By Alex Taylor
Chuba Akpom will not be loaned out of Arsenal at the start of pre-season, according to a report.
The Telegraph claims that the young forward has been told he is staying for the early days of the new season and will be given the chance to stake his claim to lead the Gunners attack against Liverpool on Sunday week.
Arsenal are still trying to sign a new a striker but, with bids turned down already this summer for Jamie Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette, Arsene Wenger has told Akpom to stay for now and try to take his chance.
Arsenal’s pursuit of a marquee forward appeared to close the door on Akpom and at least give him the opportunity of a loan move in search of regular first-team football.
But Olivier Giroud’s late return to pre-season training and a lack of progress with transfer negations leaves just wide men Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott as the main competition to the 20-year-old Akpom to lead the Arsenal attack in their Premier League opener in 10 days’ time.
However, Walcott admitted he would like to go back to being known as a wide player this week, it leaves the door open for the 20-year-old to make a contribution.
Akpom spent last season on loan at Hull City, scoring seven goals as he was part of a team that won promotion to England’s top tier via the Championship play-offs.
In other Arsenal transfer news, Bayern Munich ace David Alaba has named Theo Walcott as one of his three toughest opponents.