Arsenal are famed for their recurring youth project producing some of the hottest talents in the Premier League, with the Gunners academy one of the best rated in Europe.
However, they may not have had the bragging rights on their latest prized possession Alex Iwobi, as the midfielder recently revealed he was nearly released during his early years.
Featuring as a regular in the first team towards the end of the season, the 20-year-old has followed in the footsteps of Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Wojciech Szczesny.
Due to his increase in appearances, Iwobi was soon called up to the Nigeria squad and has since made his international debut in time for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2017.
But that could have all been taken away if he hadn’t pushed on and worked hard during a difficult time in his youth career according to the youngster who spoke to Arsenal Magazine.
Well, I was on trial at six and I think I was eight when I signed.
I nearly got released when I was 13 or 14, so back then I really didn’t think I would make it here.
There was a stage when I wasn’t playing up above my age group, but all the better players were.
I questioned myself a lot at that age about whether I was good enough, but I eventually got through it.
The form of both Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain paved the way for Iwobi to break out into the first team and pull doubt over Wenger’s desire to buy new wingers this summer.
Iwobi recently inherited the number 17 shirt from Alexis Sanchez, and has his mind set on picking up from where he left off when it comes to matters on the pitch.
I always want to play as many games as I can. But now I have got a couple of goals this season, I suppose I want to better that.
I just hope I get the chance again next season, because I’m sure there will be more players, so I will have to earn my spot again.