Leeds United are hoping to complete the signing of 18-year-old Arsenal forward Sam Greenwood this week as the Whites look to bolster their academy options, according to the Athletic.
The newly promoted side, who won the EFL Championship last season, have used their promotion to the Premier League as an opportunity to significantly improve their academy, and the potential signing of Sam Greenwood seems to be just one of many Leeds will make before the window slams shut in October.
According to the Daily Telegraph, AC Milan and Manchester United are both showing interest in the Arsenal forward, however it is Leeds who lead the chase and will aim to sign the 18-year-old for an initial £1.5m, which rises to £3m with add-ons.
Greenwood is highly rated at Arsenal after signing for the Gunners as a 16-year-old from League 1 side Sunderland, an academy that has produced players such as Josh Maja, who is currently playing in Ligue 1 for Bordeaux.
The aim was for Greenwood to make a first team appearance in a few years’ time, with the England U18 international most likely playing with the senior squad in some capacity in the 2021/22 season, however with a clearer path to the first team at Leeds, the Arsenal youngster might look to make the switch to Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Arsenal’s current U23 striker, Folarin Balogun, looks set to leave the Gunners, so Sam Greenwood was deemed as his replacement. However, if he leaves, Arsenal might be left with a hole in their academy, in a position that was deemed as arguably their strongest at youth level.
Tyreece John-Jules, another option for the U23s striker spot, would benefit more from playing senior football, rather than in the youth teams, and will most likely go out on loan again, so that would leave 17-year-old Luke Plange, who only played nine games for the Arsenal U18s last season, as the man next in line.
If Arsenal didn’t sign a new striker to replace Greenwood, it would be an amazing opportunity for Plange, who was playing U16 football the previous season. The 17-year-old scored three times in his nine appearances for Arsenal’s U18 side last season, the same number as Greenwood.
The teenager is a sweet striker of the ball, with excellent technique and good dribbling, and while Greenwood would be a big loss for Arsenal’s youth team, he is far from irreplaceable in my opinion.
It is also unlikely Greenwood would have been able to force his way into the senior team, with the Englishman finding himself behind five other strikers in the pecking order, hence why Balogun is also looking to leave.
Nevertheless, Greenwood is a talented player, and it will be interesting to see if Arsenal stick with Plange to start for the U23s, or if they bring in someone else to replace him.
*all stats provided by Transfermarkt.