Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta promotes academy duo to first-team training after U-turn

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has promoted academy duo James Olayinka and Tim Akinola to first-team training ahead of the Premier League clash against Norwich this weekend. The Spaniard has been working with depleted numbers at London Colney due to the international break and that’s given him a chance to take a look at the club’s next generation of stars pushing for the first-team.

The break may have been welcomed in north London following Arsenal’s disastrous start to the new Premier League campaign.

Arsenal were beaten 2-0 by Brentford before also being downed 2-0 on home soil by London rivals and European champions Chelsea.

Arteta then took his side to the Etihad to face Manchester City where they were hammered 5-0 on a demoralising afternoon for the club.

Now it’s do-or-die time for Arteta, who is in a fight to keep his job after spending in excess of £150m this summer.

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Last December, when Arteta was on the brink he trusted in the club’s youth players to pull Arsenal from the dirt and they duly obliged to spare his blushes.

Now it appears the Arsenal boss is already looking at the next wave of talent, promoting both Olayinka and Akinola to first-team training, as per football.london.

Midfielder Olayinka spent last season out on loan at Southend United, who were relegated from League Two.

He managed to score twice in 20 outings during his time at Roots Hall as he looks to build on his senior experience with The Shrimpers.

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Meanwhile, Arsenal have performed a U-turn with Akinola, who they were preparing to send out on loan this season.

That never happened though with the 20-year-old now set to stay at Arsenal to continue playing regularly at youth team level.

He played 22 times for the Under-23s last season in the PL2 Division 1 and now Akinola is looking to kick on.

The youngster has impressed behind the scenes at Arsenal after he left Huddersfield in 2019 to join the Gunners.

There could be an extra midfield role in Arteta’s squad up for grabs if Galatasaray return for Mohamed Elneny.

Arsenal have rejected an offer from the Istanbul club to sign the player before tomorrow’s Turkish transfer deadline.

Initial talks over a new contract at Arsenal were held at the start of the summer but the discussions are understood to have died down.

Galatasaray will have to seriously raise their offer if they are to land Elneny, who is out of contract in 2022.

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