Arsenal are reportedly considering signing two highly talented teenagers, with 16-year-old midfielders Andre Dozzell and Marcelo Allende on the north London club's radar.
Dozzell is currently making people notice at Championship side Ipswich Town.
Chief among the interested parties are Arsenal and local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, according to the People (h/t Alex Wood of the Daily Star): "Dozzell, 16, has yet to make his Tractor Boys debut but leads the England under-17 side. The youngster is viewed as a hot prospect, and both teams will look to boost their midfield options in the summer."
But Dozzell isn't the only midfield prospect drawing interest from the Emirates Stadium. Simon Jones of the Daily Mail (h/t Metro's Tom Olver) recently reported how Arsenal handed Allende a two-week trial and has since been getting the inside scoop on life with the Gunners from star man Alexis Sanchez.
"It’s understood Allende spoke with compatriot Sanchez during this time and the Gunners forward told the youngster to work on his physical strength in order to make it at the top level," Olver wrote.
While neither player would answer an immediate need for manager Arsene Wenger's squad, signing either would reaffirm the Frenchman's commitment to building through youth.
Wenger's philosophy has always centred on giving youth its chance and creating an environment in which potential can grow. To that end, Wenger recently lauded the club's current crop of promising youngsters, per Metro's Jamie Sanderson: "We have a fantastic generation coming. Between 16 and 20 we have a great generation. It’s very exciting for the club."
Sanderson revealed how "Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and Alex Iwobi are among the current first-team players who have come through the academy system."
The latter is developing into a key late-season figure. Iwobi opened his Premier League account in the recent 2-0 away win over Everton and has helped form a fluid front three with Sanchez and Danny Welbeck.
The 19-year-old Nigerian is combining well with his teammates and is also exhibiting the pace to get behind markers and stretch defences.
Iwobi's rise shows the Wenger way at work, specifically how players are given the time to find their best position and emphasise the core attributes of their game.
Joe Mewis of the Daily Mirror recently detailed Iwobi's path to the starting XI: "Iwobi is extremely versatile, having played in every position from full-back to centre-forward as he's worked his way through the ranks at Hale End."
While Iwobi is this season's breakthrough youngster, 21-year-old full-back Hector Bellerin was the emerging star during the last campaign.
Arsenal's commitment to unearthing young gems has been obvious in more than just work in the academy, though. The Gunners have spent money on Polish defender Krystian Bielik and French midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide, while also sealing a deal for Dutch striker Donyell Malen in recent years.
More recently, Wenger completed a transfer for 17-year-old Nigerian midfielder Kelechi Nwakali.
Adding either Dozzell or Allende would continue the makeover of Arsenal's youth setup. It would also represent good future planning in an area of the team set for a necessary overhaul this summer.
Thirty-something trio Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky all face uncertain futures this summer when their current deals run out at the end of the season.
Considering the lengthy histories of Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, there could be even more vacancies in the Arsenal midfield ahead of the new season.
Wenger isn't lining up any immediate impact players, something that may frustrate sections of the club's support. But his search for precocious youngsters could land the Gunners a future star or two.
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