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5 of the most promising young guns but who will star in 2014?

Gnabry Arsenal NextGen V CSKA

Arsenal are noted for their flourishing youth academy, whether they get promoted or transfer elsewhere, so who are the next stars?

Alex Iowbi - Forward - 17

The Lagos-born teenager is comfortable playing a multitude of positions in the forward region and is capped at international level with the England Under-16s.

He is renowned for his pace, physical strength and his shooting accuracy and is a second-generation footballer as his uncle is Premier League icon Jay-Jay Okocha, whom he practiced with in back-gardens kicking a ball around when he was a pre-teen and his relative was one of the most noted African footballers.

Gedion Zelalem - Midfield - 16

In past reports, The Telegraph quote Arsenal insiders to have likened Zelalem to former Arsenal superstar Cesc Fabregas, himself a first-team debutant at 16-years-old. The Gunners tackle Tottenham Hotspur in the third round of the FA Cup tomorrow, Saturday, and there is an apparent expectation that he may feature.

What better way to announce yourself than produce a starring role against your side's most fierce rivals?

Zelalem remains grounded despite being heralded as the jewel in the academy crown. He is a technically-exquisite midfielder who possesses the ability to create, who can dictate play, pull strings and produce defence-splitting passes.

While Arsenal have Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere vying for the number 10 role, Zelalem is most comfortable 'in the hole'.

Dan Crowley - Midfield - 16

One of the most recent additions to the Arsenal youth set-up is Crowley, who took hardly any time to impress one of the most lauded academy graduates Jack Wilshere.

Crowley has been known in football circles since he was 12-years-old representing Aston Villa, four years ahead of his time, playing for the Under-16 team. He is capable in midfield, but most comfortable in a central attacking role.

Unlike Zelalem, though, he will unlikely break through this year but will certainly be one to watch in the youth league…

Serge Gnaby - Winger - 18

Already on the fringes of the senior selection, Gnabry transferred to N5 from Stuttgart in 2011, secured a professional contract the following year and featured as a substitute against Coventry City in the League Cup that same season.

Manager Arsene Wenger is particularly fond of the right-sided forward, stating on the club's official website that 'he has technical ability, power, pace and finishing quality but can give a final ball. He will be a great player for Arsenal.'

Gnabry has featured in a plethora of competitive and non-competitive matches this season, from the Premier League, to U21 division, a two minute Champions League cameo to a UEFA Youth League starring performance, two hours in the League Cup and five international appearances at junior level.

In those 15 appearances, he has scored eight goals and assisted six times, a strike efficiency rate of a goal/assist every 71 minutes.

Joel Campbell - Forward - 21

Currently on loan to Olympiacos, Joel Campbell is currently a remarkable success story. Over a year ago, Wenger challenged Campbell to produce consistency and, much to the Greek Super League club's delight, that is precisely what he is displaying right now.

In 16 appearances in the league for Olympiacos, the Costa Rican right forward has returned six goals and nine assists; a strike efficiency of one goal/assist every 71 minutes. On current form, he will unlikely receive another loan spell away from Emirates Stadium, as Wenger would presumably like to assess him during the pre-season ahead of the 2014/15 campaign, with League Cup appearances a possibility in his near future.

image: © NextGen

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