Arsenal are well known for bringing through talented young players. They, more than any other club, can perhaps claim to have the best youth development academy in the country.
One of the young men to come through their academy recently is Alex Iwobi, a winger cum forward who has already started to push for a place in the first team despite only being 21.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1996, Alex Iwobi came to England as a four-year-old. He is the nephew of ex-Bolton maestro Jay-Jay Okocha and it is clear that talent runs in the family.
Brought to the Arsenal Academy while still at primary school and was part of the England youth set-up, Iwobi’s early promise provided England fans hope that a new talent was emerging.
However, the forward elected to play for the country of his birth rather than for the Three Lions. Alex Iwobi played his first full international match for Nigeria in October 2015 when he came on as a substitute in the Super Eagles game against DR Congo.
His flexibility should excite Arsenal fans as having a player with quality and versatility will be a massive advantage especially if you consider that The Gunners are playing in multiple competitions this season.
Arsenal’s prospect has attracted a number of bettors utilising one of SkyBet’s free bet offers, with their status as outsiders in the Premier League title race.
It is the league that will always take priority for Arsène Wenger’s side but with a Champions League place up for grabs for the winner of the Europa League, it will likely be another competition that the North London side will surely be desperate to win.
Alex Iwobi has already deputised for Mesut Ozil when the German international has been out of the side and was excellent when given his chance last season.
The Nigerian International scored in both his first and second Premier League start in 2015/16, against Everton and Watford respectively, exciting the fans and announcing himself to the world. His performances were good enough to earn him a new contract which he signed in October 2015.
Iwobi’s first ever Champions League goal came against Basel in a 4-1 away win in Switzerland during the final group stage match of the following season. His team mate Lucas Pérez bagged a hat-trick in the same match.
His promise was becoming more apparent last season and he ended up with 4 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions.
Both his coaches and the fans can rightly expect more production from him this season and the early signs are good. Only two attacking midfielders have completed more short key passes so far in the Premier League this season and he has a pass completion rate of 91%, the fourth best in the Arsenal squad.
As Arsene Wenger keeps reminding him, the one thing he lacks clearly in his game is goals and composure in front of the goal. Him rectifying his not so impressive goals and assists stats since breaking into the team, will definitely go a long way in convincing the boss about his credentials and ability in stepping into the shoes of Mesut Ozil when the German does indeed decide to leave the club.
He was a major part of the side that won the FA Cup last season and fully deserved his winner’s medal despite not actually featuring in the final itself.
Over the course of the next few seasons Alex Iwobi is a name which we all will be hearing a lot more of almost certainly and let’s hope he continues to thrive and grow as a Gooner.
If the Gunners are to be successful on multiple fronts this season then players like Iwobi could be key in ending the season with some much needed silverware.
With no guarantee over the futures of players like Ozil or Sanchez, exceptional academy talents like Iwobi are what the team needs now more than ever given the highly inflated market facing the English teams. Certainly it’s what Arsene Wenger will prefer and be highly proud of if Iwobi does indeed go on to justify the manager giving him a chance at such an young age and showing what he is truly capable of in the coming years.
Lets hope the best of Alex Iwobi comes out soon and in Arsenal colours only.
Till the next thought
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