Why Liverpool and others want Arsenal’s unexposed striker

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Every so often a rumour breaks loose which slices through the well-trampled storylines of the transfer window and the latest one linking Liverpool to a swoop for Arsenal’s teenage striker Chuba Akpom is cut straight from said cloth.

So why then, would Liverpool and German powerhouses Borussia Dortmund among other notables, be sizing up bids for a 19-year-old who has only featured half-a-dozen times for Arsenal’s first team, despite being at the club since he was six?

The first reason is undoubtedly Akpom’s contract situation, which, perilously for 9/4 FA Cup favourites Arsenal, is due to expire in the summer.

Given the lack of game time at the Emirates it’s unsurprising the England U20 striker is keen to weigh up his options at a pivotal point in his career.

Then there are the goals, maybe not in the handful of late entrances from the bench for the senior team, but Akpom’s youth career for club and country hints at a dazzling future.

Last season alone the talented frontman netted 15 times in just 23 appearances for Arsenal’s academy sides.

Like his youth development in north London, Akpom’s international career has also revealed tons of promise, representing four different England age groups and boasting a record of a goal less than every 2.5 games.

For a manager who regards pace as a key attribute such as Brendan Rodgers, it won’t have gone unnoticed that Akpom broke Arsenal’s sprint record in October of last year too.

Even in lieu of these stats the Newham-born striker is still some way down the pecking order at Arsenal, where once again Arsene Wenger waited until the last throes of the FA Cup tie at Brighton before throwing him on.

This is a development to watch with genuine interest as the January transfer window heads for the finish line.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.