Arsenal have excelled on the academy front in recent years, with several high-calibre youngsters earning promotion to the first team and excelling for the Gunners.
Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock have all broken into the senior setup and are shining for Mikel Arteta’s side.
However, there have also been some misses in terms of players moving on from the Emirates Stadium and going on to excel elsewhere, Serge Gnabry one of the most high-profile examples.
Now, one player who left Arsenal’s academy last year has already got seven top-flight league appearances for his new side, despite not being 18 yet.
Indeed, he put in an especially impressive display at the weekend that saw him surge into the spotlight.
That player is Yunus Musah, a young midfielder who joined Arsenal’s academy aged 10 and was regarded as one of the brightest prospect at Hale End, as noted in Goal.com.
However, the 17-year-old decided against signing a scholarship in North London and opted to move to continental Europe, hoping senior opportunities would present themselves sooner than they might in England.
Fast-forward just over a year and Musah is now a fixture in the Valencia first team, having made six La Liga starts this season plus a substitute appearance.
Furthermore, his display in Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Getafe saw him score his first goal for Los Che and become their youngest goalscorer this century.
El Desmarque, meanwhile, gave him 8/10 for his display (and they appear to be fairly strict markers, with several 4s and 5s handed to Valencia on the night, and even a 2).
And Antonello Orfeo, club president at Giorgione – Musah’s first club – told Goal.com: “The boy already had something special.
“I dare say he was the classic phenomenon. Those at his age couldn’t compete with him.”
Arguably the biggest plaudit came from Spanish journalist Tomas Roncero, who tweeted that Musah’s goal reminded him of Kylian Mbappe making his Monaco breakthrough.
“Yunus Musah, a star in the making,” he wrote. “A huge goal that reminded me of the first Mbappe we saw when we were 17 years old.”
While Arsenal did try to retain Musah’s services and he chose to leave, should the Gunners have made more of an effort to retain his services, perhaps promising him a clearer pathway to first-team football?