Where are they now? 3 youngsters making inroads away from Arsenal
In our latest feature Gooner Talk take a look at a selection of former Arsenal youngsters who were considered the ‘next big thing’ – and what they’re up to now.
Many players have departed Emirates Stadium without making their mark on the first team – but a handful are now brimming with confidence plying their trade at some of Europe’s top clubs.
Here are 3 youngsters making inroads away from Arsenal:
Kyle Ebecilio, 19, FC Twente
Ebecilio joined Arsenal from Feyenoord’s renowned academy in 2010. At 16-years-old, the Dutchman was wanted by the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United but turned them both down to play for Arsene Wenger’s side.
A 2011 U17 European Championships winner, Ebecilio won the prestigious Golden Player award at the tournament and went on to score 9 goals in 16 games for Arsenal Reserves the following season.
Capable of playing across the midfield, Ebecilio has been likened to Abou Diaby in terms of his versatility and technical ability.
The 19-year-old departed Arsenal for Dutch outfit FC Twente in the summer due to his lack of first team action.
He’s amassed 3 goals and 1 assist from 19 games in central midfield so far.
Gilles Sunu, 22, Lorient
Sunu joined Arsenal from Châteauroux’s academy in 2007 for a fee in the region of £750,000.
He made his Champions League debut in a 1-0 defeat to Olympiakos in 2009 after replacing Jack Wilshere on 79 minutes but never fully broke into the first team due to Arsenal’s wealth of top class strikers.
A loan spell at Championship side Derby in the 2009/10 season and several long-term injuries meant that Sunu’s Gunners’ career never took off. In August 2011, Sunu signed a 4-year contract with Lorient just thee days after Arsenal’s damaging 8-2 defeat to Manchester United.
Joel Campbell and Francis Coquelin are two players who have been on loan at the Brittany-based club in recent seasons, while former striker Jérémie Aliadière continues to take Ligue 1 by storm having scored 19 goals last season.
Sunu almost joined Ligue 2 side Brest on loan last week and is hopeful of adding to his 10 appearances for the season during the coming months.
Nacer Barazite, 23, AS Monaco
Skilful, creative and full of promise, Nacer Barazite was always guaranteed to have a fruitful career in football.
The forward, who has been capped at U17, U19, U20 and U21 level for the Netherlands, joined Arsenal in 2006 and was a regular in the U18 and Reserve teams for almost three years.
He made his debut in a League Cup victory over West Brom but a shoulder problem then kept the strong, pacy frontman out of action for four months, denying him the first-team opportunities available to his peers.
Barazite joined Rangers on trial in 2010 before signing for Dutch cub Vitesse on loan for the entire 2010/11 season. That deal was terminated in December 2010 and a month later he finally left Arsenal to sign a permanent contract with Austria Wien.
After becoming a regular in the first team, Barazite was signed by moneybags AS Monaco in January 2012 for £3.6million.