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Akpom: Arsenal's future striker

Arsenal's striker hunt has been going on for 2 years and with no new additions it will continue into the summer transfer window. This isn't the ideal situation for Gooners, desperate to see Arsenal capitalise on their best league performance for some time but is it possible that the striker Arsenal are looking for is already at the club? Today on Goonersphere, we'll be looking at Chuba Akpom, the most prospective youngster in the Arsenal Academy. Akpom has been with Arsenal since the age of 6, having previously attracted interest from West Ham United and Charlton Athletic.

He’s now regarded as one of the club’s brightest prospects, Chuba enjoyed an outstanding 2012/13 campaign during which he established himself as the first choice striker for the U21s during his first season as a scholar. In the 2012/2013 season Akpom made 20 appearances for the U21s and scored 13 goals including 10 goals in 10 games in the Elite Group Stage.  The youngster’s good form also saw him make the first-team bench for the Champions League trip to Olympiacos, whilst he also received international recognition, being called up into the U19 set-up for England. Chuba Akpom signed his first professional contract for Arsenal on his 17th birthday in October in 2012.

During the summer, Akpom was selected for Arsenal’s pre-season tour of Asia. During the pre-season tour Akpom impressed the Arsenal coaching staff with his phenomenal performances and with the 4 goals he scored. Akpom made his first competitive debut for Arsenal against Sunderland in the 3-1 away win after replacing Olivier Giroud. After that Akpom was an unused substitute against Marseille in the Champions League. Akpom’s second Arsenal appearance was came in the Capital One Cup when he replaced Eisfeld in the 87th minute. Chuba played the full scoreless extra time and scored the 3rd Arsenal goal in the penalty shootout against West Brom. Akpom has scored 3 goals in 4 matches in the UEFA Youth League this season and scored an amazing hat-trick in the FA Youth Cup against Peterborough.

Akpom is very good in the air and he’s very useful with the ball at his feet. He offers a wide range of skills which he regularly executes with devastating consequences. If his skills weren't enough for defenders to worry about then he also likes to show off his pace at times, when it’s needed. He works extremely hard for the team and sometimes is a tad too unselfish, if that can be a criticism. He is a very good finisher and he’s when given the chance, he’ll take it without any mistakes. There is only one thing that it is minded about his play and it is he doesn't get into goalscoring positions frequently enough. If he reaches and fulfils his potential than some believe he has the qualities to be the new Thierry Henry for this club. He’s also a fierce physical presence for defenders and is also sharp in the box and cool with penalties. But it is the intelligence and maturity of his hold-up and link-up play that mark him out against his peers.

Akpom joined Brentford on loan a few weeks ago and has made 4 appearances for the Bees so far. Wenger has praised his personality and qualities but has told him that he needs to work harder and that he has the chance to make it here. Wenger has also said that he needs to get physically, mentally and tactically stronger. If Akpom continues to play like this, he'll surely become Arsenal's first choice striker in the future. Knowing that he is very talented and has the potential, Akpom has a really bright future ahead of him. We should expect to see Akpom playing more in the Arsenal shirt next season.

Here's a video of his performances last season for the U21s. 

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Tags: Arsenal Youth, Youth

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