Arthur in Blue for Birmingham City in an FA Youth Cup game
Arsenal appear to be in the market for yet another young attacking sensation, and his name is King Arthur.
Well, not exactly. Nicknamed "King," Koby Arthur is causing quite a stir around Birmingham, where he has just signed his first professional contract with Birmingham City FC (via the club's official website).
He is certainly a raw talent. Spotted playing for Woodford FC in 2012, Birmingham's scouts quickly snapped him up on a schoolboy contract. Within months, he was training with the first team.
Arthur's story is not like the typical young Englishman who joined a youth academy as a small boy and rose through the ranks after impressing managers at all levels. Jack Wilshere's meteoric rise through the Arsenal youth ranks was still linear; he went through all the traditional channels that produce professional footballers.
Arthur only arrived in England from Ghana a mere 12 months ago, according to the Mirror. The young attacking midfielder obviously brought his love for football to Britain, as he began playing outside the Football League immediately upon his arrival.
And based on the plaudits he is receiving from his manager, Lee Clark, Arthur's ability matches the incredibility of his story. From the club's website:
It’s a real coup to have Koby tied down to a professional contract and if he keeps progressing then we may well see him make his first-team debut before the end of the season.
I have been hugely impressed with Koby and he has now become involved with the first-team group on a daily basis. He has a big future ahead of him ...
In fact, the just-turned-17-year-old Arthur made his first team debut on April 1 against Wolverhampton.
Arsene Wenger has a long history of developing young talent.
Despite recent struggles, he has been widely regarded as a preeminent surveyor (and occasionally purveyor) of talent in world football.
Wenger has nurtured such saplings as Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and, more recently, Jack Wilshere into the best players in their respective positions. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey were both bought as very raw talents.
So it would make sense for Arsenal to be interested in Arthur, and he should reciprocate if he would like to receive some of the best training available to young footballers.
Alternatively described as an attacking midfielder and a striker, not a whole lot is known about such a young player.
Arthur can play anywhere across the midfield and would seem to be cut out for a role as a second striker because he seems to fit the description of both a midfielder and forward.
Arsenal are certainly not bereft of players who can fill this role, with Wilshere, Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky all able to play there. And Wenger has said that he sees Oxlade-Chamberlain as a midfielder in the future.
But at Arsenal, Arthur will have the time he needs to develop and hone his talent. The jump from Championship football to Champions League football is obviously enormous. Spells with the reserves and in the Capital One Cup are crucial to the transformation of raw potential into reality.
But this is Arsenal: Why sign a 23-year-old entering his prime years when there is a hot young prospect ripe for the picking?