Sunday, January 13, 2008

Arsenal Close In On Freeman Transfer

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has stated that the North London giants are close to signing 15 year-old Gillingham starlet Luke Freeman. The English striker is the youngest player ever to have featured in the FA Cup after coming on against Barnet in the first round of the competition at the tender age of 15 years and 233 days.

Wenger, who has been criticized for relying too heavily on foreign players, emphasized that most of his current youth crop are English, and that he would continue to spend on young English talent.

"Yes, we will be pushing [the Freeman deal] through," said the Arsenal boss.

"I met the boy and I like him. He has personality and he looks alert. He's a striker and to play in a first team at 15 years of age is something special.

"We were quite well on the case and we are very positive that we will find an agreement with the club without going to compensation. We will pay them a transfer."

Wenger, who is renowned for his talent-spotting ability, is well aware of the risk taken in signing such young players.

"The more you go down [in ages] the greater the margin of error," he said. "Sometimes you see a player at 13 and you think 'absolutely amazing' then two years later he has disappeared.

"But our target is to produce good players and I believe we are on the right road with the way we want to work throughout the Club.

"I know how much the English national team means here to people. To contribute to that would be a big pride as well. At the moment it is not my first responsibility.

"But I have been accused of only buying foreign players and I would like to contribute to the quality of English football."

"I want to buy English," he added.