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Arsenal: Mikel Arteta has a real diamond in Khayon Edwards

Arsenal are a side who currently boast a wealth of exciting youth talent, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Marquinhos and William Saliba already being regular fixtures in Mikel Arteta’s first team squad, while youngsters such as Charles Sagoe Jr, Nathan Butler-Oyedeji and Amario Cozier-Duberry have been lighting it up for the Gunners U21s.

However, one player who has found himself somewhat stuck between the boundaries of youth and professional football this season is Khayon Edwards, the 19-year-old centre-forward who has been in incredible form in the Arsenal academy over recent years, although is yet to make his first-team debut for Arteta’s senior side.

Indeed, over his 41 appearances for the club’s U18 side, Edwards returned astonishing numbers in the final third, hitting the back of the net on 23 separate occasions, as well as providing his teammates with a further nine assists – averaging a direct goal contribution every 98 minutes of football played for the U18 Premier League outfit.

It has been a similar story for the London-born hitman over his ten outings since making the step up to Mehmet Ali’s U21 side, bagging three goals and registering two assists – with two of these goals and one assist coming over his four Premier League 2 appearances in the 2022/23 campaign.

It is this level of form that saw the Gunners’ “wonderkid” called up to travel with Arteta’s squad to face Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League last week, however, with the Premier League side edging out a narrow 1-0 win over the Norwegian outfit, Edwards remained an unused substitute in the Arctic Circle.

However, with Arteta having clearly taken notice of the “prolific” centre-forward – who is also capable of operating from attacking midfield and on either flank – it would not appear long before the £140-per-week talent does make his first team debut – something that could see him overtake Folarin Balogun and perhaps even Eddie Nketiah in Arteta’s attacking pecking order.

Who do you think is the biggest talent?

Edwards

Edwards

Balogun

Balogun

Nketiah

Nketiah

Indeed, with it is true that Balogun is impressing out on loan with Stade de Reims – scoring six goals over 11 Ligue 1 appearances for the French side – while Nketiah has been catching the eye in the Europa League – bagging two goals over his three appearances in the competition – Edwards may just have the highest ceiling of the attacking trio.

This would look to be an opinion backed up in the transfer market, with both Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion reported to have been extremely keen on signing the 19-year-old before he put to paper on a new deal at The Emirates this summer, suggesting that both clubs are extremely encouraged by the striker’s potential for future development.

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As such, should Edwards continue to force his way into Arteta’s senior side as the 2022/23 campaign progresses, by the end of the season, the teenage diamond may well be the Spaniard’s preferred backup option to Gabriel Jesus up top – something that, considering his undoubted ability and prolific nature, will certainly be an extremely exciting prospect for supporters of the Gunners.

Article title: Arsenal: Mikel Arteta has a real diamond in Khayon Edwards

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