Arsenal’s Chuba Akpom may be the final signing of the January window for Steve Bruce and upper management. Akpom’s goal record leaves much to be desired, but it does not paint his whole picture.
In order to bolster a beleaguered strike force, Steve Bruce wants to bring in Chuba Akpom on loan. Akpom, the 21-year old striker at Arsenal, played a total of one match for the Gunners this term – an 83 minute start in the League Cup.
Arsène Wenger is keen on Akpom despite his relatively unimpressive return since his 2013-2014 Premier League debut. Chuba is just one of the many talented youth players Arsenal routinely churns out.
Manager Steve Bruce is very familiar with Akpom after all; he spent the entire season on loan at Hull City last season where he logged 1799 minutes of league football at age twenty. The goal return? Not so great. Akpom netted three goals with one assist in that time.
But do not let that paltry record fool you; there are some underlying statistics that offer promise of better future performance. For starters, his pass success rate was 83.3% at Hull City. 83% for a forward often deployed as the lone target forward at age twenty. Moreover, Akpom’ season WhoScored rating rested at 6.51, suggesting modest performance.
Gabby Agbonlahor for comparison’s sake? 6.24 at the time of this writing.
Where Akpom really shines, however, is on the international stage. Akpom featured at every level for England from U-16 to U-21. For England, Akpom averages nearly a goal every two matches – the gold standard for center forwards around the world. He is not cap tied on the senior level and remains eligible to represent Nigeria.
Where would Akpom line up in a new look Aston Villa? Henri Lansbury, James Bree, Birkir Bjarnason, and Conor Hourihane (?) strengthened competition in key places. Jonathan Kodjia and the Ivory Coast were eliminated in AFCON 2017; he is set to return shortly. Ross McCormack seemingly has his Villa days numbered.
Chuba Akpom would serve as an alternative to Jonathan Kodjia and a weapon to use from the bench. A triumvirate of: Kodjia, Akpom, and Agbonlahor offers versatile styles of play which theoretically complement each other (even if 2/3 have yet to prove they can score).
Akpom’s age, international resume, and status at Arsenal are enough alone to take a chance on through loan. If it ends poorly, so what it is only a six month loan. It goes well? Maybe Villa take a chance on the buy option and test their luck again next season in the Championship.