Ethan Nwaneri, the latest talent to come through Hale End, will remain at Arsenal. You may remember him — he’s the academy player who Mikel Arteta made the youngest player in club, Premier League, and English top flight history last season against Brentford. It’s easy and natural to get excited about academy products. Often, they don’t live up to the hype. Nwaneri is that talented. He has the potential to be an impact player for the first team.
His schoolboy registration was set to expire at the end of June, prompting concerns that he might leave North London. There were reports of interest from Manchester City, Chelsea, Newcastle, Liverpool, and elsewhere. Some of those clubs typically offer better pay to academy players (see e.g. Omari Hutchinson leaving Arsenal for Chelsea last season). But it turns out it was much ado about nothing.
The Athletic reports Nwaneri “never had any intention of leaving and turned down more lucrative offers to stay.” Nwaneri grew up in Islington and has been an Arsenal supporter his entire life. He has signed scholarship forms that will keep him at the club until he turns 17 in March 2024, when he can sign a professional contract that has already been agreed.
Even if Nwaneri was never leaving, it probably didn’t hurt that Arsenal brought in the big guns to try to convince Nwaneri to remain at the club — Edu, Mikel Arteta, and Per Mertesacker all spoke with the youngster. The Gunners’ brass reportedly clearly laid out the path, progression, and development needed for him to become a first team player.
Ethan Nwaneri — remember the name.