Arsenal are increasingly worried about the prospect of losing one of their most promising young players, Xavier Amaechi, after he was left out of the Europa League final squad.
The 18-year-old is widely regarded as a future first-team player and the latest talent off Arsenal’s conveyor belt of young starlets, netting four times and laying on five assists in 14 outings for the Under-21s.
He travelled with the squad to Baku for the Europa League final against Chelsea last Wednesday – which the Gunners lost 4-1 – but did not make the expanded 12-man bench.
According to Football.London, that did not go down at all well with Amaechi, with the youngster particularly annoyed with Unai Emery’s decision to list goalkeeper Dejan Iliev ahead of him – even though Bernd Leno was already on the bench.
He was the only player in the travelling party not to be included, and it is likely to cause problems in Arsenal’s negotiations to get the teenager to sign a new deal.
His current contract expires at the end of next season but he has been stalling on talks over a renewal and is considering leaving the Emirates to further his development.
Arsenal are conscious of a number of clubs circling around Amaechi, notably Bayern Munich – who have restarted their hunt for British talent afresh after Callum Hudson-Odoi’s injury.
There will be pressure on Emery to give Amaechi a shot in the first team over pre-season this summer, and the campaign that follows, or risk him leaving for nothing when his contract expires.
Arsenal have lost other promising talents in recent years, such as Chris Willock and Marcus McGuane to Benfica and Barcelona respectively, and would expect a decent fee should any club try to prise Amaechi away this summer.