By Editor Wayne Veysey| Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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Arsenal are in advanced talks to Nigeria midfield sensations Kelechi Nwakali and Samuel Chukwueze, Football Insider sources understand.
The Gunners are confident they have beaten Manchester City to the signings of the exciting teenage pair.
The Premier League giants were among a number of leading European clubs who scouted Nwakali and Chukwueze in last year’s Fifa Under-17 World Cup in Chile.
Nwakali, 17, was named as player of the tournament, while Chukwueze, 16, also delivered a series of promising displays for Nigeria.
An Arsenal recruitment source has told Football Insider that the London giants are close to reaching an agreement on a double deal for the Nigerians and secure their signings before the end of the January transfer window.
The deals are likely to be held up while the pair await work permits to play in the UK.
Nwakali is able to sign a professional contract as he has already turned 17, but Chukwuze will only be able to sign a scholarship deal.
Arsenal are also awaiting clearance to complete the signing of Mohamed Elneny from Basle, with Arsene Wenger admitting on Monday that the deal had not been finalised as quickly as he had hoped.
“We are positive this week it can happen,” the Arsenal manager said. “There are a lot of work permit problems and other paperwork. As long as it’s not definitely signed, you have to be cautious. But I’m optimistic about the case.”