Arsenal are reportedly leading the chase for the signing of Bournemouth prodigy Ajani Burchall, who has rejected a scholarship deal with the Cherries.
According to a report from The Sun, Premier League giants Arsenal are the front-runners to complete the signing of Bournemouth’s 16-year-old wonderkid and contract rebel Ajani Burchall.
A product of the Cherries youth academy, Burchall has been with the club since 2016. The Bermudian left-winger has risen through the youth ranks at the club rapidly and made his first-team bow in December last year coming on as a substitute in a 5-0 win over Huddersfield Town.
In the process, the 16-year-old whizkid became the third-youngest player ever to feature for Bournemouth. That, however, remains his only appearance for the south coast club so far, with his other sole appearance this term coming for the club’s youth team in the FA Youth Cup.
"𝗜 𝗳𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗮𝗳𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 – 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗮𝗿𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝗽 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝘆 𝗽𝗵𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴!"
It's been a memorable 24 hours for Ajani Burchall, who discussed his debut with afcbTV. #afcb 🍒
— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) December 13, 2020
Burchall, who turns 17 in November later this year, has rejected a scholarship deal offered by the EFL Championship outfit. This has put several clubs in the Premier League on high-alert, but Arsenal seem to be at the head of the queue to swoop for the teenage winger at the end of the season.
Arsenal, in recent times, have been strongly focusing on recruitment for their youth and reserve teams under Per Mertesacker who was appointed the Gunners’ academy manager in 2018.
Under the former Germany international, the north London side has seen an influx of a number of talented young footballers, with the likes of Nikolaj Moller, Jonathan Dinzeyi and Salah-Eddine, among others, coming through the doors last summer. More recently, Arsenal also signed Omar Rekik from Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin.
And it seems like the youth recruitment drive is set to continue at Arsenal, with Burchall the next promising, young starlet on the club’s radar. The fact that the Bermuda winger has rejected a scholarship contract from Bournemouth is an indicator that he could be ready to make the jump should a bigger club calling.
The emergence of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe as key players for Arsenal under manager Mikel Arteta could further appeal to the 16-year-old Bournemouth prodigy as he considers the next move in his fledgeling career.