19-year-old Arsenal starlet Chuba Akpom has joined English Championship side Nottingham Forest on loan for the rest of the 2014-15 season. The U-20 England international is seen as one of the most promising young forwards in the country, perhaps all of Europe, will be set to feature in the last seven matches for Forest and subsequently return to the Gunners in May.
This will be Akpom’s third loan deal in the last 15 months, as he previously joined Brentford and Coventry City on short-term loans during in the 2013-14 season. Although Akpom has a fantastic goal rate in the Arsenal U-21 team (nine scores in 11 matches during the current season), his two previous loan spells were somewhat unsuccessful (zero goals in 10 total matches), albeit without much time to settle into the aforementioned teams.
Despite his lack of goals in his previous loan deals, Akpom will look to continue his progression and take advantage of playing time in the second division team. The 19-year-old has made seven substitute appearances for the Gunners first team this season (a combined 71 minutes on the pitch) and did show potential when playing for the senior Arsenal team.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger rewarded Akpom on his promising play by giving the teenager a new four-year contract earlier in the season.
Akpom has been so impressive with the Arsenal first team that superstar newcomer Alexis Sanchez has dubbed the youngster “Titi”, after Arsenal legend Thierry “Titi” Henry. The England youth international explained how the comparison came about in a recent interview with Daily Mail. Akpom stated, “One day in training with the first team I scored an Henry-type goal, cutting inside and finishing. I could see Sanchez jumping, he’ s an enthusiastic guy at the best of times and he’s going: ‘Titi, Titi, Titi, Titi!’.”
“Now the lads just call me Titi or Thierry Henry – I’ll take that. It’s not a bad comparison to have. Henry was my idol growing up. Playing for the academy and watching Arsenal’s first team I used to see players like Henry scoring every week and it really inspired me.”
While certainly the 19-year-old has a ways to go to live up to the comparisons to a legend such as Henry, Akpom possesses the talent and skill set to potentially become a very solid center forward in the near future.
Akpom is an intelligent player with creativity, pace and top-notch finishing abilities around the box (as seen here). During his time with the Arsenal U-21’s, Akpom has netted 28 goals in just 40 matches and has scored a total of 10 goals in 21 combined matches with the England U-19’s and U-20’s.
The Gunners currently have a plethora of forwards in the senior squad (Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott, and on loan strikers Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo, and Joel Campbell), so cracking the first team on a regular basis could be difficult for Akpom in the near future. However, if the youngster can continue to progress positively during the next year or so, he should certainly get his chance to shine with the Arsenal first team.
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