Why Arsenal have struck gold with a professional contract for Sam Greenwood
As confirmed via Arsenal’s official website, Arsenal have successfully tied down teenager Sam Greenwood to a first professional contract at the club, with the 17-year-old starlet opting to further his development in the youth ranks at the Emirates.
Greenwood, who joined Arsenal’s youth system from Sunderland last summer, racked up 10 goals and 5 assists for the club’s U-18 side to propel them to a triumphant campaign in the 2018-19 U-18 Premier League.
The talented teenager has already hit the ground running this term as well, finding the net in the recent 5-1 victory over Aston Villa.
The 17-year-old is held in high regard by the youth coaches at Arsenal and has already been tipped by many to break into Unai Emery’s senior side in the near future, although Greenwood is yet to make the step up to the U-23 development side.
The news regarding Greenwood’s first professional contract at Arsenal should come as a breath of fresh air to the fans, amidst previous interest from AC Milan and Juventus in the summer.
The Sun reported that the Serie A duo was apparently impressed with the youngster’s development and wanted to snare him away from North London but the new deal is likely to have poured cold water on those speculations linking him with a move away from his familiar surroundings.
Greenwood has also caught the eye with his prolific goalscoring form for England at the U-17 level, with the 17-year-old boasting of an eye-watering tally of 12 goals in 14 outings for the Young Lions.
As a matter of fact, the youngster netted three in three games for England U-17s at the 2019 U-17 European Championship earlier in the summer.
Interestingly, Greenwood’s first professional deal has been confirmed just a day after midfielder Joe Willock put pen to paper on a new contract with the Gunners following his impressive run of form in the opening stages of the Premier League.
Greenwood, 17, is still very young and, while he might not be fast-tracked into the senior team just yet, Arsenal securing his future certainly looks like a step in the right direction and a clear indication of the club’s renewed faith in their academy starlets.
The Gunners lost Stephy Mavididi to Juventus last summer, while yet another exciting prospect, a former Golden Ball winner at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Kelechi Nwakali completed a switch to Spanish club Huesca before the transfer deadline this season.
Despite Emery’s inclination to hand youngsters like Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Eddie Nketiah, who is currently on loan at Leeds United, some valuable playtime last season, Arsenal apparently haven’t done enough to shield their academy products from foreign interest and Greenwood’s new deal could work wonders for them in the future.
Although the potential suitors could still come knocking on the door for Greenwood’s services in the future if he continues his rapid development, the professional contract could certainly go a long way in helping the Gunners keep hold of their prized asset.
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The 17-year-old has already showcased the versatility to play in multiple attacking roles and also spearhead the attack as a centre-forward, which should prompt the hierarchy to keep a keen eye on his development.
All in all, this is a move which could pay rich dividends in the years to come.