By Amir Mir
Arsenal academy graduate Chuba Akpom has stated he wants to break into Arsenal’s first team this season, having picked up valuable experience on loan.
The striker was at Hull last season and he helped them gain promotion back to the Premier League, scoring seven goals in all competitions.
Now he wants to emulate his close friend Alex Iwobi, who impressed the Arsenal supporters last season.
“The aim for this season is to get as much game time for Arsenal as I can and hopefully have an impact on the first team,” Akpom told Squawka.
“I’ve gone on loan, gained a lot of experience and I have come back more prepared, so hopefully I’ll get as much minutes for Arsenal.”
Gunners first-team regular Olivier Giroud is currently on an extended break after his participation at Euro 2016, but the target-man has received criticism from supporters over his performances in recent years.
The France international scored 16 goals last term, but went on a 15-game goal drought which infuriated supporters as they missed out on yet another league title.
Akpom started the club’s 2-1 win over French side Lens on Friday, and impressed manager Arsene Wenger by showing great-link up with fellow academy player Iwobi.
Wenger’s side have travelled to the States for two pre-season friendlies with Akpom keen to trust his manager’s judgment.
“As a young player you have to be patient to get your opportunity,” said Akpom. “The boss knows what he’s doing all the time, he knows when to put you in at the right time, so you just have to be ready and prepared and keep mentally focused.”
“I’ve gone on loan and I think that’s benefited me. It’s all helped me because now I’ve matured as a player and hopefully this season can be a big season for me and Arsenal.”
The north London club have failed to sign a number of striker targets so far this summer, with Leicester forward Jamie Vardy opting to sign a new contract with the club.
Akpom, 20 is keen to play in different roles for the club if it means he can build upon the four senior appearances he has made since 2013.
“Of course. I’ve played on the flanks a few times for Arsenal so yes I think I could play there, I can dribble, I can run,” said Akpom.
“It’s a big task defensively as well. If I got the chance to play there I would love to, the main thing is playing for the team and contributing, making an impact.”
Arsenal begin their charge of the Premier League title at home to Liverpool on 14 August as Wenger looks to add a fourth league title to his cabinet.
In other Arsenal team news, this senior defender is set to miss up to five months of action.