Charlie Nicholas fires warning to Mikel Arteta over use of Arsenal youngsters

Mikel Arteta in an Arsenal Training Session
Arteta is keen on fielding plenty of young players for Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)

Charlie Nicholas has warned Mikel Arteta to avoid overusing Arsenal’s young prospects like Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

The Spanish coach has emphasised the importance of giving game time to young players and even cut short Eddie Nketiah’s loan spell at Leeds United to put him straight into the Gunners first team.

Experienced heads like Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mohamed Elneny have been shipped out on loan to make space for the next generation.

But given the financial impact the coronavirus crisis is likely to have on available funds for new signings, Arsenal legend Nicholas is concerned about the youngsters being given too much responsibility.

‘We’re hanging onto some of the real good talents that we have as youngsters, you know Saka for instance, Martinelli,’ Nicholas told Sky Sports.

‘These type of players that we’ve got, we think they can do a job in the first team now, but we don’t know for how long and how consistent they can be.

‘Of course, the one thing we know as ex-players is you need to get the balance of the youngsters and the guys that are more experienced correct.’

Bukayo Saka in Arsenal Training
Saka has had an incredible debut season for the Gunners (Picture: Getty Images)

Many Premier League clubs are likely to prioritise the signing of free agents, loan deals and swaps in the next window.

One player that has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates is Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser, but the Scotland international is reportedly no longer a ‘priority’ for the Gunners.

In terms of outgoings, top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is yet to agree to an extension on his current deal which expires next summer.

Nicholas believes the club may be better off selling him at the end of the season rather than losing him on a free transfer next year.

‘If Aubameyang decides that a big club come in and he wants to go, because surely by now Arsenal know whether he’s going to sign a contract or not,’ he added.

‘So, if you can get decent money you sell him, it’ll be hard to take but you have to get on with it.’

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