One of Arsenal’s strengths over the years has been its youth system, and while 17-year-old Jeff Reine-Adelaide only arrived at The Emirates in May, Arsene Wenger wants his new youngster to get time in a Gunners uniform.
Wenger confirmed following the French midfielder’s Arsenal debut in a friendly against Wolfsburg that he would keep his new player within the system, to play with the U-21 side unless he warranted a surprise call-up.
“He will definitely be here,” Wenger said after the match. “He is 17 years old and looks very promising, but he needs to work with us now for a year with the first team, to play with the U21s and develop. There is a fantastic potential there and he will stay with us.”
Wenger was asked if Reine-Adelaide has the opportunity to get time with the senior squad, and while he gave little away, the Arsenal manager did give his assessment of his promising youngster.
“I don’t know,” Wenger said of Reine-Adelaide’s chances of making the first team.. “Honestly, I don’t know. But for me it was a good opportunity to watch him today.”
“In some situations, of course, he has the game of a 17 year old, but on the other hand he has shown great potential as well. He looks very advanced physically and I’m sure that he has learnt a lot from these two days.”
Reine-Adelaide came over from cash-strapped Ligue 1 side Lens in a $2.7 million deal confirmed in May and completed at the expiry of his old contract in July. He came along with fellow French youth Yassin Fortune in the transfer. Both players are graduates of the well-known Lens academy that boasts recent graduates of Raphael Varane, Geoffrey Kondogbia, and Serge Aurier.