Arsenal forward of Nigerian decent, Ethan Nwaneri, has signed a new two-year scholarship deal with the club, ending speculations over his future.
The England U-17 international memorably became the Premier League’s youngest-ever player when he made his debut aged 15 years and 181 days in September’s 3-0 win over Brentford.
With Martin Odegaard missing, Fabio Vieira occupied the number 10 role at the Gtech Community Stadium and made way in the final minute for Nwaneri, who broke the previous record set by a 16-year-old Harvey Elliott.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta explained that he had a “gut feeling” about Nwaneri, but the 16-year-old has since been demoted back down to the youth team to continue his development.
Under the tutelage of U-18 manager Jack Wilshere, Nwaneri scored four goals and set up three more in 10 Premier League 2 appearances last term, featuring as a number 10, left winger and centre-forward.
The Englishman also played a major role in Arsenal’s run to the final of the FA Youth Cup, scoring two goals in five games as the Gunners suffered a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of West Ham United in the showpiece match.
Nwaneri’s previous schoolboy terms were due to expire this summer, and both Manchester City and Chelsea were reportedly ready to go head-to-head for his signature amid doubts over his future.
Chelsea poached Omari Hutchinson from the Gunners’ academy last year, but Nwaneri has instead committed his future to Arsenal, whom he has represented since 2015, and he can sign a professional contract when he turns 17 next year.
Nwaneri is one of 13 scholars to have penned new contracts in North London – a list that also includes highly-rated midfielder Myles Lewis-Skelly, who represented the first team during the friendly Dubai Super Cup tournament over the winter alongside Nwaneri.