Youth is a double-edged sword in football.
On one hand, you have the vigour and capacity to run at full pelt for the majority of the ninety minutes. You recover quicker from injuries as the wear and tear of excessive physical activity hasn’t quite supped all the vitality from your joints.
It also means that you lack a certain amount of experience that gives you an edge in the tight games. You also haven’t built up trust with thr manager and the fanbase. You haven’t shown them what you can do.
Arsenal have had a glut of youth players through the doors at London Colney, and another one seems set for the exit door, having never really been given an adequate chance in a Gunners shirt.
Chuba Akpom seems set to be joining PAOK Salonika in Greece for a reported 2m Euros, after appearing close to joining Belgian club St Truiden after impressing on loan last season. The move to PAOK is very nearly complete, but there are rumours of a late move from Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, who are desperate for new signings - and Chuba Akpom could be a real gem for the Glasgow side.
Akpom has been part of the first team makeup since 2013, whedn he was a 17 year old. In those five years, Akpom has made just four appearances in Arsenal colours, as Wenger repeatedly sent him on loan.
Six clubs, six loan spells, in just five seasons. Brentford, Coventry, Nottingham Forest, Hull City, Brighton and Sint Truiden in Belgium all acquired Akpom’s services temporarily, but did he do enough on loan to warrant inclusion in Arsenal’s plans?
The short answer is no. Akpom has talent, but ruthless in front of goal? His goal ratio never reached a point where he could claim to be knocking down the door of Wenger or Emery for squad inclusion. He has pace, he has good awareness and he could be a very useful player for a Championship side, but the Arsenal dream seems to be over.
His international record was far better, scoring regular goals at all England youth levels including Under-21 level. Akpom seems to be like Welbeck, but not quite as intricate in building up play, and Akpom has a golden chance to show what he can do - either in Greece or at Rangers, where he would play in front of packed crowds at every home game.
Gerrard could well do with a player like Akpom, who, having been schooled at Arsenal, will no doubt possess that bit of nous that the regular youth players will lack.
The problem is though, is Akpom is now 22.
Also, compare him to another starlet - Eddie Nketiah - and it is clear to see that Akpom needs to find regular playing time.
We wish you well Chuba, you always gave your all in the jersey.