New Arsenal signing Jonathan Dinzeyi wants to copy the likes of Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah by moving from the Arsenal academy into the first team.
The 20-year-old defender made the shock move from the Gunners’ north London rivals Tottenham this week on a free transfer, mirroring the transfer Sol Campbell made in 2001.
And Dinzeyi wants to follow in the footsteps of Saka and Nketiah, who had breakthrough seasons in the 2019-20 campaign, while he also hopes to benefit from academy coach Steve Bould.
Speaking to the Arsenal official website, Dinzeyi said: ‘Knowing that Steve Bould is the head coach was a big factor for me.
‘He’s a legend at the club and he’s played in my position, so I’m really hoping I can learn from him to develop my game.
‘Seeing the likes of (Reiss) Nelson, Saka, Nketiah and (Joe) Willock getting chances was a big thing for me too.
‘That was another reason why I wanted to come here because I believe if you train hard then you’ll play well and the manager will give you the opportunity for you to show what you’re about. I’m really glad I’ve been given this opportunity.’
Both Saka and Nketiah came through Arsenal’s Hale End academy and starred for the Gunners last term as they achieved an eighth-placed finish in the Premier League but won the FA Cup for the 14th time.
Fellow academy graduates Nelson and Willock have also been regulars in the Arsenal team this year, with head coach Mikel Arteta working closely with academy director Per Mertesacker in the development of youth players.
Dinzeyi believes the way Arsenal gives opportunities to youngsters in the first team justifies his controversial switch across north London.
The defender also claims he is a boyhood Arsenal fan, despite his previous loyalties to arch-rivals Tottenham.
Dinzeyi continued: ‘It’s a great feeling (to join the Gunners). Arsenal is a massive club and they were actually the first club I supported as a child.
‘They have a great history and with the new manager coming in who likes to play a lot of young players.
‘I think it’s a great opportunity for me to show the fans and the coaching staff what I’m about. I’m really excited to get started now.’