Arsenal’s global search for talent is continuing with a look at exciting Georgian defender Nika Chanturia. The 17-year-old centre back is in the second week of his fortnight stay with the club, and has already left a good impression on the coaching staff. A tall, composed and technical defender, he fits the bill of a classic Arsenal player, and has had no shortage of admirers. Arsenal were offered a look at Georgia Under-17 captain Chanturia a month ago, by an agency that represents him. I understand that the club are usually against taking players based on recommendations, but he was spotted previously.
Take Robin van Persie out of the equation, and it’s been a very good summer so far for Arsenal. Top targets Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud have been acquired, while deals are at an advanced stage for midfield cavalry in the form of Santi Cazorla and Nuri Şahin. But Arsène Wenger looks set to miss out on his luxury signing – 17-year-old French sensation M’Baye Niang – after failing to agree a deal with Caen.
Arsène Wenger has once again entrusted Owen Coyle with the development of one of his top prospects, after allowing Benik Afobe to move to Bolton on loan. Arsenal have accepted loan offers from both Millwall and Bolton for the 19-year-old, and Afobe has opted to move to the latter, after Wenger gave the switch his blessing earlier this week. Afobe, who has also spent time on-loan with Huddersfield Town and then Reading.
It’s been mooted for around 12 months, but will finally come into place next season. The Premier League will scrap it’s existing Reserve League format, in favour of a new Under-21 tournament. The changes are brought in less than two years after the last overhaul of the reserves system, when the league was divided into groups A, B and C, as opposed to the previous North and South divide. The new league will be strictly for Under-21 players only.
Arsène Wenger had to be convinced to sign Thomas Eisfeld in January. He’s glad he did now. Arsenal had been expecting to sign out-of-contract Eisfeld this summer, but were forced to move in January, over fears that his club Borussia Dortmund were ready to offer bumper terms, to make him stay in Germany. Wenger described bringing the 19-year-old to North London, six months early, as an opportunity to allow him time to settle.
Pedro Botelho departed Arsenal this week in the same way in which he arrived – as a virtual unknown, with serious question marks over his commitment and attitude. Botelho signed for Arsenal five years ago, joining from Brazilian Série A side Figueirense, after the club had lost out on another South American flyer – Ángel di María. An outlandish character from the streets of party town Salvador, Pedro had been a beach footballer.
Arsène Wenger has handed Francis Coquelin the opportunity to become Arsenal’s next great defensive midfielder, and with it, save the club a substantial sum of money. Arsenal scouts have been to France, Norway, Belgium and then back to France in the hunt for a prime defensive midfielder in the last 12 months, but they are yet to appease Wenger. Yann M’Vila, Kara Mbodj, Lucas Biglia and Étienne Capoue have all been extensivily watched.
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