Arsenal allow Benik Afobe to continue his development at Bolton

Arsenal allow Benik Afobe to continue his development at Bolton

Arsène Wenger has once again entrusted Owen Coyle with the development of one of his top prospects, after allowing Benik Afobe to move to Bolton on loan.

Arsenal have accepted loan offers from both Millwall and Bolton for the 19-year-old, and Afobe has opted to move to the latter, after Wenger gave the switch his blessing earlier this week.

Afobe, who has also spent time on-loan with Huddersfield Town and then Reading, had been promised a fringe role in Wenger’s first-team setup next season, but will snub that opportunity to ramp up his development under Coyle’s tutelage.

A powerful, strong and hard working striker, Afobe has been chased by a number of clubs ranging from the lower half of the Premier League, to his former hunting ground of League One, but he will move to Bolton after they gave him guarantees over playing time.

It’s a smart decision from a kid who is clearly switched on, and proactive in his own personal development. Afobe follows close friends Jack Wilshere and more recently Ryo Miyaichi, in sparkling at one of the best finishing schools in England – the Bolton first-team.

The details are expected to be made public before the weekend.

Fights, crimes and spats; the tale of Arsenal’s Pedro Botelho

Fights, crimes and spats; the tale of Arsenal’s Pedro Botelho

Pedro Botelho departed Arsenal this week in the same way in which he arrived – as a virtual unknown, with serious question marks over his commitment and attitude.

Botelho signed for Arsenal five years ago, joining from Brazilian Série A side Figueirense, after the club had lost out on another South American flyer – Ángel di María. An outlandish character from the streets of party town Salvador, Pedro had been a beach footballer until six month previously, but had finally got his big break.

His tale is one which Arsenal have, and will, learn from. Five years on loan, no first-team appearances, little support and then allowed to return to Brazil for a nominal fee – he was very much an expensive experiment that went badly wrong.

Botelho arrived in England with little hope of a work permit, and was immediately loaned to Spanish Segunda side Salamanca, as part of a link the two clubs enjoyed. But due to FIFA regulations, he couldn’t even be registered to play for six months, and when he did, failed to break into the lineup.

A second season brought more expectation, but despite a number of promising performances, Botelho’s party boy life style slowly took over. He skipped English lessons arranged by Arsenal, training with Salamanca to take his friends to watch Real Madrid, and was eventually kicked out of the club for smashing the vice-presidents car, in a moment of anger.

Celta Vigo came calling a year later, but that deal too ended up in divorce, after Botelho threatened the manager, following a disagreement over a substitution. He moved onto Cartagena, where under the guidance of former Gunner Pascal Cygan, the tide began to turn.

Botelho played some of his best football yet at Cartagena, but turned down the opportunity to stay, to move to La Liga side Rayo Vallecano last summer. Arsenal backed it, but his time in Spain was about to turn sour, once again. Rayo cancelled the loan deal in January, when the player was arrested for a hit and run incident whilst drunk.

He was clearly out of control.

Botelho finished the season with Levante, but Arsenal were eventually fed up. They opted against trying to earn him a work permit, and having had to subsidise his wages during all of his loan moves, eventually accepted a nominal fee from Atlético Paranaense last week.

Now 22, Pedro is back at square one. His story is one of disappointment – a talent who, left to his own devices, has pressed self destruct on what initially promised to be a bright career.

Girls, partying, fighting, fines and crimes – few fit such a collection into a lifetime.

Loanees: Bendtner & Campbell On Target

Welcome to this weekends loanees watch – Young Guns’ analysis, reports and updates on the progress of the young starlets currently plying their trade away from the Emirates Stadium. You can read all the latest reports below.

Nicklas Bendtner played the full 90 minutes as Sunderland drew 2-2 with West Brom. Bendtner proved integral in rescuing a point after Sunderland went 2-0 down within the first five minutes. The Danish striker lashed home from just inside the box for 2-1, before his left wing cross was headed home by Ahmed Elmohamady to make it 2-2.

Kyle Bartley missed Rangers’ 1-0 win over Hibernian as he continues to receive treatment on a long standing groin problem

Henri Lansbury played the full 90 minutes as West Ham drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace. Fellow Arsenal loanee Manuel Almunia also started, and was forced to pick the ball out of his net within eight minutes. Lansbury turned in a combative display in midfield, and could have scored on several occasions, including two close range headers.

James Shea was not included in the Dagenham & Redbridge squad that beat Crewe 2-1.

Joel Campbell played the full 90 minutes as Lorient beat Valenciennes 2-0. Campbell, on his first start for the club, bagged the opener in the 22nd minute, turning home from close range. Joel was also involved in the build up to Lorient’s second goal, scored by Yann Jouffre.

Carlos Vela was not included in the Real Sociedad squad that lost 2-1 with Athletic Bilbao.

Wellington Silva was not included in the Levante squad that faced Real Betis.

Pedro Botelho played the full 90 minutes as Rayo Vallecano drew 1-1 with Racing Santander. The Brazilian turned in a good shift out wide, but was lucky to remain on the pitch after a dangerous tackle with 10 minutes remaining.

Samuel Galindo came off the bench to play the final 16 minutes of Gimnàstic’s 3-2 defeat to Villarreal B. Galindo, who picked up an injury last week, was thrown on in an attempt to grab an equaliser, but struggled to get involved.