Mikel Arteta included three youth team stars in Arsenal’s final training session ahead of their Europa League home clash against PSV Eindhoven on Thursday night. One of those is understood to be 17-year-old defender Maldini Kacurri.
Ahead of the game, football.london understands that Khayon Edwards, Catalin Cirjan and Kacurri all trained with the first team ahead of the Gunners’ clash with PSV.
Gunners supporters may have slightly familiarised themselves with Edwards and Cirjan as the talented duo have frequently been involved in first-team sessions this season, whilst the latter of the two has featured on Europa League benches more than once. He’s still awaiting his debut in the competition, though.
That being said, they may know less about Maldini Kacurri. With that in mind, football.london has taken a brief look at his profile below.
Born on 4 October, 2005, 17-year-old Maldini Kacurri is mainly plying his trade with the under-18s at the Gunners as things stand. After spending time with Fulham’s academy, he made a free switch to Arsenal at the end of the 21/22 season.
The Albanian citizen, Maldini Kacurri has also represented his country at Under-17 level on two occasions – according to Transfermarkt.
Position and potential involvement of Maldini
Now, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Maldini Kucurri against PSV. But after Arteta handed 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri a Premier League debut against Brentford earlier this season, the Spaniard could yet spring a surprise and look to play the defender.
Kucurri is naturally a centre-back, but with Oleksandr Zinchenko likely missing, Mikel Artetawill probably use Takehiro Tomiyasu or Kieran Tierney at left-back. If he chooses to rest both Gabriel Magalhaes or William Saliba, or take either of the two off later in the game, a space in the middle of defence will open up for the youngster to slot in.
Based on Arteta’s rotation of late, Rob Holding is expected to fill the other centre-back role and play a full 90 minutes if he avoids injury.
But, as he has already shown this season, you just neve know with Arteta!