Kelechi Nwakali will arrive in North London on Monday to complete a transfer to Arsenal, it has been confirmed by All Nigeria Soccer.
The 18-year-old midfielder has been a long-term target for the Gunners after he impressed at last year’s FIFA under-17 World Cup, being named Player of the Tournament as he led Nigeria to the title.
The Gunners agreed a deal some weeks back but because of international duties as well as work permit issues, it has taken a longer period of time to get the deal over the line, although it’s now expected that all formalities have been settled.
The reports in All Nigeria Soccer states that the midfielder will fly out of Lagos at 11pm on Sunday evening and head to London to complete the move. It further adds that he will sign a five-year deal with the north London club.
The youngster will be shipped out on loan if his application to secure a work permit is unsuccessful. However, it seems Wenger promised the player and his reps that the club will do everything possible to secure a work permit.
Arsenal noticed the Nigerian youngster, during the under-17 world cup. He has been compared to his idol and former Arsenal Legend in Nwankwo Kanu. In fact, it has been reported that the youngster will be wearing the same shirt that his idol wore during his time with the Gunners; the no.25 shirt.
Arsenal’s interest and commitment to raw talent- refinement is popular the world over, an area which Arsene Wenger has held a key expertise in. Nwakali is not the only youngster on the verge of being announced as an Arsenal player on arsenal’s official website. Arsenal have also signed Japanese starlet Takuma Asano, who is being touted as one of Japan’s top-class goal scorers in the years to come.
Granit Xhaka is the only big name and big money signing to have arrived at Arsenal thus far and is going to be, needless to say, drafted into the first team. Nwakali and Asano on the other hand, are likely to either be loaned or feature for the reserve team, unless either are talented enough to be drafted into the first team as well.
Nwakali is an effective player in attack. He is creative and comfortable in possession. His stamina, persistence, and skill make him a well-rounded attacker. Whether his talent is exceptional enough for him to make it into the first team at 18, is yet to be seen.