It seems that high-profile French youngster Jeff Reine-Adelaide, whose name has been surrounded by a lot of hype since he moved to the Emirates Stadium last summer, is now officially a first-team player.
The forward was wearing the number 20 shirt as Arsenal began pre-season training today, which means that he could inherit ex-Gunner Mathieu Flamini’s squad number.
The 18-year-old signed a long term deal with Arsenal from Lens along with midfielder Yassin Fortune, and introduced himself to the Emirates crowd at the Emirates Cup against Wolfsburg last summer. The highlight of that game was a spectacular assist which set up Theo Walcott’s match-winner, and it led to the majority of the fanbase calling for Wenger to give the youngster a shot at first-team action.
Their wishes were granted when Reine-Adelaide featured in two of Arsenal’s FA Cup games last season.
Wenger is a big fan of versatile players, and Reine-Adelaide’s ability to play on either wing or in the number 10 role was probably a big factor in his promotion to the first team. He’s also a regular in France’s Under-18 team.
He won’t, however, be the only young star vying for a place in Arsenal’s attack, with the likes of Alex Iwobi and Serge Gnabry already showing maturity, despite the latter’s recent injury concerns. Nevertheless, with other youth players such as Dan Crowley being loaned out, Reine-Adelaide has been presented with a great opportunity. He will be the youngest first team player, and is undoubtedly a big prospect.