Nwaneri snubs Chelsea, Man City to sign new Arsenal deal
Arsenal wunderkind, Ethan Nwaneri, is on the verge of extending his stay at the Emirates despite overtures from Chelsea and Manchester City.
The 16-year-old became the Premier League’s youngest-ever player when he came off the bench in a 3-0 win against Brentford in September aged just 15 years and 181 days.
The 2007-born midfielder was handed his chance due to Martin Odegaard’s absence through illness, replacing Fabio Vieira for the final minute at the Gtech Community Stadium.
Mikel Arteta explained that he had a ‘gut feeling’ about the English teenager, but since his historic debut, Nwaneri has not made another first-team appearance for the Gunners.
Instead, Nwaneri has continued to develop at Under-18 and U-21 level, scoring two goals in the FA Youth Cup, as Arsenal made it to the final before being thumped 5-1 by West Ham United.
However, the midfielder’s future has been the subject of much debate recently, as his schoolboy terms with Arsenal will expire tomorrow and both Chelsea and Manchester City are thought to be interested in his services.
With Nwaneri not able to pen a professional contract until his 17th birthday in March 2024, Arsenal are attempting to tie him down to scholarship terms, and according to Fabrizio Romano, talks are going in the right direction.
Romano claims that Arsenal are on the brink of agreeing a renewal with their academy starlet and are increasingly confident of fending off the advances of Chelsea and Man City.
Academy manager, Per Mertesacker, is understood to have played a prominent role in talks alongside Arteta and sporting director, Edu, all of whom have worked to persuade Nwaneri to commit his future to the club.
Even if an agreement falls through, Arsenal will be in line for compensation if Nwaneri heads elsewhere, and they could expect to receive a more lucrative sum thanks to his solitary first-team appearance.
Primarily an attacking midfielder, Nwaneri has also been deployed as a centre forward and winger for club and country, and he has eight goals to show from 17 England U-17 appearances.
Arsenal have already tied numerous first-team regulars down to new contracts over the past 12 months, namely Nwaneri’s fellow academy graduate, Bukayo Saka, who agreed a new four-year deal last month.
Gabriel Martinelli, Aaron Ramsdale and Gabriel Magalhaes have also agreed fresh terms with the Gunners, who are also close to tying another Hale End product in Reiss Nelson down to a four-year renewal.
Arsenal are also reported to have made a breakthrough in talks with William Saliba, who has agreed a new four-year deal in principle, while discussions could soon begin with captain Odegaard.
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