Five Hale End youngsters to keep an eye on in the 2021/22 season
(L-R) Miguel Azeez, Flo Balogun, and Catalin Cirjan during a training session at London Colney (Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal's academy has seemingly produced a golden generation of talent in the past few years with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Folarin Balogun and Emile Smith Rowe all featuring and impressing for the first-team. 

However the Hale End conveyor belt does not appear to be stopping anytime soon as a number of youngsters coming through the ranks have set their sights on knocking firmly on the first-team door, some of whom have already trained with the senior squad. 

Despite fierce competition for places in the currently bloated Gunners squad, there has been an invariable pathway to the first-team for the most talented crop of up-and-coming players.

With that said, here are five Hale End youngsters to keep an eye on who could well break into Mikel Arteta's side in the 2021/22 season. 

Miguel Azeez

Age: 18 - Position: CM - Certainly the most recognisable name on this list, Miguel Azeez is a well balanced midfielder who is offensively creative as well as possessing an energetic defensive work rate.  

The England international of Nigerian descent arrived at Hale End aged five after rejecting approaches from fellow London clubs Chelsea and West Ham.

Azeez ascended through the youth ranks following impressive displays for the Arsenal U18s and U23s and has since made his senior debut in the Europa League, replacing Joe Willock in the 83rd minute in a comprehensive 4-2 victory away to Irish side Dundalk

Having subsequently featured in first-team training several times, it would be no surprise to see Azeez feature more regularly for the senior side in cup competition before the end of the 2020/21 season.

Catalin Cirjan

Age: 18 - Position: CM/CAM - A relatively new addition to the Arsenal academy is Romanian midfielder Catalin Cirjan, who joined the North London club from Viitorul Domnesti in December 2019.

Cirjan is a versatile prospect who is capable of playing in either central midfield or as an attacking outlet higher up the pitch. The 18-year-old has also been deployed on both wings for the U23 side since his promotion from the U18s in July 2020.

Cirjan has been tipped to have a successful future at the Emirates with Arteta promoting him to first-team training ahead of Arsenal's eventual 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in the EFL Cup quarter-final. Additionally, Cirjan's agent, Catalin Sarmasan, has confirmed that Cirjan will "only train with the seniors" and that the youngster is "confidently awaiting his debut in the Premier League". 

It therefore seems only a matter of time before Cirjan features for the senior side in the 2021/22 season. 

Nikolas Möller

Age: 18 - Position: ST - Despite only turned 18 in July, Nikolas Möller is already a towering and dominant figure standing at 6'4. It is no surprise, therefore, to learn that the attributes in his repertoire include fantastic hold-up and link-up play. 

Möller joined Arsenal's U23 side from Swedish outfit Malmö FF for a fee of £500,000 on transfer deadline day in the 2020 summer window.

It took the Swede just six minutes to score on his debut against Man City and has  registered three goals and an assist in six games for Steve Bould's side so far this season. 

Likened to his compatriot Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Möller has impressed at every age level and has since been invited to first-team training under the watchful eye of Arteta.

Robin Asterhed, currently a youth coach at Malmö, has described Möller as being "really quick and his technical skills were on a totally different level compared to everyone else". 

Charlie Patino

Age: 17 - Position: CM - Another youngster who looks a promising talent is Charlie Patino who joined from Championship side Luton Town in 2015 for £10,000.

Patino has been tipped to be a superstar and captained England's U16 side aged 14 in a game against Spain and even featured for the Arsenal U18 squad against Chelsea.

The dynamic midfielder is a left-footed creator who has been likened to Phil Foden and former Arsenal man Jack Wilshere. The youngster is capable of pulling strings in the midfield and his work rate has been praised by his peers.

Patino's impressive displays have not gone unnoticed, as Arteta called on him to join in first-team training on a number of occasions. If Patino continues his progression, it would be no surprise to see him feature for Arsenal's senior side in the 2021/22 season.

Marcelo Flores

Age: 17 - Position: CAM - Another quick and dynamic playmaker, Marcelo Flores has excited coaching staff at Arsenal since his transfer from League One side Ipswich Town in 2019.

The Canadian-born attacking midfielder has represented Mexico at U16 and U18 level and has been featuring regularly for Arsenal's U18 side in the 2020/21 season, scoring three goals and registering an assist in nine appearances so far. 

Arsenal beat the likes of Barcelona, Man City and Chelsea to secure Flores' signature in 2019 and the Gunners have since repaid the 17-year-old by handing him a five-year deal.

Despite his tender years, Flores has trained with the first-team squad and is rumoured to be on the verge of being handed a contract extension already. 

Flores' father, Ruben, has stated that his son "has a contract for the next two years to play in the U18, but I already have an agreement in which he will sign a professional contract for the next five years with Arsenal", thus exemplifying the hype surrounding the talented playmaker. 

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