Following the recent cry for new additions on the wings, the Arsenal youth system has a plethora of ability in all aspects of midfield. The likes of Miguel Azeez who plays defensive-midfield, and also further up the pitch with the likes of Charlie Patino, Cirjan Catalin, James Olaykina, Emile Smith-Rowe and Ben Cottrell who are more central. But on the wing, Arsenal seem to have gotten ahold of what seems to be a gem – former Ajax winger Joel Ideho.
The Netherlands-born 17-year-old winger started his career in the Eredivisie with Willem-II, but after being hunted and scouted by super-club Ajax, he made his move in the summer of 2020 for a reported fee of around £50,000. After being signed for Ajax, he was on display only 4 times, where he scored 2 and assisted 2 – a very good return for the 17-year-old winger including a wonder goal in the UEFA Youth League for Ajax against FC Midtjylland.
Playing on both wings, Ideho is known for his trickery, off-the-ball movement, vision, pace and accuracy. While recognizing the weakness of the squad, often playing central midfielders out on the flank in recent matches due to lack of wingers, Joel Ideho will look to slot into the flanks as soon as possible and work his way into the first team. Ideho made the majority of his appearances for Ajax on the right while swapping wings when needed.
Having only moved to Ajax in July, Joel’s move to Arsenal so soon raised a few eyebrows, but Arsenal were clearly keen to bring him in. The Ajax development scene is undisputedly one of the best in the world, producing quality like Frenkie De Jong, Matthijs De Ligt and Donny Van de Beek, who would all go on to play for the powerhouses of Europe and be replaced immediately by equally talented and upcoming stars. Ryan Gravenberch, Perr Schuurs and Antony have already cemented places in the starting lineup for Ajax – should they decide to move on, Ajax have a lot more talent ready to burst on the scene when the time comes.
Idaho’s agent shone some light on the sudden move to Arsenal recently saying that he was disappointed in Joel choosing to swap the pro-development at Ajax for Arsenal. But Ideho had the eagerness to become professional and sign his professional Ajax contract, something he was denied as the management insisted they’d need to see more of him. Frustrated, Ideho was picked up by Arsenal on deadline day and given a professional contract.
Having seen him come off the bench for 10 minutes to make his only Arsenal appearance to date, he set up a goal and put in a shift on the wing. Cutting inside and causing havoc in the short time he had, demonstrates why Ajax will regret shipping Ideho out.
His desire and work rate come in handy for any side, as teams look for energetic displays from their players. During his brief time at Ajax, he was earmarked as Brazilian-winger Antony’s successor when he decides to leave, with Ideho exhibiting a very similar style of play. But having seen him play, and train with the first-team during the international break, I feel he has a lot to offer and will go on to hopefully break into the first-team and deservingly get minutes.
With Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka no longer playing at youth level, Ideho has a great opportunity to shine, however his move up to the first-team needs to be taken slowly and one step at a time. Already looking a great buy, Steve Bould will be looking to ease him in, but I already believe he has what it take to start week-in week-out and make an impression.
Ajax’s regret at selling him is visible, now Arsenal need to take advantage of the coup and do what it takes to develop Joel Ideho to fulfil his potential; the rest is down to Ideho.
An article by Ibrahim from @HaleEndArsenal.