Arsenal Transfer Prospects: The Top 10 Teenagers on Wenger's Radar
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could quite possibly be considered one of the best managers in the history of world football in his ability to unearth teenage talent and create superstars. The Frenchman established and developed the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy, Nicholas Anelka, Kolo Toure and Alexandre Song to name a few, who are all regarded as some of the strongest players in Europe.
Furthermore the Frenchman currently has the likes of exciting teenagers Ryo Miyaichi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chuks Aneke and Benik Afobe at his disposal, all touted as the next stars of the English Premier League. Wenger has scouts situated worldwide analysing every promising pubescent child before seriously and critically analysing them himself.
With his firm belief that youth is one of the best and most exciting ways to success, the Gunners' are routinely linked with exciting teenagers and Wenger is destined to extend his "arsenal" of teenage talent in the coming months. But just who is next on the Arsenal manager's list?
Whether it is from another club or just some baby faced unknown starlet, Arsene Wenger knows who he wants and will do all in his power to acquire the next big thing in world football. Here are the top ten teenagers on Wenger's radar.
10. Ben Dunk, Brighton & Holve Albion
Tom Dulat/Getty Images
The giant 19-year-old has thrived in the academy and youth team of Championship side Brighton & Holve Albion before last season making the transition to the Seagulls first team, amassing eight appearances. This season Dunk has greatly impressed following Brighton's promotion to the Championship and has established himself as a first choice defender at Falmer Stadium.
A strong, quick, powerful centre half, the Englishman is dominant in the air and has exhibited great leadership, composure and maturity in recent weeks. A number of clubs are interested in the talented teen with the Daily Mail reporting Arsene Wenger's strong interest.
9. Elliott Hewitt, Macclesfield Town
Hewitt is just a 17 years old yet has represented Wales at the international level despite just five appearances for League Two outfit Macclesfield Town. The achievement speaks wonders of the young gun's talent and it is no surprise the defender is rapidly becoming one of the most chased prospects in England.
A tough, versatile and quick defender, who has thrived at right back this season, The Silkmen manager Gary Simpson admitted the degree of difficulty it would be to maintain the Welshman.
“If there is a better right-back in the bottom two divisions as we speak I haven’t seen one. He’s absolutely unbelievable to say he’s only just 17. Whether we can hang onto him I very much doubt. All the big boys are hovering.”
Just Arsenal News reported that Wenger is one of the favourites for Hewitt and could land the 17-year-old for just £1.5 million.
8. Francisco 'Paco' Alcácer, Valencia CF
The 18-year-old has shone in Valencia's renowned youth academy and according to ESPN Star Sport has attracted serious interest from both Barcelona and Arsenal. The small, efficient and devastatingly quick striker has greatly impressed with both his finishing and strength.
Alcacer has a contract with Valencia that expires in 2013 and although the Spanish giants are eager to sign the forward on a long term contract, his inability to resign could result in a departure.
7. Matt Lecointe, Plymouth Argyle
The 16-year-old has emerged onto the Football League Two scene this season and has made an immediate impact with Plymouth Argyle, amassing 11 appearances and one goal. At such a tender age, Lecointe has impressed with his speed and attacking prowess along with a vicious strike. Caretaker manager Carl Fletcher has likened the teenager to current Arsenal starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
6. Enzo Zidane, Real Madrid
The 15-year-old is the son of former France star and world football legend Zinedine Zidane and is currently starring with Spanish giants Real Madrid in their youth academy. Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has touted the midfielder as a player with huge potential and Zidane has been invited to train with the first team this season.
Arsene Wenger has long been chasing the teenager and is keeping a close watch on his development.
5. M'Baye Niang, Caen
The 16-year-old has been described as the best ever teenager French outfit Caen has ever seen. The giant striker joined as a 13-year-old and after excelling with youth and reserve sides, made his first team debut last season.
Niang has since has 16 appearances and four goals for the Ligue 1 outfit and has become an integral part of Caen's first team. A powerful and strong striker who is clever and shows glistening technique and aerial dominance, Niang has caught the eye of a number of clubs. Givemefootball reported that Arsene Wenger is very intersted.
4. Ousmane Drame, Padova
SkySports announced Arsenal have made a direct approach for exciting winger Ousmane Drame, who has excelled in recent months in the Italian Serie B with Padova. The 19-year-old is a quick, skilfull and tenacious winger who has amassed 20 appearances and one goal since 2011.
The Frenchman is set to remain at Padova until the end of the season but the Gunners are eager to secure Drame as the likes of Fiorentina and Palmero are also beginning to show interest.
3. Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace
Julian Finney/Getty Images
The Ivory Coast-born striker has been in such glistening form in 2011/2012 with Championship side Crystal Palace that even Barcelona have been rumoured to have taken an interest. A versatile, skillful forward, the 18-year-old boomed onto the English scene last season with 43 appearances and one goal and has already amassed 16 appearances, five goals and five assists this season.
Fanatix reported that Liverpool and Arsenal are showing the most interest, having tracked Zaha for sometime now.
2. Ahmed Musa, VVV-Venlo
Getty Images/Getty Images
CrunchSports have reported that Arsene Wenger is eager to secure 19-year-old winger Ahmed Musa from Dutch outfit VVV-Venlo. Musa is a devastatingly quick, balanced attacker who is blessed with a vicious shot and an impressive eye for goal. The Nigerian has amassed 29 appearances and eight goals in the Eredivisie and has emerged as a regular for the Nigerian national squad.
Arsene Wenger is eager to secure a January move for the teenager but Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 are also showing strong interest.
1. Mario Gotze, Borussia Dortmund
Ian Walton/Getty Images
The 19-year-old is considered one of the best play makers in Europe following a stellar 2010/2011 of 41 appearances and eight goals as Borussia Dortmund achieved the German Bundesliga. A smart, incisive and creative playmaker, Arsene Wenger saw Gotze as the ideal replacement for Cesc Fabregas, following his summer departure.
Wenger will receive even more first hand evidence of the German international when the Gunners encounter Borussia Dortmund in their UEFA Champions League Group F. CrunchSports announced Wenger is still immensely eager to sign Gotze and is prepared to offer cash plus striker Marouane Chamakh.