Ademola Lookman: Arsenal’s loss, Everton’s gain

After he netted his seventh goal of the current campaign in a narrow Boxing Day win over MK Dons, Charlton’s highly-rated teenager Ademola Lookman, is becoming increasingly close to a possible Everton move.

The 19-year-old striker, who has been linked with Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Arsenal too in recent months, is expected to command a transfer fee in the region of £10m with the upcoming transfer window fast approaching.

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 26: Daniel Powell of MK Dons (L) and Charlton’s Ademola Lookman during the Sky Bet League One match at StadiumMK. (Photo: Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images)

The Gunners have been linked with the starlet since this time last season where scouts were spotted tracking his progress at The Valley. Having signed scholarship terms in May two years ago, it has been rapid progression for the forward, especially as he previously had unsuccessful trials in his early teenage years.

At 19-years-old he’s already earned eight international caps for England at youth level and deserves to be in the same talented bracket as Chelsea forward Dominic Solanke and Liverpool’s Ovie Ejaria, both of which are significant talents in their own right and represent players that Arsenal could’ve previously acquired if there was more urgency in the transfer department.

Charlton were hoping to integrate a loan-back clause into the deal but it’s possible Everton will keep hold of the striker, provided he signs personal terms and the deal is completed. Although it may not seem so at present, this news could prove a significant blow for Arsenal in future if Lookman flourishes at Goodison Park.

He’s still a teenager, as has been a recurring theme in this article. That can be viewed differently: he has youthful exuberance, undeniable ability and a move into the top flight shouldn’t faze him. But equally he hasn’t got much senior experience and isn’t yet the finished article, so pushing him into the deep end too soon could prove less than beneficial for his development.

Chuba Akpom (21) is an example of a highly-rated forward who hasn’t been given an adequate opportunity to prove his worth in the first team ranks. When that chance has opened up, he’s either been injured or circumstances have proved troublesome for his prospects of senior minutes. There’s constant questions over whether he’s good enough to ‘make the grade’ – something Alex Iwobi has done in the last twelve months – and not getting an extended opportunity two or three seasons ago could prove decisive in his thoughts for the future.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 20: On his only senior start for Arsenal thus far this season, Chuba Akpom (far right) created an assist operating on the wing during a commanding 4-0 EFL Cup victory away against Nottingham Forest. (Photo: Shaun Botterill / Getty Images)

Alex Iwobi is an exception to the rule here as most talented youngsters aren’t given a chance centre-stage. The 20-year-old was, and as they say, the rest is history.

Although some would be reluctant to admit it, the gap between the youth ranks and Arsenal’s first team is significant. So much so that we’re willing to risk passing up on developing viable long-term options like Lookman currently, and would be prepared to spend triple or even quadruple the £10m fee that Everton will offer at present in a few years time.

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