Should Arsenal have been more patient with Chuba Akpom?

Arsenal were always famous for bringing youngsters through the youth system to become first team players, as Arsenal Wenger once said: “We don’t buy stars, we make them.” Well one youngster that was extremely promising a few years ago was Chuba Akpom, who had incredible goalscoring figures at every level of Arsenal’s youth set-up.

But he only ever appeared four times for the senior side and was was sent on loan to places like Brentford, Coventry, ­Forest, Hull, Brighton and Belgian club Sint-Truiden in search of first team football which was never forthcoming at Arsenal.

In the end he gave up and at the end of his contract, he bravely joined PAOK Salonika last summer. After a spell on the bench he finally got a chance to shine and last week scored the winner against Olympiakos to put his side 9 points clear at the top of the League. He said: “When I moved to Greece, people were asking why. I feel like I’m finally justifying the move, finally showing people why I came here.”

“Olympiakos was the biggest game so far in my career. Over here, it’s more than football.

“It’s like a religion and it was the first time I felt the emotion going into the game.

“The fans had been waiting for this game for years. Finally PAOK are above Olympiakos. It was amazing to score and make everyone happy. I went into town to eat and everywhere I went ­people were stopping me to say thank you. I gave them a lot of happiness and they were crying.”

After his settling in period he has now scored 5 goals in his last 6 starts, and if he carries on like this he will surely end up getting a move to a bigger European club. Akpom is now 23 and like a lot of strikers they improve with age. Perhaps Arsenal should have been a little more patient with him and given him a few more games to build up his confidence?



  1. gotanidea says:

    Like Benik Afobe, Akpom had his chances

    The current young players like Iwobi, Nelson and Maitland-Niles look more talented. Arsenal should give them more chances to thrive and acquire more hot prospects like Guendouzi if possible

    1. Wolf says:

      You call 4 appearances a chance do you then in the very next breath mention Iwobi and he should be given more chances? How many chances has he had compared to Akpom?

      1. gotanidea says:

        Akpom was loaned with various results, like Gnabry

        Unlike both of them, Iwobi helped the team to dominate in midfield

        1. kev says:

          Iwobi was a Wenger favourite.Even Gervinho who was constantly bashed by fans is a better player and till today one of the best dribblers I’ve ever seen for Arsenal.The facts also back me because in the 11/12 season at a point in time he had the highest dribbles in the league consistent with what I actually saw.

          1. Th14 says:

            Iwobi was never anyone’s favorite…. he worked hard under wenger and was rewarded with game time, same thing he is doing under Emery or would you call him Emery’s favorite?

            1. kev says:

              Every coach has their favourite and it’s normal.Hayden spoke about this when he left Arsenal.If you look clearly you can see that Iwobi was favoured over Akpom who had a far more bigger impact than Iwobi at youth level and could also operate on the wings too.

              1. RSH says:

                it also depends what we needed at the time. akpom can only player striker. Iwobi can operate wide, which we didn’t have many options in, and centrally if needed. I wouldn’t call Iwobi a Wenger favorite though. He got dropped whenever he was terrible.

          2. Smtaz says:

            Wish you’d seen Liam Brady

    2. Sue says:

      I liked Afobe.. always kept an eye on him when he played for Wolves & Bournemouth (now at Stoke) just didn’t work out for him with us

      1. gotanidea says:

        Too bad he didn’t thrive at Arsenal and he doesn’t set Stoke’s field alight as well

        1. Sue says:

          He did alright at Wolves… but that’s about it

    3. kev says:

      Afobe from what I can remember was only given one chance which was an appearance from the bench against New York Red Bulls in preseason in which he was impressive.He only featured in preseason.

  2. Declan says:

    I saw him in a pre-season game a couple of years ago and a couple of times after that and he looked really impressive. Unfortunately a lot of people on here were labelling him as part of the deadwood that needed moving on and got their way, likely indirectly in the end. He will no doubt be sold on as you say and he may turn out to be another we let slip away.

    1. kev says:

      Yes, that’s the annoying thing.The player will barely get his chance and will be labelled as part of dead wood.A player like Jon Toral should also have gotten his chance but was also labelled as such.
      Chuba Akpom should’ve been given his chance in the 14/15 season where he looked so good off the bench and at times caused havoc with his speed and movement.Many youngsters will soon fall in the “deadwood” group and I’m expecting a player like Bielik to soon be labelled as such despite hardly getting a chance and being impressive in pre-season before the 17/18 season begun.

      1. Sue says:

        We sold Toral right?

        1. kev says:

          Yes, Total was sold to Hull City.He won their player of the season and he had the technique and passing ability which showed he was more than decent.

          1. Sue says:

            Cheers Kev, I thought we had… he’s done alright then. Not everyone does when they leave us!

            1. kev says:

              He was voted player of the season while still on loan from Arsenal.

  3. Sue says:

    I didn’t think Akpom was good enough (Sorry Declan ☺)

    1. Declan says:

      No problem Sue, not everyone can agree can they?
      We rate Ozil, a few ? on here don’t.

        1. ken1945 says:

          Sue and Declan, not sure if you are aware of this, but another poll has been conducted and it’s had an even bigger response than the one held on here last season.

          I am just going to give the facts and percentages, otherwise I will be accused of everything from treason to witchcraft!!

          The question asked:

          Who would you rather keep at Arsenal?
          Unai Emery or Mesut Ozil.

          Of 2822 who replied, 2806 said Ozil…216 said Unai:
          A % difference of well over 92%, hardly dividing the fanbase at present.

          Also today, Gnaby has been talking about the most gifted player he has ever played with..who do you think it was? Mesut Ozil!!!
          Another dullard professional who hasn’t got a clue about this weedy, mentally frail, non tryer.

          1. ken1945 says:

            Sorry, of 2822, 2606 for Ozil…216 for UE.
            Going to bed now, let you work out the percentages!!!

            1. Sue says:

              Yes I saw both of those articles, Ken!
              Surely we all can’t be wrong rating this ‘useless’ player ?
              I’m glad he gets some love (he gets quite a lot on Arseblog too!)

  4. ForeverGooner says:

    I’m happy with our current youngsters: Guendouzi, Smith-Rowe, Niles, Nelson, Holding

  5. Break-on-through says:

    I dislike when players pander to the fans in a really obvious way. Are you really asking us if we were wrong to let him go after he scores a goal in Greece. Akpom is a good athlete, athletics should’ve been his chosen profession, I don’t believe there’s a proper footballer in him. How you see the game, how your mind works, none of that as all I’ve ever seen was someone with good physical attributes. Walcott was a much better footballer, he knew his own strengths and he took full advantage.

    1. kev says:

      Yet Akpom is still better than many footballers.He sh0uld still have been given his chance in the 14/15 season over Giroud.He was impressive off the bench and I didn’t understand Wenger’s stance on not playing him that season.

      1. Achala says:

        Akpom over Giroud?

        You’re having a laugh, surely.

        The fact is most top6 teams’ youngsters are not good enough, at least 70 – 80 percent of them. Obviously sometimes a mistake is made – Gnabry, but if you look at all the dozens of young players we let go, you’ll be able (hopefully) to calculate we were right in about 90 percent of cases in letting them go.

        Which is comparable to other top 6 teams.

        I guess, the truth is again too boring.

        1. kev says:

          Of course Akpom over Giroud if you consider that season.Im talking only about the 14/15 where it once again seemed like Giroud could not do it all alone and was average in a lot of matches.
          Akpom deserved his chance in the EPL because he worked hard that season especially anytime he had a chance off the bench.I would’ve given him a chance because when a youngster works hard and shows some quality you need to give them a chance when you have the means to do so.Akpom could’ve also scored maybe even more than Giroud had he been given his opportunity.Even Walcott started over Giroud at CF over Giroud using pace and positioning as his main tools both of which Akpom had.If you watched that season Akpom over Giroud wouldn’t have been a big deal and even Wenger could’ve decided to use both to create a different dimension in attack.

        2. kev says:

          As for your point about being right on letting players go it’s normal.Even Chelsea upon being criticized time and time again about how they bring up youngsters have been right time after time despite having youth players who have looked promising.They have over forty players on loan.What I’d like to say is that when you have the means to give a promising young player a chance you must do so or you will regret it.Arsenal have problems in the first team such as at the wings and at CB currently.It would be right to give the promising youth players a chance over there instead of the club being happy about being justified when they let such youth players go because they weren’t good enough.

      2. iffybright says:

        Yeah Kev, He has all the necessary tools needed to excel in that attacking department… Talk about Speed, techniques, dribbling sense, He has got them

        There was a time Alexis Sanchez said, Akpom reminds him of Thiery Henry…
        He showed glimpses of Henry sometimes in his style of play…

        His decisions making most times on the field do frustrate fans..

        But anyways, Mavididi is coming up
        watch out for him guys

        1. kev says:

          Stephy Mavididi, Chris Willock,Ismael Bennacer and Donyell Malen are a few of our past academy players who are doing well.

  6. jon fox says:

    Football is a serious business and at top level there is ZERO place for anyone who is not good enough. Simple as that and Akpom falls into the not good enough category.

    1. John0711 says:

      so does mustafi, xhaka, miki,kola,iwobi,elneny,and many more

      1. ken1945 says:

        john 0711, it would be interesting to know what the list is from supporters of other clubs regarding players signed that were seen as not good enough.
        I would think every single club would have a list as long as ours, that’s the way it goes.
        Unless, of course, one believes it’s only The Arsenal that has said list!!

        1. John0711 says:

          No Ken i agree with your comment, however, two pints 1) other clubs dont charge or make the amount we do and 2) I personally dont care about other clubs. Thtas like saying Cardif spent more money than we did in Jan its irrelevant

          1. John0711 says:


    2. RSH says:

      Agree. Young players need to grow up fast. It’s cutthroat, and Akpom never showed he had the stomach. No regrets. He hasn’t even achieved anything to regret

  7. Grandad says:

    Ken I suspect the Arsenal list of “failures” would be a lot longer than those of Man city, Liverpool and Spurs.

    1. jon fox says:

      And thats the truth . Unless you go back many many years of course. But all clubs buy players who disappoint ; that is in the nature of top football. It depends on what percentage of your budget you waste on poor buys. That is where we have by comparison with our direct rivals, done SO badly in latter years. We, on Kroenkes pittance could never afford to waste such a large percentage of it on expensive flops like Xhaka and Mustafi NOR even on the countless cheaper flops like Elneny, Jenkinson, Licht (wagesonly), Almunia, Denilson, Hleb and Gervinho both good dribblers but unproductive overall and the constant stream of way sub par CB’s. THIS HUGE WASTE IS SO BADLY AFFECTING THE PRESENT SQUAD who are so woefully below strength , esp in what passes, laughably, for a “defence”! And I have not even mentioned the stupid waste of Ozils huge wage and also Mkhis too, for little or practically nothing in return.

      1. A.ball08 says:

        Was just reading an article on worst signing we have made. A small list of our hall of never quite good enough.
        And my all time favourite SEBASTIEN SQUILLACI
        I am sure There are many more..
        But then you can go back many a year and say lee Chapman. Helder. Chris Kiwomya
        There are duds in every era.
        The trick is don’t play to many in the same team at the same time.

      2. Mobella says:

        Yes our list of failure maybe longer than the others but won’t be as expensive as the others. For instance Chelsea has Morata, Bakayoko, Drinkwater, Bashuayi cost up to 200m while the jury is still out on Jorginho. I’m not making any excuses for Wenger IMO I think our failure had more to do with our lack of money at the of purchase or inability to pay extra for quality players in wages or transfer fee eg Ronaldo, Mata, Xavi Alonso etc and more recently Kante. We couldn’t give him an extra 20 or 30k but could pay more for Xhaka in transfer fee because of his less wage demand. Lacazette case also falls in that instance. Finally, I think failure like success is relative. I may see a player as a successful buy and that same player might be seen as a failure by many here.

        1. ken1945 says:

          Grandad, it’s an interesting “suspicion” that would be fascinating to explore further.
          Just look at the players spuds bought from the windfall money that Bale brought them with his sale for instance.
          £100.000.000 and how many are still there?

          We certainly have had our share of calamitous signings, not all under AW by a long shot.

          One of the funniest of these must be, in my opinion, Terry Mancini.
          He knew he was not the best, but enjoyed his football and I remeber him scoring a goal at Highbury (kenny, help please!!) where he went ballistic and run back down the pitch, bald head shining and living the moment.
          What a character he was and someone I couldn’t help loving to watch.

          My favourite AW failure, has to be Jensenn (?) the guy who scored that wonder goal at the world cup and then took seasons to score one for us!!
          Or was that one of GG’s signings?

          Could be fun to put out a team of misfits from the day one first started to support the club, a little bit of humour would be a change to all the doom and gloom at the moment.

          1. A.ball08 says:

            I believe it was gg signing and I was there when he cracked in his one and only goal for us…
            We all try to reminisce about the good old days but it was even dark back in those days..

  8. Jah son says:

    Look at Manchester United and look at Arsenal
    Look at Paul Pogba and look at Ozil
    Look what Jose did and said about Pogba
    Look what Unai have done and said about Ozil

    1. A.ball08 says:

      My old friend jah son again with a gripe against unai.
      First off I have missed your rants against the manager..all very amusing..
      You can never compare pogba with ozil.. two different players.. ones hungry and the other is totally lazy
      Stats state ozil has missed over 100 games for us for various reasons.. that is a heck of lot of games.
      You still have never mentioned who you would like to replace the manager with? Only rant about not being good enough for us.
      My first choice when the vacancy came available was allegri then Enrique then Simeone
      Didn’t mind Ancelotti . Would have taken Vieira but with a strong team behind him but not on his own.. think United have it right for now…
      But Unfortuatly we live in the real world and non would come bar maybe vieria.. all need money to spend on a squad of players not good enough
      Oh yer. We dont have any to spend due to Stan…
      So we are left with a man who is swimming against the tide..who has by the way won any honours. So let’s ease up on him and at least give him until the end of the season which is still not.long enough…
      Even arteta gave us a wide berth due to the going on up stairs..thank God for that..

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