Arsenal are preparing to confirm that Alex Iwobi has agreed a new contract that will see him stay at the club until 2021.
The 19-year-old attacker only signed a new contract six months ago in a deal that ran until 2019 and saw him earn £10,000-a-week. However, Arsene Wenger was keen to reward Iwobi after his rapid progression into his first-team plans and offered him a significant pay rise to £30,000-a-week.
The news was originally reported by the Daily Mirror, but that report was soon refuted by Sky Sports, who insisted talks between Iwobi and Arsenal were still ongoing and nothing had been agreed. However, the ever reliable Guardian journalist David Hytner has now claimed that the Mirror were right and that Arsenal fans can expect an official announcement soon.
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Now a fully-fledged Nigeria international, Iwobi has taken significant steps since impressing on Arsenal's pre-season tour of Asia last July. He had expected to go out on loan, but Wenger kept him close, allowed him to integrate with the first-team in training and unleashed him at the perfect time.
A surprise start against Barcelona in the Champions League was followed by impressive Premier League performances against Everton and Watford, both of which he scored in. He now looks set to play a significant part as Arsenal's season draws to a close.
Joining the club as an eight-year-old, Iwobi's emergence as an exciting talent has been a breath of fresh air for the Gunners. In what has otherwise been a disappointing campaign, the winger stands as one of the few genuine positives.
Not only did he score in the 4-0 win over Watford but laid on an assist for Alexis Sanchez and also hit the bar with an audacious curling effort. It was a performance that gave Wenger a reason to wax lyrical.
"The fans have seen many good players over the years and they know straight away when a player has something special, so they acknowledge that," Wenger told the club's website.
"You cannot cheat people. They've seen how quickly he's improved and how well he's played. It's surprising how quickly he has integrated into our game.
"He's worked with us since the start of the season and he has grown, gained confidence and when he came in he had an impact straight away. I didn't expect that level of efficiency or impact on the scoresheet."
Ahead of Theo?
He is expected to continue his rise against West Ham on Saturday with Theo Walcott likely to stay on the substitute's bench as a result.
Is Alex Iwobi already ahead of Theo Walcott in Arsenal's pecking order? Have your say in the comment box below!
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