Chelsea and Manchester City are reportedly interested in the teenage midfielder, but Arsenal is hopeful they can agree a deal with him. Young players cannot sign professional contracts until they are 17 years old, but can agree scholarship terms at Nwaneri’s current age of 16.
Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, now the Gunners’ U18s boss, is hoping his player Nwaneri will snub interest from Chelsea and City and stay at the Emirates. “We all hope he stays because he’s an exceptional talent,” Wilshere said. “As coaches, we don’t get involved and we don’t talk about that. I think we have to make it clear we don’t talk about that. That’s nothing. Our job is to develop Ethan to help him when he goes with the first-team.”
Chelsea agreed a £20m deal to sign 15-year-old Kendry Paez on Sunday and are keen to bring more youngsters in as they plan for the future. Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola has warned Manchester City players that Arsenal “won’t drop that many points”.