One of our few rays of optimism to latch onto has been our academy talent.
Last season saw us fall short on both fronts – win silverware and regain our Champions League status – by the most agonising of margins, yet there were a few things to be optimistic about over the course of the season – and in our latest bout of pre-season friendlies.
Our youngsters have risen to the fore and taken their chances. Some have had the extra hurdle of a loan spell, some have grabbed the first chance they got with the first team, while some geared themselves up for that very chance as they earned rave reviews in the various Academy sides.
One of those latter players was a certain Xavier Amaechi, and after failing to earn a shot with Unai Emery, the kid has opted for a better chance of first team football, joining Hamburg on a permanent deal.
The hype surrounding Amaechi is real, and the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich were very interested to acquire his talents. Amaechi, if he continued his trajectory, was destined for our first team.
He just wanted it sooner than we had given it to him.
Moving to the second tier of German football while turning down offers from the likes of Barca and Bayern shows the ambition of Amaechi. He wants to play and start his career, and at Hamburg, he will get the chance he craves.
We meanwhile, will miss out on seeing Amaechi flower at Arsenal.
This situation is eerily similar to the departure of Chris Willock two years ago. Jo’s older brother left Arsenal to earn first team minutes with Benfica and their reserve side.
Xavier has signed a four year deal with the German side, and the fee is around £2.5m with add-ons, and a sell-on clause has been inserted – but no matter what monetary gains we get from the sale and further sales, we are still missing out on seeing this young winger in Arsenal colours.
At Arsenal since 2013 but yet to make his debut, it was the promises of Hamburg that he would be a regular starter on the flanks that swayed Amaechi’s head and caused him to turn down an extension to his deal, which was due to run out next year.
We may have the likes of Tyreece John-Jules, Eddie Nketiah, Jo Willock and Emile Smith-Rowe at the club leading the way, but Amaechi could have been yet another Arsenal Academy graduate lighting the pitch up in our colours.
Instead, he will do so on foreign shores to fuel his ambition.
Good luck Xavier