Photo credit: ArsenalPics.com, via Arsenal.com
Having impressed club figures while on trial at the Emirates Stadium, Semi Ajayi has signed a three-year contract with Arsenal.
According to the official club website, the Crayford-born teenager has joined up with the North London outfit as a free transfer, having left Charlton after coming through their academy.
Ajayi scored on his Under-21s debut for the Gunners against Blackburn Rovers before contributing with “another accomplished display” in the 1-0 win over West Brom’s youth counterparts, per the Arsenal website.
Indonesian Arsenal supporters, AIS Bandung, tweeted this photo of the youngster:
Semi Ajayi sblmnya status trial & bhasil menarik minat Arsenal utk mengontraknya. Dia dimainkan di match U21 vs WBA. pic.twitter.com/QCo2QZ8SBK— AIS Bandung (@AIS_BDG) September 17, 2013
A centre-back by nature, the Nigerian youth’s arrival couldn’t be timed much better considering that defence has been the main concern in Arsene Wenger’s 2013/14 campaign, although that’s not to say Ajayi will be featuring for the first team anytime soon.
The Gunners have managed to keep clean sheets in just three of their last eight outings and could do with shoring up their back line.
Despite taking such a prestigious step in his career, Ajayi was quick to credit Charlton with his development and gave thanks for the Championship club, via Twitter:
It was sad to end my ten year spell with charlton this summer but I can't speak highly enough of all of the wonderful people I met during...— Semi Ajayi (@S_Ajayi5) September 17, 2013
..my ten years there & I wish all those at @CAFCofficial the best for the future as I will always have a soft spot for the club & it's fans.— Semi Ajayi (@S_Ajayi5) September 17, 2013
The teenager had a brief loan spell at Dartford during December 2012, where he again netted on his debut, showing just what a thirst he has for goal.
However, Ajayi couldn’t prevent the Bridgemen from losing all three matches he featured in against Tamworth, Nuneaton and Lincoln City.
Despite holding no first-team experience with the Addicks, the Express has noted that Ajayi was on the verge of making his senior bow for Charlton, while Metro's James Boylan pointed out that Norwich City were in the running for his services.
Regardless, it’s Arsenal that will now seek to squeeze the best out of the 6’3” defender, who couldn’t have asked for much more in terms of where to develop his craft.