Arsenal officially announced the released players list today, which brought an end to quite a few Arsenal mainstays along with three younger players. Among the youngsters whose contracts expire on June 30th is Cohen Bramall. Bramall was picked out by Arsenal scouts and signed in January 2017 from non-league side, Hednesford Town, for a reported fee of around £40,000.
Bramall’s release brings an end to a fairy tale story of a young man who worked diligently and never gave up on his dream to play in the Premier League. Bramall was quoted as saying in an interview with BBC Sport,
” My agent Lee Payne rings me on Wednesday saying you’ve got a trial at Arsenal. I was like ‘what’?
“He said pack your stuff and get to this postcode, so I packed all my stuff in about an hour, got there as fast as I could, slept for a bit, then the next minute I’m in training with the first team.”
Then Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, believed the young left-back was filled with the right ingredients to make it at the highest level. Wenger, is widely regarded for his ability to spot young talent that might otherwise slip past his competitors. A sign of approval by a club legend only further created an exciting expectation about what the Englishman could offer the club in the future.
Cohen Bramall made nine appearances in the remainder of the 2016/17 season with Arsenal’s U23 side prior to being loaned to Championship side, Birmingham City, in the summer of 2017. Unfortunately for Bramall, he only managed to make five appearances in the EFL Championship for a total of 333 minutes played. A primary source for his lack of minutes came down to manager Gary Monk entrusting his own players as the side fought against relegation to League 1, but Bramall arguably could have done a better job cementing his place in the squad. Bramall, then 22, was professional in his farewell to the club following his loan spell,
“Although I didn’t get on the pitch as much as I wanted to, I’ve learnt so much from the club, my teammates and the staff.”
The hope at the time was that a return to Arsenal with a potential subsequent loan might revitalize his career. Again, however, things simply did not go in favor of Bramall. He remained with Arsenal for the duration of this past season, but primarily played with the U23 squad in the Premier League 2. His opportunity for true first team football came in his three appearances with the senior squad during the EFL Trophy run where he was able to record his first assist with the club.
Arsenal made the difficult decision to allow Bramall’s contract to run down. While he still offers potential, at 23 years old in conjunction with a new manager, Unai Emery, at the helm, and Sead Kolasinac’s signing during the 2017/18 summer transfer window, the timing for Bramall’s rise to first team football was stymied. Although Cohen Bramall’s time at Arsenal is coming to end, that certainly does not mean that this two and a half year spell was a failure. He has now become known among the upper echelon of English football and it would be surprising if he does not land with at least a League 1 side. He might not contain the potential that was attributed to him a few years ago, but Bramall still has the tools to be a quality footballer.