Arsenal have completed the signing of youngster Tim Akinola – after breaking their ordinary transfer procedure.

Akinola, 19, was released by Huddersfield last month but has now been handed a surprise deal to link up with Arsenal ’s Under-23s.

According to The Athletic, Arsenal staff were so impressed with Akinola after video analysis that they broke their ordinary procedure of offering the youngster a trial to instantly offer him a deal.

The move comes as Arsenal place an increased focus on recruitment of ‘development players’ between the ages of 18 to 21 under the guidance of Per Mertersacker and Lee Herron, head of their talent ID department.

Raw winger Akinola, eligible to play for both Nigeria and England, only got into the academy system with Mansfield aged 16 before moving to Lincoln City in 2018/19.

He was named on the bench by Danny Cowley in the Checkatrade Trophy and featured in the FA Youth Cup before a loan spell at Lincoln United in the eighth tier.

He moved to Huddersfield after a successful trial last summer but was released this summer and has now been signed for free by Arsenal without any need to pay compensation.

Interest from elsewhere reportedly saw them worried they could miss the boat leading to the move being made without a trial period after doing their due diligence.

Unknown Norwegian George Lewis was recently snapped up from playing in the third tier in his homeland after impressing on a recent trial and is now ready to start training with Arsenal ahead of the new season.

The Gunners are planning the low risk, high reward signings with a view to strengthening their Under-23s side and potentially developing some rough diamonds into first-team players or selling players on for profit

It is claimed Mertersacker and Edu are keen to follow Chelsea ’s example and make their academy a revenue source.

There is also a need to fill the void in the academy teams left by several youngsters moving up to Mikel Arteta’s first-team squad.

 

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