Arteta challenges Nwaneri to break into Arsenal first team after signing his first professional deal

Published: April 03, 2024
Arteta challenges Nwaneri to break into Arsenal first team after signing his first professional deal

Arsenal whizkid of Nigerian descent Ethan Nwaneri, has been challenged to seize his first-team opportunity by manager Mikel Arteta following the youngster's signing of his first professional contract.

The 17-year-old midfielder etched his name in Premier League history last season when he became the youngest ever player to feature in the English top-flight, making his debut against Brentford at the tender age of 15 years and 181 days.

Top clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City were reportedly interested in acquiring his services but Arsenal managed to secure his long-term future by finalizing a professional contract, fending off interest from their rivals.

Nwaneri's progress has continued this season, primarily featuring for Arsenal's youth teams where he has been prolific, scoring a commendable 14 goals in as many appearances.

His performances haven't gone unnoticed by manager Arteta, who has hinted that the youngster is on the cusp of breaking into the first team.

"I was really happy [for Nwaneri signing a professional contract]," Arteta said in quotes relayed by The Standard.

"He had a great day, he had all his family and important people around him. A really proud moment to see another academy graduate signing his pro contract.

"He is very close to the first team. The opportunity is there, now he needs to take it."

Arsenal academy manager Per Mertesacker also acknowledged Nwaneri's journey through the club's youth system, stating:

"We are extremely proud of Ethan and his journey, from pre-academy to Hale End, then a seamless transition to Sobha Realty Training Centre and then making his first-team debut. Ethan's journey now continues, and we will all be there alongside him to support his development."

With his undeniable talent, secure professional contract, and the backing of both club and manager, the future looks bright for Nwaneri.

The upcoming months will be crucial in his development, and all eyes will be on him to see if he can take the next step and establish himself in Arsenal's first team.

Ejim Kaycee

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