Willock deal could be a sign of things to come for Arsenal

Unai Emery says Arsenal's past performances against Liverpool at Anfield should have no bearing on the outcome of Saturday's meeting.

Arsenal fans will have been delighted to see Joe Willock sign a new deal on Thursday and it could be a sign of things to come.

Willock put pen-to-paper on a new long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium after a bright start to the campaign, in which he has made three starts in the Premier League.

The 20-year-old has been rewarded for his performances against Newcastle United, Burnley and Liverpool, and will now be looking to push on during the campaign.

Willock has been at Arsenal since he was four years of age and his new contract could be a sign of things to come at the Emirates Stadium.

After failing to secure Champions League football last season, the Gunners decided to shake things up behind the scenes.

Freddie Ljungberg was promoted to new assistant first-team coach, while Steve Bould dropped down to take charge of the club’s Under-23s team.

Arsenal claimed the changes would help their players transition through to the first team, while former defender Per Mertesacker continues to take charge of the club’s academy.

Arsenal’s production line used to be one of the best in the country but few of their academy players have failed to kick on and become established first-team players in recent years.

The likes of Kieran Gibbs, Alex Iwobi, Serge Gnabry, Jack Wilshere, Hector Bellerin, Ashley Cole and Cesc Fabregas have come through in the last decade.

Only Bellerin and Wilshere can say they truly established themselves in the heart of the Gunners’ squad, but Willock is showing signs of real promise.

He could be the first youngster to break through under boss Unai Emery, with the Spaniard willing to give his players a chance as they try to compete for silverware in the Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League.

Reiss Nelson is another player who has shown tremendous potential and his loan spell at Hoffenheim looks to have done him the world of good.

The 19-year-old made 23 appearances in the Bundesliga last year and he could be given a chance in the coming weeks.

Emile Smith Rowe is another youngster who left on loan but he spent most of his spell with RB Leipzig injured.

Bukayo Saka, James Olayinka, Tyreece John-Jules, Daniel Ballard, Folrian Balogun and Yunus Musah are all waiting in the wings in north London.

Striker Eddie Nketiah is also making headlines on loan at Leeds United and it looks like the next generation of Arsenal players could make a big impact in the next 18 months.