Premier League giants Arsenal have reportedly completed the capture of 16-year-old West Bromwich Albion whizkid Lino Sousa.
According to a report from Football.London, Arsenal have made their first move in the January transfer window by poaching Lino Sousa. The Gunners have completed a deal to sign the 16-year-old West Bromwich Albion prodigy, who has already begun training with his new teammates at London Colney.
Sousa was regarded as one of the most gifted players to come out of the West Brom academy in recent years. He had been plying his trade with the club’s Under-18 setup over the past 18 months despite being only 16. He will turn 17 next week, and it appears the youngster has already given himself a birthday gift in the form of a move to Arsenal.
A left-back by trade, Sousa was a prominent figure for the West Brom youth team in the Under-18 Premier League last season. He notched up 16 league appearances, scoring two goals while providing an assist. The teenage prodigy has also represented England on a youth level, playing for the Under-16s and Under-15s.
Arsenal’s pursuit of the youngster is quite unsurprising as Per Mertesacker, the club’s academy manager, has identified the left-back area as a potential weak spot. Sousa, to that end, is likely to be drafted into the Arsenal Under-18 setup to provide additional competition for Henry Jeffcott and Tino Quamina.
If the Englishman can maintain the same level of development he had showcased at West Brom, the 16-year-old may even receive a swift promotion to the reserves, where Joel Lopez is currently the only recognised left-back available.
As for the senior team, Mikel Arteta is looking to sign a more established option amid the uncertain future of Sead Kolasinac. The Bosnian international has emerged as a potential target for Marseille, while Watford are involved in the equation as well. Kolainac’s current deal at Arsenal expires at the end of the season.
In an attempt to replace Kolasinac, the Gunners have been linked with a move for Luca Netz of Borussia Monchengladbach. However, Arsenal are likely to face stiff competition from Manchester United, with interim boss Ralf Ragnick keen on his services.
Meanwhile, Arsenal are attempting to further straighten out the futures of their youth players. While the likes of Tim Akinola, Zak Swanson, James Olayinka and Ryan Alebiosu have all been made available for a loan deal in January, Folarin Balogun has recently joined Middlesbrough on a loan deal worth around £1 million.