Marcelo Flores is not the big-money name people were hoping for.
He is, however, a highly-rated Arsenal youth player who is due to pen a five-year deal with the club as he turns 17 years old.
With Per Mertesacker now coaching the academy, we’re seeing a fluctuation in how the youth setup operates with a host of promising starlets joining the club during the summer.
One of the aspects sewn into the very fabric of Arsenal is a faith in the younger setup. It became a staple of Arsene Wenger’s tenure and now we’re seeing the fruits of that labour transfer over into the current crop.
Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka are a few who’re making the step up into senior action, with another talented prospect committing his future to the club in hopes of achieving his goals in the first team.
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He is young forward Marcelo Flores, and here’s what you need to know about him.
Flores Has Only Been With Arsenal for 1 Year
While he’s hoping to work his way up through the academy, the 17-year-old has only been on Arsenal’s books for little over one year. Joining from Ipswich Town in 2019, the Gunners fended off interest from across England to lure him to the Emirates Stadium.
It’s an interesting story about how he moved to the Tractor Boys. Flores’ father, Ruben, was coaching the Cayman Islands Women’s team – bit random – where the Ipswich youth development coach was working on an exchange programme. The rest is history.
Now he’s at Arsenal. Quite the tale.
He’s Versatile Across the Forward Line
While he prefers to operate in the number ten role, Flores has been known to play in wider positions throughout his career.
Beginning this season as a right-winger at Arsenal, he’s been given the position his idols growing up played in. Eden Hazard and Lionel Messi are his favourite players, and he models his game off their ability to cut inside and take their man on.
Flores Has Got This Season Off to a Flying Start
Playing in the Under-18’s Premier League, Flores has already netted three times for Ken Gillard’s side, his first coming on an opening day 4-2 victory over Southampton, with a brace in the most recent 3-2 win over Crystal Palace.
In total, in Flores’ seven matches for the Under-18 squad he’s scored three goals and registered one assist.
His sisters Silvana and Tatiana are also familiar with the club. Silvana has recently left to join Chelsea but Tatiana remains part of the academy.
He’s Trained With the First Team Already
Mikel Arteta has been introducing a few youngsters into the senior setup of late, including the likes of Folarin Balogun and Charlie Patino, with Flores also getting his chance.
The Spanish boss has been keen to offer the younger players an insight into how the first team train, doing so by being in regular conversation with Mertesacker about which players have the tools to train with the first team.
Flores, it would seem, fits that mould.
Can Play for Mexico or Canada… And Even England
Having been born in Canada, Flores can represent the nation in the future, although with a Mexican father, he too can opt to play for El Tri.
Already featuring for Mexico’s Under-16 and Under-18 squads is irrelevant until he makes a senior appearance. When he is old enough to sign his professional deal with Arsenal (his 17th birthday) then he can also appear for the England national side.
The Three Lions don’t really have much in the way of No. 10’s, so why not? (Dele Alli is not getting anywhere near my England lineup).