Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger continues to bolster his side’s back line this transfer window with news of the acquisition of Norwegian teenage centre-back sensation, Eric Tobias Sandberg.
Ever since the signing of Granit Xhaka early in the summer and the surprise signing of relative unknown Takuma Asano from Japanese side Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Wenger has come a bit unstuck in his bid to sign a big name up front.
Failed attempts to capture the signature of Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy, followed by news that Arsenal look set to miss out on Napoli star Gonzalo Higuain, have left Gunners fans feeling a little deflated.
A recent flurry of activity that included the addition of U21 defender Rob Holding and the reported interest in two further defenders, suggest that Wenger has turned his attentions to his defensive options for the coming season and now, as reported by the Sun, the signing of Sandberg from Norwegian side Lillestrom SK, would appear to confirm that theory.
Sandberg, 16, will initially join the London club on a scholarship, as given his age, he cannot sign a professional contract until he turns 17 in February. Obviously part of Wenger’s long-term vision for the club, Arsenal fought off the interest from Premier League rivals Manchester United in order to sign the promising centre back.
The Norway U16 captain will surely not see first team football for some time but given the high regard in which he has been held since Arsenal scouts spotted him during an U16 international against England U16 earlier this year, the expectation is that he will develop through the youth team and might break into the first team before the end of his teenage years.
At the rate at which Wenger is acquiring defenders this summer, you would be forgiven for thinking the Frenchman is about to field a 6-2-2 formation next season.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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