London, UK. 25th Apr, 2023. Amario Cozier-Dubbery of Arsenal during the The FA Youth Cup match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

6 Arsenal academy stars who are set for a big breakthrough in 2023-24

Arsenal are back in the Champions League and Mikel Arteta will be keen to use his squad to his fullest as they navigate four fronts in 2023-24.

The Gunners have started the new campaign by lifting silverware and they’ll be hungry for more, having missed out on the Premier League title after leading the way for most of last season.

The future looks very bright for Arsenal, and their famous Hale End academy continues to produce talented prospects. We’ve identified six starlets that could be set for a big breakthrough this season.

Ethan Nwaneri

The Golden Boy of the current crop of Hale End kids, Nwaneri has already made something of a name for himself.

The Enfield-born attacker made headlines when he became the Premier League’s youngest-ever debutant at 15 years and 181 days old when Arteta introduced him off the bench in a routine 3-0 victory over Brentford last September.

Nwaneri has had to be patient for a further taste of first-team action, but he’s continued progressing along nicely for Arsenal’s Under-21s and England’s Under-17s.

Chelsea were said to be interested in snapping him up, but he’s committed his future at his boyhood club by signing a two-year scholarship deal last month.

He doesn’t turn 17 until next March, so the chances of him becoming a first-team starter any time soon look slim, but given his rapid rise you’d expect to see him feature in the cups at least this season.

Arsenal's Ethan Nwaneri in action during a friendly match at Emirates Stadium, London

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Myles Lewis-Skelly

It was Lewis-Skelly’s last-minute header that sent Jack Wilshere’s young Gunners through to the FA Youth Cup final last season.

The 16-year-old midfielder has been praised for his versatility, having also slotted in at left-back, and was one of the stars of the Under-18s side that made it to the Emirates Stadium final last term.

He signed a scholarship deal midway through his eye-catching campaign at youth level and if he progresses as expected, he’ll surely be offered a first professional contract in the coming years.

Omari Benjamin

It wasn’t to be for Wilshere’s Under-18s in the Youth Cup final, bested 5-1 on the day by an excellent West Ham side, but Benjamin did put Arsenal ahead in the opening stages.

The Welsh forward, 17, has been wildly prolific at youth level. His strike in the final was his third goal in Arsenal’s Youth Cup run, while he also notched 11 goals in 16 appearances in the Under-18s Premier League.

“Given that I’m a forward, my playing style is attacking, but I do like to entertain the audience by beating players with skill,” Benjamin told Arsenal’s official website back in January. 

“I love scoring goals – it’s an art that I’ve had since  I was young and that has never left me.”

Confident lad.

Amario Cozier-Duberry

“Amario is very exciting and Mikel likes him,” Wilshere told The Athletic back in April.

“He reminds me of Bukayo Saka, plays in the same position as him, needs to get better with his decision-making like Bukayo did, but he’s definitely exciting. In some moments he’s unplayable.

“You give him the ball and he can make things happen. You can set up a team and have a game plan, but when you’ve got individuals like that you’ve got a chance.”

Cozier-Duberry was the only academy starlet picked by Arteta to travel with the Gunners’ senior squad for the pre-season tour of the United States. That might tell us a thing or two about where the 18-year-old winger finds himself in the pecking order.

He’s yet to make his competitive first-team debut, but appears just a matter of time.

Reuell Walters

South London has produced a ridiculous number of exceptional footballers in recent years and the talent well shows no sign of drying up.

Peckham’s Reuell Walters might be the next player to cross the divide and shine north of the river for Arsenal, following in the footsteps of Ian Wright and – more recently – Declan Rice.

The boyhood Arsenal fan had previously spent four years in Tottenham’s academy and an early move to Manchester United broke down, before he joined the Gunners as an Under-16 back in 2020.

Last season the 18-year-old right-back made 23 appearances at youth level for Arsenal, started in the FA Youth Cup final, and was a regular in the Premier League 2.

He made one step closer to first-team action by featuring in Arsenal’s first pre-season friendly of the summer, a 1-1 draw with Nurnberg in which Arteta rotated his senior stars for his emerging Hale Enders.

Michal Rosiak

One of the absolute standouts of Arsenal’s excellent Under-18 side was Poland youth international Rosiak.

He scored a last-minute winner in the quarter-finals of Arsenal’s Youth Cup run before netting an exceptional free-kick against Manchester City in the semis.

The 17-year-old is a right-back but offers as much as a winger going forward. Last term he notched seven goals and seven assists in just 16 appearances for the Under-18s.

“Signing my first professional contract for Arsenal means everything to me, it’s pretty amazing,” he said after putting pen to paper back in April.

“Playing for the club I’ve always loved and watched growing up, hopefully it will be the first of many contracts. I want to win major trophies with the club.

“I’ve been here since under-12s, and the journey since then has had lots of ups and downs. I’ve had major injuries, but there have been lots of highs too.”

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