Is it make-or-break time yet for Arsenal U21's striker?

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Benik Afobe struck the winner to send the Gunners through to the Under-21 Premier League semi-final at the expense of Chelsea but faces an uncertain future.

Nico Yennaris became the latest Arsenal youngster to seal a move away from the club after finding one too many obstacles en route to the Gunners first-team after joining Brentford permanently yesterday.

The likes of Craig Eastmond and Anthony Jeffrey, who had both appeared frequently at under-21 level for the club have been forced to seek pastures new in recent times and there are suspicions the club are worried about their latest crop of youth players, and whether they will be able to make the step up.

Gedion Zelalem has been touted as the best player in the Gunners' academy since a certain Cesc Fabregas, while Hector Bellerin is tipped for big things but there is a paucity of options in comparison to years gone by on offer to Wenger from the club's own resources. 

Benik Afobe, goalscorer of his side's goal to send the Arsenal through to the semi-finals of the under-21's Premier League, is a particular enigma in this regard. The 20-year-old has appeared on the fringes of a breakthrough for years, but has never quite made the cut, owing to a series of injuries and loss of form as a result.

A plethora of loan moves have hardly helped for continuity and his most prosperous spell away from north London came at Huddersfield under Lee Clark, where he scored eight goals and provided an impressive 10 assists for the Terriers during a campaign where the club narrowly missed out on promotion from League One.

Afobe was surreptitiously whispered as the next big thing after a remarkable goalscoring run through the various academy sides. He scored a staggering 40 goals for the under-16's in 2007-2008 before 11 in 13 in 2008-2009 before 21 in 24 for the under-18 side.

Understandably, expectations were raised after being voted the under-18 player of the season, but since then things have not gone according to the script. Afobe's first-team debut - against Thierry Henry's New York Red Bulls - was an encouraging one until breaking down with a groin injury which would curtail his progress.

Subsquent loan deals at Reading, Bolton Wanderers and Millwall would not do the trick either, with the latter having to cancel the deal after a knee injury, for which he would undergo surgery.

Having made his return, Afobe has reached a crossroads in his career, with his path to the first team blocked by the likes of Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo, yet to mention No.1 choice Olivier Giroud or an auxiliary forward should Arsene Wenger decide to make his move in the final throes of the transfer window.

The killer touch showed for his goal yesterday evening makes Afobe an attractive proposition for Championship outfits, but time is running out to make the desired impact everyone envisaged when he first broke onto the scene at Arsenal.

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