sport news How Arsenal are producing the next generation of young Gunners amid Nketiah and ...

When Arsenal were picking a loan spell for Eddie Nketiah in the summer, the process went above and beyond what any club had done for a young player before.

The truth is that Arsenal have long had some of the most wanted kids in England. They have a reputation for developing them, and it is not just Nketiah who people have been watching. When his name cropped up, though, teams moved quickly. It is why they had to implement a Dragon's Den-style process.

The competing teams — Leeds, Bristol City and Fortuna Dusseldorf — were invited down to Arsenal's Colney training base and asked to pitch on why they deserved one of the more coveted young strikers in Europe.

Eddie Nketiah is one of the more impressive youngsters in the current Arsenal squad

Eddie Nketiah is one of the more impressive youngsters in the current Arsenal squad

Bukayo Saka has also broken into the first team at the Emirates Stadium under Mikel Arteta

Bukayo Saka has also broken into the first team at the Emirates Stadium under Mikel Arteta

Gabriel Martinelli celebrating one of his goals ¿ he has had a huge influence recently

Gabriel Martinelli celebrating one of his goals — he has had a huge influence recently

Each man had to do a presentation. Manager Lee Johnson spoke for Bristol City, while Leeds' director of recruitment Victor Orta went down. It showed how seriously everyone was taking it, and just how in-demand this academy graduate was.

While Nketiah's loan at Leeds did not work out in terms of minutes, it highlights how unsurprising his rise to the first-team is. To a degree, Nketiah is just a symbol of the new generation coming through in that Hertfordshire village.

Nketiah is the man to call if you want goals, but Gabriel Martinelli has also shone in recent months. Bukayo Saka has been the standout star of Mikel Arteta's reign so far. At least some of his young charges will play in the Europa League against Olympiacos on Thursday night, having used the competition to break through.

This crop harkens back to the days when Wenger famously sat down Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson to sign new deals.

An old generation of Arsenal's young stars, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left to right) sit down to sign new contracts

An old generation of Arsenal's young stars, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left to right) sit down to sign new contracts

It speaks for a club that has made savvy recruitment at youth level one of the tent poles of their approach.

Take Nketiah, for example. He was released by Chelsea in 2015 after seven years in their academy. Their outlook was that he was not tall enough.

It took Arsenal just two days to invite him for a trial. They signed him to a scholarship shortly after. 'I don't know what happened at Chelsea,' Arsene Wenger later said. 

'He has scored goals at youth level and sometimes I don't know why they let him go. You see that more and more. Young people travel from one club to another.'

Nketiah was snapped up from Chelsea after they released him and has had his moments

Nketiah was snapped up from Chelsea after they released him and has had his moments

Nketiah has worked his way up the ranks and never been overexposed, despite useful goals at various stages under Wenger and Unai Emery.

He may not have played much at Leeds but it was the perfect club to send him to. Marcelo Bielsa has had a hand in the development of a number of top strikers, including Gabriel Batistuta and Fernando Llorente, and improved elements of Nketiah's game.

The 20-year-old is now starting ahead of £50million man Alexandre Lacazette and bagging crucial goals against the likes of Everton.

Martinelli, meanwhile, was playing for Ituano, who currently compete in Serie C in Brazil, the third tier of the national division.

Martinelli was brought in after impressing in the Copa Sao Paulo for Ituano last year

Martinelli was brought in after impressing in the Copa Sao Paulo for Ituano last year

He appeared on the radar of big sides after scoring six times in four games at the Copa Sao Paulo last year. The competition is the most prestigious for young players in Brazil.

After being called up to the senior side, he then bagged six in 14 to help Ituano to the quarter-finals of the Sao Paulo State Championship, earning a best newcomer award in the process.

It meant he was asked to train with the Brazil senior squad ahead of the Copa America.

Arsenal had scout Everton Gushiken watching him, but they were not the only side keen. Both and Barcelona expressed an interest - as did 25 other teams, according to O Globo. By April, though, they had sealed a deal. 

They promised his dad he would not be loaned out straight away which helped convince him

They promised his dad he would not be loaned out straight away which helped convince

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