Arsenal have confirmed that young midfielder Ben Sheaf has signed his first professional contract with the club, almost a year after joining the Gunners from West Ham.
The England youth international has pledged his future to the Emirates Stadium after becoming an important asset in the U18’s side. The 17-year-old has made 12 appearances for them this season, and has clearly made enough of an impression for the powers that be, and more importantly Arsene Wenger, to believe he has what it takes to be a force in the future.
According to the Daily Star, Arsenal confirmed the news via a statement which read: "Everyone at Arsenal would like to congratulate Ben on his first professional contract and looks forward to his continued development at the club."
"Everyone at Arsenal would like to congratulate Ben on his first professional contract and looks forward to his continued development at the club."
The update provides another boost for fans hoping to see a continuation of the club’s long-standing method of placing their faith in rising stars, with the duo of Chuba Akpom and Francis Coquelin having only signed new deals last week.
Akpom rejected interest from the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool to ensure he remained true to the club who gave him his first chance in football, whilst Coquelin’s stock is at an all-time high following a string of impressive performances.
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Whilst Sheaf might not yet be in their calibre of notoriety he’s certainly taken a positive step in the right direction, with it now assumed that he will battle for recognition from Wenger.
Indeed the youngster was poached from West Ham last year, turning down a contract there in order to switch to their London rivals, prompting the theory that he’s always been considered one to watch.
Of course as it stands Wenger has plenty of other things occupying his mind, with Saturday’s 2-1 loss in the north London derby posing all manner of issues. Not only did Tottenham’s victory propel them above the Gunners in the Premier League table, but it also allowed the likes of Southampton and Manchester United to extend the gap between Arsenal and the top four positions.
One ray of light is the possible return of Alexis Sanchez, who could return to the fold to face Leicester City tomorrow evening having been absent for the trip to White Hart Lane. Wenger has confirmed the Chile international may even start, although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been ruled out as he continues his recovery from injury.