Arsenal confirm signing of defender Kristopher da Graca

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Arsenal have this afternoon finally confirmed the signing of a central defender, but before Gunners fans get too excited the deal applies to their a standout academy graduate who has already been with the club for more than six months.

Kristopher da Graca is the starlet in question, a tall, commanding centre-back who has already represented Sweden at youth level.

Arsenal persuaded the youngster to leave Hisingsbacka last summer in favour of furthering his development at London Colney, with that gamble now rewarded with a full professional contract.

Academy remains integral for Arsenal

The teenager turned 17 last Friday and in doing so became eligible for pro terms, an option Arsenal's new academy chief Andries Jonker has quickly decided to exercise.

Da Graca will now continue to work with Arsenal's under-18 side in the hope of eventually progressing towards first-team contention, an ambition the Gunners have time and time again proved is realistic for academy standouts coming through the ranks at London Colney.

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Arsenal fans still expect experienced additions

Arsenal are also expected to imminently confirm another agree deal for a young talent from the continent, after Polish midfielder Krystian Bielik arrived in North London to finalise a £2 million move from Legia Warsaw.

Bielik and Da Graca have both been snapped up with an eye on the future and long-term progression for Arsene Wenger's side, but that surely won't be enough to appease Arsenal fans desperate to see the first-team squad strengthened this month.

A new central defender to ease the burden on Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny remains their top priority, despite a hugely impressive shock 2-0 win over Manchester City at the Etihad on Sunday.

Time and time again this season Arsenal's injury-hit squad have made the decision to sell Thomas Vermaelen and not sign a recognised replacement look farcical, but it remains to be seen if Wenger will belatedly sign a replacement before the transfer window slams shut in a fortnight's time.

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