How Arsenal’s 10 wonderkids on FM20 have developed IRL this season

Quick Reads

Arsenal disappointed in the Premier League this season, but they do at least have plenty of talented youngsters to help them build on their FA Cup win – or at least according to Football Manager.

According to FMScout.com‘s list of 650 Wonderkids on FM20, 10 are currently on Arsenal’s books. That’s defined as “players with high potential ability who are not older than 20 years old on July 1, 2019”.

And we’ve taken a closer look at how those players have developed in real life over the 2019-20 season.

William Saliba

Arsenal bought Saliba for £27million in 2019 after a breakthrough season at Saint-Etienne and the 19-year-old was immediately loaned back to the French side.

His season has been marred by injury problems, but the centre-back has still won plenty of plaudits with his impressive performances.

READ: ‘Reminds me of Varane’ – Eight quotes on Arsenal prospect William Saliba

Matteo Guendouzi

After a promising first season at the club, Arsenal fans had high expectations for Guendouzi ahead of 2019-20.

However, a fall out with new boss Mikel Arteta has seemingly ended his Arsenal career, with the midfielder now tipped to leave the club.

Joe Willock

Willock is one of the rising stars to come through the Arsenal academy and signed a new long-term contract at the club in September 2019.

The midfielder has enjoyed a decent campaign during 2019-20, playing 44 games and scoring five goals in all competitions for the Gunners.

Gabriel Martinelli

Arsenal signed Martinelli for just £6million in 2019 and the 18-year-old has been a revelation in his debut campaign in England.

Despite seeing his season cut short by injury, he scored 10 goals in 26 appearances in all competitions, becoming the first teenager to reach double figures in a single season for Arsenal since Nicolas Anelka in 1998-99.

“I began admiring him for his work, mentality, his football, and his desire to learn every day,” team-mate David Luiz said in 2019.

“I’ve had the chance to meet many players, many young talents from several different countries, and Gabi has something different.”

Emile Smith Rowe

Smith Rowe made eight competitive appearances for Arsenal this season, including a first Premier League start at Everton in December.

The 19-year-old then joined Championship side Huddersfield Town on loan in January and registered two goals and two assists in 19 appearances.

Bukayo Saka

One of the biggest winners since Arteta was appointed in December, Saka has become one of Arsenal’s shining stars, and recently committed his future to the club by signing a new long-term contract with the club.

Despite often playing in his less favoured position of left-back, the 18-year-old has been one of Arsenal’s standout performers this season, registering 10 assists in all competitions.

“I’m really enjoying my football under the new manager. It’s not my natural position but he’s given me all the advice I need,” Saka said.

“I’ve learned a lot about how wingers in the Premier League play against defenders and how to position myself because in his system it’s different.”

Reiss Nelson

Having spent last season on loan in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim, Nelson returned to Arsenal and started their first two Premier League games in 2019-20.

However, he has been unable to establish himself as a regular in the first team and the winger made just five more league starts.

Eddie Nketiah

Nketiah joined Leeds United on a season-long loan but was recalled by his parent club in January after starting just two games in the Championship.

The striker impressed Mikel Arteta sufficiently to be heavily involved in his first team upon his return to north London, often starting ahead of Alexandre Lacazette as he struck four times in 17 appearances.

Folarin Balogun

Balogun scored 10 goals and provided four assists for Arsenal in 15 Premier League 2 games this season.

The striker was named on the bench for the League Cup tie against Nottingham Forest, but he is yet to make a first-team appearance and has been tipped to leave the club

READ: ‘This young boy is fire’ – Everything you need to know about Folarin Balogun

Tyreece John-Jules

John-Jules signed a new contract at Arsenal in August 2019 and scored five goals in 12 Premier League 2 appearances before joining Lincoln City on loan in January.

He made seven appearances for the League One side, scoring once in a 1-0 victory over Blackpool, but a foot injury brought his time at the club to an abrupt end.

“When he was with us I was impressed with him, his understanding of the game, how he links with the people around him, how powerful he is. He has got a goal in him.” Arteta said.


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