The 19-year-old signed a new deal with the club last January [via BBC Sport] and has been on the cusp of the first team over the past couple of seasons.
He staked his claim to be involved in manager Arsene Wenger’s plans for the new campaign by scoring a hat-trick in the Gunners’ first pre-season game against a Singapore Select XI in the Barclays Asia Trophy earlier this month, and also impressed as a substitute against Lyon at the weekend.
His path to the first team is currently blocked by the likes of Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott, who can operate through the middle or out wide, but the England U20 international is hoping to repay the faith that Wenger has shown in him during pre-season: “The main thing for me is for a manger to have confidence and faith in me so for the manager to say that he isn’t after another striker is good,” the youngster told Sky Sports.
“But the hard work doesn’t stop there it means you have to maintain a place and there are a lot of good strikers and goals in the team so hopefully his season I can give it my all and be involved in the team.
“I’d prefer to stay here and fight for a place and give it my all and compete with the other strikers.
“There is a lot of talent in the team but I think I am capable of competing and getting a place in the team, it’s all down to hard work,” Akpom added.
It remains to be seen whether Wenger is being serious about his comments regarding not bringing in a new centre-forward before the transfer window closes in just under a month’s time [via Express Sport], but he’s been linked with a host of strikers since the start of the summer.
Numerous media outlets including Mirror Sport firmly believe that Real Madrid hitman Karim Benzema could make a switch to the Emirates Stadium in the near future provided Los Blancos are able to secure a suitable replacement for the Frenchman.
There have also been reports [via Telegraph Sport] that Wenger will turn to Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski if his attempts to sign Benzema prove unsuccessful and the Polish international is likely to cost in the region of £35 million, according to Sky Sports.
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With the North London outfit looking well placed to mount a genuine title challenge for the first time in over a decade, there will be question marks over whether Akpom is ready to lead the line given the fact he is yet to register a senior goal.