According to The Sun, Arsenal have lost the services of highly-rated teenage prospect Yunus Musah to Valencia, with the youngster departing the academy ranks in North London to join the Spanish side on a two-year deal.
The Sun understands that the 16-year-old turned down a scholarship deal from the Gunners and embarked on a move to the La Liga outfit in order to further his development in Spain.
The same report suggests that Musah was the subject of interest from several clubs earlier in the summer following his rich vein of form in Arsenal’s youth ranks and despite the Gunners trying to keep the potential suitors at bay, the Englishman eventually slipped out of their hands.
Still very much a future prospect at the tender age of 16, Musah is likely to initially link up with Valencia’s youth sides and then it will be up to him to climb up the ladder in due course of time.
The talented starlet, who accumulated five goals and 3 assists in 17 outings for Arsenal’s U18 side last season, was held in high regard by the youth coaches at the Emirates, with many touting him to make a senior breakthrough in the future.
Indeed, the England U18 international was considered as a player with the potential to go on and play at the highest level and Arsenal might be left to regret his departure if he goes on to fulfil his promise at Valencia in the years to come.
That Musah proved his credentials at the U18 level at the age of 15 last season goes on to speak volumes of his natural talent and it is easy to see why his exit comes as a bitter disappointment to the Gunners, who would have hoped for the 16-year-old to don the jersey at the senior level in the future.
The existence of a clear pathway from the academy ranks to the first team has been one of the hallmarks of Arsenal’s legacy in English football and that has been preserved very well by current manager Unai Emery, who has shown the inclination to hand the youngsters their fair share of opportunities.
The likes of Emile Smith-Rowe, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka all got their chances in the domestic cup competitions and also in the group stages of the Europe League last season. Their performances proving that Emery is not afraid to put his trust in the academy stars.
Moreover, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock have broken into the manager’s plans in the Premier League this term, which is certainly a big honour for the club’s academy.
Musah wasn’t really close to a first-team breakthrough this season but, had he managed to keep up the level that he showed the last term for the next couple of campaigns, the youngster could have possibly given himself a realistic chance of earning recognition at the senior level in English football.
However, now that the 16-year-old has completed a move to Valencia, any potential senior recognition in the future for Musah is going to have to come away from Arsenal.
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While that might leave the Gunners to regret his early exit from the academy, they must be more cautious with their handling of youngsters, particularly those in the academy and not in the first-team picture.