If there’s one player from the academy in the last five years Arsenal fans wanted to succeed the most, it was Chuba Akpom.
The striker, who joined the club at the age of six, was seen rather early on in his career as a player with some potential. Akpom made his Arsenal U-18 debut at just the age of 15 and was named on the first-team bench in a Champions League game against Olympiakos when he was 17 in the 2012/13 season.
He scored his first goals for the club the following pre-season, scoring four times during Arsenal’s tour of southeast Asia and finally getting his first taste of professional football as a substitute in a 3-1 win away to Sunderland, a game notable for being the debut of one Mesut Ozil.
Although Akpom continued to score plenty for the Arsenal youth teams in both domestic and European competitions, first-team opportunities were just too hard to come by with Olivier Giroud playing well for the Gunners, resulting in the English striker being sent out on loan come December.
His first of six loan-spells away from north London, Akpom’s forgettable time in Brentford was followed by yet another unremarkable few months at Coventry City, and then Nottingham Forest, three teams in which he failed to score a single goal for.
His fourth team, Hull City, would prove to be his most successful club in England where Akpom scored on his debut and netted a hat-trick in the FA Cup for the Tigers, but yet again the striker failed to live up to the hype he created for himself at Arsenal.
Two more loans at Brighton and Belgian side Sint-Truiden, where Akpom bagged six goals in 16 appearances, and Arsenal decided to cut their losses with their once-promising striker, and the attacker ended a 16-year stay in north London for a move to Greece at PAOK.
This should be where the story ends, but Akpom has already achieved some remarkable feats in Thessaloniki.
As well as being a well-liked member of the team and a player adored by fans, the striker has managed some good form for the club, scoring five goals and assisting three as PAOK not only claimed their first Greek league title in over 30 years but do it undefeated as Invincibles, something Akpom’s boyhood team achieved when he was only nine-years-old.
Arsenal fans, was Akpom wasted at the Gunners? Let us know!
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