Premier League • England

Arsenal’s ‘big boost’ in signing wonderkid Arteta loves to first professional contract

Myles Lewis-Skelly has signed his first professional deal with Arsenal.

Myles Lewis-Skelly has signed his first professional deal with Arsenal

Myles Lewis-Skelly is the latest Arsenal wonderkid to sign professional terms and the club are delighted to have fought off interest from elsewhere to keep him.

It’s his first professional contract because he’s turned 17 and follows on from Amario Cozier-Duberry and Ethan Nwaneri signing theirs as well. It’s great news for Arsenal as he is such a top quality talent.

I’m pretty sure it’ll be a three-year deal with an option of a further two. That tends to be the way when they turn 17. They’ve worked very hard to bring these talents through. These are the three big talents from the current crop coming through from Hale End. They played such a key part in getting them to the Youth Cup final last summer. The fact that they’ve managed to keep all three is a big boost to Arsenal, because there was certainly fear at least one of them would go.

It looked like Nwaneri was going to be that player. They managed to keep him even though his head had been turned by Chelsea and Manchester City. They convinced him to stay and now, with Myles doing similar and Cozier-Duberry having done so previously, it’s exactly what Arsenal wanted to do.

Mikel Arteta likes him. He’s trained with the first team a fair bit. And seeing him develop over the next year or so is going to be really interesting. I watched him in the Youth Cup run last season, he scored the winning goal in the semi-final and he’s got all the attributes you need to go on and have a very good senior career.

Obviously he’s still very young but he’s a really talented player and the fact that Arsenal have signed all three of these young wonderkids is a massive boost to the club.

When I look at him, he’s more of a box-to-box type player. He’s really powerful, he runs really well, he’s got a good eye for a pass. He runs late into the box to get on the end of things like the goal he scored in that semi-final win in the last minute against Manchester City. Everyone was out on their feet and he was the one who had the energy to make that late run into the box to get on the end of the cross and then it was a really clever glancing header. He had the quality in the final third to make the finish after that run when everyone else was really tired.

It’s down to him to continue to develop and hopefully get close to the first team. Other clubs were sniffing around, 100 percent. The level of competition is so fierce for these players before they sign their first pro contracts, Cozier-Duberry and Nwaneri were heavily targeted by other teams as well.

Nwaneri, the expectation leading up to his 17th birthday was that he was going to go. I spoke to people and they were convinced he was pretty much already gone to either Chelsea or Man City. It was just a case of him deciding which of the two clubs he was going to go to but when it came to Lewis-Skelly I always heard that the likelihood was he was going to stay.