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What Mkhitaryan’s exit means for these three Arsenal players

Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s deadline day loan move to Roma opens the doors for three Arsenal youngsters in particular.


Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s deadline day loan move to Roma came as somewhat as a shock to Arsenal fans. While the 30 year old never showed his best performances in North London, he still appeared to be part of Unai Emery’s plans after making a substitute appearance in the North London derby. 

One obvious positive of the Armenian’s exit is the £180,000 per week saved on the wage bill, but more importantly it opens the doors for three Arsenal youngsters in particular.

Reiss Nelson

The player most likely to benefit will be England under-21 winger Reiss Nelson. Showing some glimpses of his high potential on a successful loan spell with Hoffenheim, Nelson will be keen to force his way into Emery’s eleven.

Since been handed a start on the opening day at Newcastle, Nelson has shown moments of what he’ll bring to the team. An out an out winger, he offers pace and directness which may be more valuable than Mkyritarian’s at times languid approach. 

Nevertheless, Nelson will need to prove himself capable of tracking back and working for the team, on top of delivering a high standard of consistency.  It’s a tough ask but one he’ll need to achieve if he hopes to displace Aubameyang, Lacazette or Pepe.

After being named in the Europa League squad, Nelson will most likely find his opportunity in cup competitions and late substitutions but if/when he makes a real impact, there’s no stopping how good he can be.  

Gabriel Martinelli

When Martinelli signed earlier this summer, it was made apparent from the start that he’d be part of the first team squad.

Another player with pace to burn, Martinelli will most likely need some time to adapt to the English game and culture.

Having made the squad in the first two games, Ozil’s return saw Martinelli fall off the bench. However, Mkytarian’s departure should see him reinstated and while he may have to wait a while to be a part of the eleven, at 18 years old the experience will be a learning curve in itself.

And with one less player in the squad, when it comes to resting players, Martinelli will be trusted to show what he can do.

Bukayo Saka 

At only eighteen years old and still too raw for the Premier League, Saka will most likely get his opportunities in the Europa League and cups.

Losing Mkyritarian means that Emery will have one less ageing squad player demanding minutes in those games which could see Saka getting some starts.

Overall, the decision to let Mkyritarian leave is a bold one by the Arsenal board. While he may have been lacking confidence, he’s still a player Emery would have been happy to rely upon. However, it goes to show how much faith the club have in these youngsters. Emery has already shown with Geundozi and Willock that if he believes if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. 

Now it’s up to the youngsters to prove they are. 

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