Akpom hoping for final Arsenal chance after excelling on loan

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You could certainly be forgiven for thinking that Chuba Akpom’s Arsenal career has effectively been over for some time.

This season the striker, who turns 23 later this year, was restricted to just one first-team appearance for Arsenal, with the extremely talented Eddie Nketiah edging ahead of him in the pecking order.

Akpom was sent out on loan to Belgian side Sint-Truiden in January and, with his Arsenal contract set to expire in the summer of 2019, it was widely considered that his chance of making the breakthrough had gone .

It perhaps wasn’t anticipated that Akpom would fare quite so well for his temporary side, with the attacker having scored six goals in his last eight games, seeing Sint-Truiden edge closer to earning a spot in the Europa League.

The majority of Akpom’s previous loan spells (all of which were with lower league English sides) certainly didn’t go to plan as he found it very difficult to score and his overall performances often lacked conviction.

Now, though, Akpom is relishing representing a side that bring the best out of him. Sint-Truiden have a similar playing style to Arsenal in terms of pass and move football, which enables Akpom to become heavily involved in proceedings and also drift out to the left wing, where he is always dangerous.

In stark contrast, when Akpom played in the Championship, especially during his spell at Nottingham Forest, he often found himself isolated up front and unable to have any sort of influence on the game.

This is a problem that many Arsenal youngsters face in that they have been educated to play a very specific style of football and then find it extremely challenging when they are loaned out to a side with a markedly different philosophy.

After going through that process on several occasions, Akpom has now found the perfect fit for his playing style and the goals have followed.

The quality, or lack thereof, of the Belgian top flight certainly needs to be taken into consideration but Akpom has performed so well that Arsenal cannot fail to have noticed.

Although Akpom prefers to play up front, he is perhaps best suited to the left flank, where he can use his pace and trickery to torment opponents.

With Arsenal lacking wingers in the first-team squad, perhaps Akpom could be an internal solution to provide backup in that department, at least for the first half of next season.

Whatever happens, Akpom’s exploits out on loan have ensured that the upcoming decision over his future won’t be a straightforward one.

Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

 

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Lettra
Lettra

Interesting I’m glad things are going well for him , many may not remember but´Akpom is one of those youngsters who always looked good in his cameos with the A-Team. There were a few times when he was perhaps trying too hard to make an impact but he generally performed well for us . Got sent out on loan and didn’t impress..

Bob Bobbery
Bob Bobbery

If the budget for next season is being reported as accurate the new manager should definitely take note. We’ve got to look for youth to add depth if we aren’t going to bring many in. Considering welbeck’s contractual situation and the priority for defensive reinforcements as well.

Robert Pires : Director of football @ Arsenal
Robert Pires : Director of football @ Arsenal

He said previously he’ll play any position for the team, come on in buddy, you can play as backup left winger.

Rafar
Rafar

Akpom is a great talent with speed, determination and trickery when he cuts in with his right foot…he has a bit of an attitude problem though as was obvious with his tantrum @hull…give him the right coaching and he will blossom

santori
santori

Its difficult with Akpon.

Wenger has kept him in and around the first team and back on loan, he has threatened to break through but flattered to deceive at times as well.

You could sell him and he becomes the next Harry Kane and you rue the decision to.

Then again he could fetch a decent price even now which will fund bringing in more complete players this summer.

Its part of the complexity that involves management.

At 23yrs, you feel an ultimate decision is around the corner but you also understand why Wenger tried to hang on to him till now.

My gut feeling is he will be sold. And he may well go on to a good career.

But you think of Welbeck and his own limitations as an older player and you feel maybe Chuba should be given the chance. The one thing that puts Welbeck ahead is his size. We don’t have that sort of power and presence in the squad up top and to be fair, I still don’t think we are utilising Danny to his strength playing him left side instead of truly up top.

Lacazette has been poor holding and showing for the ball for us and it does not help relief pressure at the back.

some simpletons branded Lacazette “world class” and “pacey:

Well he hardly moves any quicker than GIroud and does not provide the sort of hold up play or quick deft touch interplay as his compatriot which is again a reason why for some time, our once labelled “mediocre” Giroud started ahead of “world class” Lacazette for Les Bleus.

If you are truly “world class” you make those runs that make you available. You don’t expect service. Too many asinine fans were complaining we were not providing Lacazette service.

Watch Henry’s interview rcenetly. He mentions how Wenger coached him to show for the ball better, make runs so the player on the ball can see you. Not everyone is Ozil.

Lacazette needs to do that.

Both Laca and Welbeck need to also take a page from Giroud and Aubameyang and attack the 6 yard box better.

Instead of waiting for the ball to travel to them, when they see a player moving towards the byline to put the cross in, anticipate it and crucially move towards the ball, don’t wait for it to come.

Particularly for Welbeck, he lacks anticipation and is often 5 yards too far off.

Which is why he is better attacking with power and on the run.

Now with Akpom, there is another cautionary tale.

Too many people simplistically big up young players over limited showing.

On the other end of things…point in case Cbacks.

All this recent hype over Mavropanos being an excellent Mislintat signing, well Holding was not too long ago enjoying similar adulation (and he was a Dick Law signing)

Against what Mustafi has put out this season and viewed in proper perspective (rather than looking for just the faults) the German is far and away the better player.

It will be a mistake to hope that either young player should be relied upon before they show more extensive return on promise over more games.

Before making facile bleatings to replace Mustafi, better thought should be given in context with how much we need to spread investment out in wake of lack of CL for another season.

Mustafi is not the best defender in the world by far but he has put in more blocks and stops than most of the amateur statisticians will advertise because they have their own narrative.

Instead we really need to replace Koscielny bc wear and tear issues will become a liability.

Chambers has quietly improved and he will be there to compete with Mustafi and a new man (say De Vrij who is out of contract)

Then and only then do we also throw either of Mavropanos or Holding into the mix to compete. The other should go on strong loan to further develop.

The situation is similar in midfield. AMN is an excellent utility but not the player we need in midfield.

IMO his power and diligence should recommend him as back up/alternate to Bellerin to keep the Spaniard on his toes.

Rather we need someone in midfield with both physicality and technical abilities to keep ball for us.

This player does not need to replicate Granit or Elneny but provide a more physical cover for those two if without the long range passing attributes.

At the same time this player should also have the ability as Jack to carry the ball on the dribble up the field. In particular this is key as even with Jack on a new contract should he sign, he is also injury liable. Any feature of Santi is strictly IMO bonus if he should be kept for next season as a sort of swan song to an exceptional player beset by wear and tear (similar to Koscielny)

Back to Akpom, I think if we don’t replace Welbeck with him (sell Danny for still decent price) than we persevere with what Danny gives us extra in terms of his size and we will have to come to terms with an eventual difficult decision to part with Akpom for his own career sake.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Every time I start to read a long post here, I go through this process…
1. “Hmmm, post seems kinda long, lemme scroll down a little”
2. “Hey, is this guy insulting or attacking players for no good reason?”
3. “Hmm, a long post insulting players? I think I may be reading a Santori post”

I scroll up and lo and behold, I am. I then stop reading before I get to the obligatory Elneny attack, downvote and move on to the next comment.

A Different George
A Different George

I often think he has some useful things to say, when I’m able to force myself to read it. This post seems to be a complete overview of what is needed for next season; anything about Akpom, our loan policy, our other young players, etc.–what the actual story is about– are just secondary aspects of what he’s saying. Posts like this are more likely to irritate through their self-indulgence than provide anyone with some new insight.

lari03
lari03

When you drill a young player to execute a certain play and he imbibes such a drill, he ultimately becomes efficient. Freddie Ljunberg comes to my mind, and James Milner. We need efficiency now, Mavropanos will become a good defender. Chuba needs to be assessed by the new manager, if he is good enough to execute, then he will stay.

I remember saying elsewhere that Lacazette works best in a front 2 and not as a holding CF. He does not need to stay upfront, he needs you to give him the ball in the box when he has one second free and he will score, he is better than Giroud when he is involved in the build up.

France play a certain style and remember with Giroud up top, they haven’t won any major trophies to the best of my knowledge.

Secondly Lacazette is more mobile and faster than Giroud.

Araj
Araj

Don’t know if you have been paying attention but the first choice striker debate at Arsenal seems to have been over. Aubameyang is better than Lacazetter, Welbeck and what we had before: Giroud.
Other options needs to be ones that work well with him and I would still prefer proper wingers who can open up the pitch and play cutbacks instead of converted center forwards.
Having said that, between Akpom and Welbeck, no sense in keeping the older, more expensive and more tested Welbeck instead of the younger, hungrier, home grown player.

BigArse
BigArse

Maybe. Or maybe he’s just added a lot of value to his transfer fee this summer. I don’t mean to be hard hearted but he’s not getting into a team with a man like Lacazette three years older than him, and our second(!) striker. And if rumours and experience are any guide we don’t have much of a transfer kitty. We need funds.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

“This is a problem that many Arsenal youngsters face in that they have been educated to play a very specific style of football and then find it extremely challenging when they are loaned out to a side with a markedly different philosophy.”

Also a big reason why many of our youth prospects upon leaving Arsenal plunge right down into outside the pro levels, even with great technical ability.

Something for Per to solve. Academy isn’t just to produce for first team, but to educate players for life outside of Arsenal if it doesn’t work out, and we’re now really bad at it.

Also we need to start thinking a bit more about our loan system. We’ve failed a lot of players via bad loan choices (Gnabry the perfect example).

David Hillier's luggage
David Hillier's luggage

I think our loan structure definitely needs to be looked at, however I also think the loan system in general is in a strange place for a lot of clubs at the moment with regards to developing players.

The mid table/lower half Prem sides used to take talented young players on loan partly as a cost saving measure (extremely talented player, no fee, wages mostly paid), however these clubs now have enough money in their coffers that they can spend £15-20m on more experienced players of a level they wouldn’t have dreamed of before. Everyone bar the top 7 clubs have one eye on the bottom of the table in August, and risking your club’s season on another team’s young players when you can now afford to buy your own talent probably doesn’t go down too well with chairmen. Of course, this can go tits up like we’ve seen with Stoke (heh) & West Brom.

Another factor is young players are more and more seeing the value in making permanent moves to gain first team football as opposed to being farmed out on loan, Dominic Solanke and Jadon Sancho spring to mind but sure there are a host of others. I wonder if huge buyback/sell on clauses will become the norm over over season long loans?

Valentin
Valentin

The issue is two folds:
First Arsenal youngsters are trained to play a certain style and that is issue for those that do not make the grade. However some behave like the Arsenal way of playing is the only way. More humility and willingness to learn and adapt to a different style would more beneficial.
Also a certain numbers choose the wrong club for loan. Instead of choosing the manager and his style of play, they select the club with the highest position (Mavididi is a case in point, he joined Preston a completely unsuited club but in the Championship instead of going back to Charlton at League 1 level).
That is related to the second issue.
It seems that career wise and character determination is something that our youngsters are lacking. Maybe because Arsenal is making their life so easy, they lost the habit of having to fight for your career.
I am not saying that Steve Getting and Carl Laraman are innocent of bullying and that they have always behave appropriately. Jonckers was a good man, but a disciplinarian he as not. It is symptomatic that a year following his departure the academy is a lot more successful, but some players are taking exception of that new regime of tough love, discipline and required hard work. In my view those are the reasons why the U23 have been successful this year. However some of the so called starlets have taken exception. Funny that none of the injured professionals and over-age players have ever make such complaint against them.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

I had him down on my list of “to sell” but maybe he should be allowed one more chance and who knows under a new coach he may find his position and excel. Good to hear he is doing well.

lari03
lari03

Good for him!

I think Chuba needs to play with the first team for a final season and see if he comes good. This is why a new manager, in the mold of Leonardo Jardim is necessary: we need a man who can turn a decent player into an efficient game player.

Gooner Sam
Gooner Sam

Glad things are going well for him but highly doubt he will ever be good enough for Arsenal