Where are they now? The Arsenal starlets let go under Mikel Arteta amid Copa America call-up

Marcelo Flores was an exciting prospect for Arsenal who is now part of Mexico's Copa America squad
-Credit: (Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has been scrutinised for how he has handled some of the youth talents coming through the Arsenal academy. Suggestions more minutes should be allowed whilst the Spaniard tackles the gauntlet of competing with Manchester City for the Premier League title.

It is tough however and as a result, many youngsters have decided to leave the club on permanent transfers and free deals. With that in mind, have decided to look back over some of the most notable names, and some you have probably forgotten, to see where they’ve ended up.

From Marcelo Flores to Omari Hutchinson, there are a variety of stories to tell. Some continue to play even at the senior international level and others remain locked in a battle to play senior football altogether.

Omari Hutchinson

One of the most notable players to come through the academy but leave under Mikel Arteta is Omari Hutchinson. He re-signed for Chelsea after failing to agree a new contract with the Gunners having made a number of appearances on the bench for the Spaniard but failing to make a competitive debut – sound familiar?

Many failed to understand the return to west London where while making a senior debut for the Blues, he has still been unable to establish himself. A loan to Ipswich Town however was very successful and this summer remains a big one for the attacking midfielder and senior Jamaican international as to whether he is sold or kept with many supporters hoping he’s given a chance by Enzo Maresca.

Jordi Osei-Tutu

Much was thought of the young attacking full-back. At one time he was seen as a potential long-term replacement for Hector Bellerin by some watching his performances while away on loan with VfL Bochum.

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However, as is the case with many youngsters who fail to show enough to make it his chances were stifled by injury and he missed huge portions of critical seasons with multiple loans. He signed for Bochum again on a permanent basis in 2022 and has since joined Greek side PAS Giannina.

Daniel Ballard

Some thought the physical centre-half might manage to earn some senior minutes following two strong spells on loan with Blackpool – who he helped earn promotion to the Championship – and Millwall. However it wasn’t to be and he ended up earning the club a couple of million when he signed for Sunderland on a permanent deal.

He has remained in the northeast since and has made more than 60 appearances for the Black Cats. He also continues his international career with Northern Ireland who he has earned 18 caps for.

Harry Clarke

Certainly a player who has gone on to enjoy plenty of success since leaving Arsenal. Harry Clarke, like Ballard, is another defender who has played in both Scotland and the Championship and gained valuable experience on loan with Hibernian and then Stoke City.

He was sold to Ipswich Town and could face his old side next season after making 35 league appearances as the East Anglian club earned promotion to the Premier League. He signed for what is understood to be a seven-figure fee but further details on the deal have remained unknown.

Lino Sousa

There was quite a stir among Arsenal fans when Lino Sousa left to join Aston Villa during the January transfer window. Sousa was one of the most appreciated members of Mehmet Ali’s squad but decided to return to the West Midlands having joined the Gunners from West Bromwich Albion only two years prior.

He joined Plymouth Argyle on loan but despite Arsenal critics highlighting that the move was what Arsenal should have done, he struggled to get regular starts for the Championship side. He has since returned to Villa and it is unclear whether a Premier League pathway yet exists.

Ben Cottrell

One of the players Mikel Arteta did give a debut to during their Europa League forays early during his tenure. Alongside Folarin Balogun and Miguel Azeez – two other players who have since departed – Cottrell earned a place in the squad for a handful of games and made an appearance against Dundalk.

He left in 2023 and joined NS Mura on a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee. He made 12 appearances last season for the Slovenian club as he gets to grips with senior football abroad.

Matt Smith

Remember the player who earned himself an FA Cup medal after being on the bench for the 2020 final? That man was Matt Smith who was considered one of the best talents in the under-21 team before leaving the club in the summer of last year on a free transfer.

He joined struggling Wigan Athletic where he chipped in with a goal and three assists during 30 appearances as they finished 12th in the table. Hopefully, Smith can continue to progress and make an impact in the lower tiers.

Marcelo Flores

The exciting Mexican was considered another top talent in the academy and made headlines when he was called up to play for his national side’s senior team during some friendlies and the CONCACAF Nations League. He made three appearances, his first coming at just 18 without any hint of a senior Arsenal match coming down the pipeline.

He left Arsenal for a fee less than £1million last summer and joined Tigres UNAL is his home country. He has scored seven goals and got an assist in 29 appearances and is currently with the Mexican side again at this summer’s Copa America.