With five Arsenal first-teamers in their final 12 months of their contracts, we here at allArsenal.com are having a look at the players on the list and the status of their negotiations or lack there of. Next up is Emmanuel Frimpong.
Arsenal Fact File:
Name: Emmanuel Frimpong
Born: January 10, 1992, Ghana
Position: Defensive Midfielder
Previous Club(s): Wolverhampton Wolves (loan)
Joined Arsenal: July 1, 2008 (Professional)
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Total Appearances: 10+6
Total Goals: 0
Total Assists: 0
2013 Expiring contracts: Emmanuel Frimpong [part 5]
Unlike the other players that make up this list, Emmanuel Frimpong, aged 20, is a young up-and-coming player who has not yet reached the peak, or passed the peak, of his career. Discovered by Arsenal at age 9, the Ghanaian defensive midfielder has been brought up in the youth academy alongside fellow midfielder Jack Wilshere and has impressed Arsene Wenger enough to warrant a place in the first-team squad. This is despite a nine month lay-off after suffering an anterior cruciate injury on the 19th of August 2010, although he seemingly impressed enough beforehand in the reserve team, whom he debuted for in 2009, then in Emirates Cup of 2010 and then subsequently after his return from injury impressed in the pre-season of the 2011/12 season.
Despite showing plenty of promise, Frimpong is a player I somewhat liken to the recently departed Henri Lansbury in terms of his ability to make his mark on the first-team. Like Lansbury, Frimpong has shown the promise and the potential to go on and develop into a ‘solid’ player, but some critics doubt his credentials to become a top-class midfielder at the Emirates. His main characteristics that appeal are his tenacity, hunger and passion, although these characteristics have on occasion become his weakness where they can cause him to be too rash on the pitch. This was no better portrayed than in his debut start in the Premier League against Liverpool at the start of the 2011/12 season where he was given his marching orders after a second bookable offence.
While Frimpong did get a small stint playing for the first-team at the start of the 2011/12 in the absence of Alex Song, thereafter the Ghanaian found first-team opportunities hard to come by. To build up some Premier League experience Frimpong was loaned out to Wolverhampton Wolves in the January window of the same season, but unfortunately suffered another cruciate ligament injury which effectively ended his loan spell after only his fifth appearance. After facing a lengthy lay-off yet again, the midfielder has only just recently made his return back to football and has been plying his trade predominantly in the reserves, whilst also making two appearances for the first-team in the League Cup.
His most recent outing against Reading caused some concern given he was paired up with Coquelin in midfield. Coquelin could be considered his rival for the role of the back-up defensive midfielder and with both of our up-and-coming defensive midfielders taking to the pitch, it was expected that they would prove effective in shielding the back-four. On the contrary however it should be said that both players had a sub-standard match. Frimpong particularly failed to effectively shield the back-four by failing to track runners and at times had sloppy passing with Reading running rampant in the first-half. Given the circumstances he was fresh from an injury return, but it goes to show that the enthusiastic midfielder is still far from the finished product and needs time to develop.
With the Ghanaian likely to have limited opportunities in the first-team there have been numerous reports that Frimmy will be released by Arsenal this coming January. Although in contrast, the ‘Dench’ man himself has said that these reports are false and is instead looking to construct a loan move this week in the pursuit of regular first-team football. He seems hopeful that after a loan move he will come back and challenge for a first-team spot, much like Jack Wilshere did after his loan spell at Bolton.
Frimpong has shown signs that he could become a ‘solid’ player, but I am still unsure as to whether he has the potential to become a player of top quality at the Emirates. There have been calls that he could blossom into the next Essian and there is no doubt I would love to see that happen. There have been signs he would be able to achieve something like this before he succumbed to both his knee injuries and it is quite obvious Wenger sees a bright future in the young midfielder.
At only age 20, surely there is time to chance your arm on the Ghanaian as he is still very much a ‘raw player’ that still needs development. It is not as though Arsenal are breaking the bank to keep him at the Emirates. Like Wilshere, I would like to see him go out on loan and try to develop his game and then upon his return Arsenal would have a better idea of whether to keep him on at the Emirates or let him leave for pastures new.
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