Arsenal Starlet Departs After 16 Years of Attachment: Good move for all parties involved?

Chuba Akpom, the Arsenal academy scholar, joins PAOK on a three-year deal.

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A new dawn under Unai Emery at Emirates following iconic Arsene Wenger’s step down as the Arsenal boss has witnessed several ambitious summer signings so far. But the club is also concentrating on offloading their fringe players with the new season to kick-off in a week and Chuba Akpom, the centre-forward who progressed through Gunners’ academy ranks, has now joined Greek outfit PAOK on permanent terms.

The 22-year-old Englishman joined the North Londoners’ at the age of 6 and was one of their brightest prospects making strides in youth leagues. He represented the Three Lions as well in several youth ranks and maintained a good scoring streak all throughout. But he only managed 12 senior appearances for the Gunners under Wenger and mostly spent his time on loan at home and abroad.

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Akpom, however, was not included in Arsenal’s 25-man squad for their pre-season trip to Singapore indicating he was surplus to requirements in Emery’s plan. He had previous loan spells in lower leagues of English football ( with Brentford, Coventry City, Nottingham Forest, Hull City and Brighton & Hove Albion) which did not work out but found his rhythm for Sint-Truiden, the Belgian top division outfit, where he netted 6 times in 16 outings following his winter deadline day move earlier this year. The youngster is now set to experience the next phase of his career and should reconfigure his career in a new environment.

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PAOK, the runners-up last season in Superleague Greece, has knocked out FC Basel in the Champions League second qualifying round tie and have now been drawn against Spartak Moskva in next round. They have an exciting project in their hand to offer the ex-Arsenal prodigy and a fee of around €1m might turn out to be a massive bargain if the player redefines his form of academy ranks for his new employers. It, however, was a lost battle for Akpom to force his way in Emery’s plan in presence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette as well as Danny Welbeck and the timing, therefore, has been proper from the player’s part to experience a fresh challenge elsewhere.

 

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