Arsene Wenger was roundly criticized by all and sundry for not spending any of Arsenal’s war chest on a new striker this summer, preferring to keep the faith with Olivier Giroud and converting Theo Walcott from a winger into a Henryesque type of centre-forward. Le Prof also has Chuba Akpom out on loan to further his development in that position, and now we have learned that the manager has given a new long term contract to the very promising Alex Iwobi, who has been scoring for fun with the U21 side.
The 19 year-old, who is Jay-Jay Okochi’s nephew, is a confident lad and feels he has earned the right to fight for a first team place, said on Arsenal.com: “I’m delighted to have signed a new contract, especially with a club like Arsenal who are so big,”
“I’m happy to sign for them.
“I like to think I have earned it. I have gone through a lot with Arsenal so to have a new and improved contract is very good and I’m happy to have earned it.
“I have had ups and downs. As I was growing up I had a lot of downs but as I get older things just keep getting better and better.
“The ultimate goal is to break into the first team and play as many games as I can.”
Iwobi has already been selected for the Nigeria senior team, and has been chosen for Arsenal’s Premier League and Champions League squad, but father, Chuka, has announced that he wants Iwobi to go out on loan in the near future to gain some much-needed first team experience. “A few clubs in the United Kingdom and abroad have approached Arsenal to take Alex on loan, but Arsene Wenger wants him to be with the first team because he did very well in pre-season,” Chuka told Goal.
“Alex’s preferred option at this stage is to go on loan to gain first team experience and come back to Arsenal later on to fight for a place.
“Hopefully a loan move will be sorted out by the time Alex comes back from international duties.
“As regards the likely club Alex will play for on loan, at the moment discussions are ongoing.”
If he does go out on loan then Wenger must surely reserve the right to recall him in case Walcott or Giroud get a long term injury, but it will definitely be to our benefit if he could become a regular scorer, maybe with a Championship side. He is surely marked down as a star of the future and is simply another good reason why Wenger did not bring any new established striker when we may already have a prolific frontman waiting in the wings….