Arsenal will return to continental football next season in the form of the UEFA Europa League, and the competition will provide many members of the youth squad a chance to earn their first minutes in the senior side.
The Gunners will be looking to win the tournament after coming close on two occasions in their last three participations in the Europa League, and whilst Arsenal’s squad is somewhat thin, players in the U-23 side can make up the numbers.
And as we have seen under Mikel Arteta, the Basque manager is not afraid to start young players, with Arsenal have the 20 youngest starting XI’s out of the entire Premier League last season and the likes of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli being key members of the squad.
So with that in mind, which five academy prospects have the best chance of featuring in the Europa League next season, and who could see their Arsenal career explode in the coming months after stepping into the first-team squad.
With Takehiro Tomiyasu suffering from injuries and Cedric Soares a player who divides opinion, Brooke Norton-Cuffy has the potential to make the right-back spot his own in the Europa League after an impressive second half of the campaign out on loan.
The England youth international joined Lincoln City in January, and since then, Norton-Cuffy has established himself as a talented right-back who could feature for Arsenal at a Europa League level next season, especially if the Gunners are unable to sign a new right-back.
Salah Oulad M’Hand
Salah Oulad M’Hand has arguably been Arsenal’s breakout youth player of the season, with the Dutch youngster impressing at U-23 level and going viral on multiple occasions with his fantastic skills, goals and assists.
Alongside Charlie Patino, the midfielder has arguably the best shot at featuring heavily for Arsenal in the Europa League next season, and Salah feels like a safe bet to be included in the squad for the European competition for the group stage.
When you’re 18-years-old and have played more senior international games than for the first team of your club, you know you’re a special talent, and that’s exactly what Marcelo Flores is for many Arsenal supporters.
Tricky on the ball and dangerous in all areas of the attack, the Mexico prospect is one of the most exciting youngsters coming through at Hale End, and next season will likely see Flores finally make his senior debut for the Arsenal after making the bench on a few occasions.
After the success of Bukayo Saka, looking out for the next superstar winger has captured the imagination of Arsenal fans, and Omari Hutchinson could just be that player, and the Europa League could be the youngster’s grand welcome.
Already called up to Jamaica’s national team in what could be a huge coup for the Reggae Boyz, Hutchinson is ready for the leap to senior football next season, with the winger one of Arsenal’s best-performing players at U-23 level in the previous campaign with eight goals and seven assists.
Folarin Balogun might have been Arsenal’s top goalscorer in Premier League 2, but Mika Biereth is the striker who could find himself in the Europa League squad given his younger age and incredible performances for the Gunners.
Signed from Fulham last summer, Biereth has taken to Arsenal life with flawless ease, and the Europa League could be the perfect opportunity to hand the Danish youth international his first real taste of professional football.