According to ESPN FC, Arsenal is close to completing the double signing of Nigeria Under-17 starlets Kelechi Nwakali and Samuel Chukwueze.
The duo, both midfield prospects, played starring roles in Nigeria’s win in last year’s FIFA U17 World Cup held in Chile. Nwakali, aged 17, was named as the player of the tournament and captained the young Nigeria side, with Chukwueze, 16, also impressing.
The two have been scouted by a host of Europe’s major clubs. Bayern Munich and Manchester City have been heavily linked with the two and it seems that Arsenal have beaten both clubs to the youngsters’ signatures.
Both players are reportedly associated with the All Star Junior Academy, although Chukwueze’ economic rights are partly owned by Diamond Football Academy. Arsenal will pay a combined fee of £3 million for the duo.
According to the Guardian, however, the deal is not yet sealed with Diamond Football Academy’s general manager, Prince Apugo, indicating their future has not yet been decided.
“Both players have great potentials and we cannot afford to let money becloud our judgment in choosing a club for them. Our priority is their development and we are determined to ensure this is put into consideration before we accept any offers for them. Already we are deep in discussions and have gone very far with a big club with a rich history of encouraging young players and giving them chances.
“At the fullness of time, when the deal is sealed the whole world will know and agree with us that we made the best choice for the players.”
The potential signing of the duo is a coup considering the interest from Bayern and City. Arsenal and Arsene Wenger’s reputation as a club and manager who give opportunities to youth will surely help, as indicated by Apugo.
If the deal is officially confirmed, the duo will join Mohamed Elneny, whose transfer is due to be completed this week, as Arsenal’s January signings.