Arsenal opinion: Gunners should sign Luther James-Wildin
According to Football.London, Arsenal’s hunt for defensive reinforcements have taken them to an unlikely option, with the report claiming that the Gunners are weighing up a shock move for Stevenage right-back Luther James-Wildin.
The same report claims that the 21-year-old was watched closely by the Gunners scouts last season, as the talented youngster earned rave reviews for his consistent, impressive performances in the fourth-tier of English football.
Luther James-Wildin accumulated 1 goal and 3 assists in 39 appearances for Stevenage in League Two this past season, as Dino Maamria’s side finished 10th in the standings and narrowly missed out on a playoff spot.
That, however, might be enough for the right-back to secure a coveted move to the Premier League this summer after just a single season in the fourth division, with Arsenal apparently keeping close tabs on the 21-year-old.
James-Wildin, who has already been capped twice by Antigua and Barduba at the senior international level, has progressed by leaps and bounds over the past 12 months under the watchful eyes of Dino Maamria.
There is a reason why the right-back is held in such high regard at Broadhall Way and there is certainly no doubt regarding his obvious talent and huge potential.
Stevenage might have failed to challenge for promotion to League One but they have carved out a reputation for nurturing young talents, nevertheless.
The £1.4million sale of England U-20 star Ben Wilmot to Premier League club Watford last year is the testimony to the kind of hard work that the club has put in towards the development of young players in their ranks.
And Luther James-Wildin, who impressed with his athletic displays last season, might be the next in line at Broadhall Way to make his name in the Premier League.
To put things into perspective, it is a no-brainer that the Gunners are in the market for a new right-back this summer following the departure of Stephan Lichtsteiner, however, their links with the Stevenage prodigy comes as a bit of a surprise.
With all due respect to James-Wildin’s potential, it has to be remembered that there is a massive difference between League Two and the Premier League, both in terms of quality and competition.
It would be a momentous task for the 21-year-old to make the step up to the top-flight after just a single season in the lowest division of the Football League system.
Hector Bellerin is likely to miss the opening six weeks of the season due to the cruciate ligament injury that he had suffered in the previous campaign and with Lichtsteiner now gone, Unai Emery has a lot of thinking to do to in order to fill the void.
Carl Jenkinson could be an obvious choice but he has failed to nail down a spot at Arsenal over the last eight years or so and the Gunners look prepared to move him on.
Calum Chambers is also back from his season-long loan spell at Fulham but it doesn’t look like he has a future at the Emirates, whilst Emery might be tempted to continue with midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles as a makeshift right-back in the opening stages of the upcoming season.
Even if Arsenal go ahead with their interest in Luther James-Wildin and complete a deal for the 21-year-old, he would probably link up with the club’s elite developmental squad initially and it will then be up to him to make it to the first-team in the coming days, which is the normal routine for any young player coming through the door.
Given the lack of defensive depth at the Emirates, opportunities might present themselves for the youngster to get a taste of Premier League action, although it seems unlikely that Arsenal would look at him as a first-team player in the top-flight next season.
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Nevertheless, Luther James-Wildin seems to be a real talent and the Gunners might as well have a gem on their hands if he goes on to fulfil his promise in the years to follow.