By Matt Farr
Arsenal are prepared to let young goalscorer Chuba Akpom leave the club on loan in January, according to a report.
The Daily Mirror claim a host of Championship clubs are battling to bag Akpom’s signature in the winter transfer window.
It is said that Cardiff and Fulham are the latest sides to show an interest in addition to his former club Brentford, who took the England youth international on loan two years ago.
Each side could use more goals in their team, with Fulham just four points behind a play-off place, while Cardiff need goals to lift themselves out of the relegation zone.
Akpom is close to returning from a back injury that has kept him out since September, and it is reported that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is keen for him to continue his development in a regular first-team environment.
The 21-year-old spent last season on loan at Hull City, but amid fitness concerns for some of Arsenal’s regular attacking stars, Wenger assured him of a greater role at Emirates Stadium at the start of the current campaign.
However, with the likes of Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez returning to the fray, coupled with Akpom’s own injury problems, the youngster has yet to feature in the Premier League.
His one appearance this season came in the 4-0 EFL Cup victory over Nottingham Forest in September.
During his loan spell with Hull last season, Akpom’s seven goals in all competitions helped the Tigers achieve promotion back to the Premier League, and Wenger is hoping he can follow a similar path with another Championship outfit for the remainder of the season.
Football Insider verdict:
Arsenal would be making the right decision in letting Akpom leave on loan. Given the current form of Alexis Sanchez in the centre-forward role, not even Olivier Giroud can get into the first-team; and it would be wise not to leave a young talent like Akpom wasting away on the bench or in the reserves. Akpom has the potential to become a part of Arsenal’s first-team in the future, but only with the right development. His injury was an unfortunate setback, but the January transfer window has come at an excellent time.