Nico Yennaris has barely made a scratch on the first-team this season and at 19-years-old is reaching a vital crossroads in his career. With plenty of competition for places ahead of the versatile player should he consider following in the footsteps of David Bentley, Seb Larsson and Fabrice Muamba?
Arsenal have been producing plenty of top quality young talent over the past few seasons including the likes of Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Wojciech Szczesny. But with the vast competition for places breaking through the ranks as a Gunner can be extremely hard and for some, despite their obvious talent, it is not meant to be.
In the past the likes of David Bentley, Fabrice Muamba and Sebastian Larsson have had to move away from North London in order to sufficiently make the most of their talent and they have all forged out great careers in the Premier League. Now other Arsenal starlets are starting to follow suit with varying degrees of success. Kyle Bartley for instance moved on to Swansea City this summer. The 21-year-old may not be a week-in-week-out starter at the club but he has certainly impressed when featured. Meanwhile perennial loan signing Henri Lansbury finally decided to cut ties with Arsenal after 13 years at the club to join Championship side Nottingham Forest.
So should other players take on the example of those above and get out of Arsenal sooner rather than later?
One player who comes to mind is Nico Yennaris. He signed a new contract in November 2011 but since then has made little progress in terms of first-team football at the club. The 19-year-old has featured just once this season for The Gunners first team; playing in a League Cup thrashing against Coventry City. Captain of the clubs NextGen team he has been training with the first-team squad for much of this season but the utility player still finds first-team opportunities in short shrift.
It could be his positional dexterity that causes the issue. Highly versatile and adept on both feet he has played across the back-line in particular at right back while the heart of midfield remains his favoured position.
While 19 may seem a young age to start considering moving on there is no reason why not when you consider how far away he is from first-team football at the club. His one and only Premier League appearance came as a late substitute for Johan Djourou in January 2012.
His one loan spell away from the club was at Notts County where he was used sparsely so perhaps this gives grievance to the idea of leaving but if he could settle on a favoured position and decided to move away from The Emirates there is little doubt Yennaris could forge himself a strong career and perhaps replicate the success of some of Arsenal’s other early absconders.
Do you think Nico Yennaris should move on from Arsenal early? Does he have a future at The Emirates?
image: © Ras Dam