Arsene Wenger confirmed that Arsenal have agreed a deal for Cohen Bramall from Hednesford Town.
Here’s everything you need to know about him:
Over the past few weeks, Arsenal’s interest in a highly-rated youngster has intensified to the point where they offered him a two-day trial with the first-team over the Christmas period, and he impressed significantly .
At 20-years-old, left-footed fullback Cohen Bramall is expected to be formally announced as an Arsenal player in the next 24 hours. This comes as a surprise, not least given his background and footballing career thus far.
Who is he?
Bramall, who plays for Hednesford Town in the Evo-Stik Nothern Premier Division (7th tier), was previously a runner for Crewe and Nantwich AC during his adolescent years, and has moved around a lot since joining Kidsgrove Athletic in the 2013/14 campaign.
Minutes elsewhere away from home comforts, unsuccessful trials and a number of short spells across the UK didn’t deter him from pursuing his dream to become a successful footballer on a full-time basis, a decision he made last summer.
Having joined Hednesford Town in May last year, he was also working full-time in the Bentley factory before being made redundant recently. As is a common occurrence with players in the lower tiers of English football, many often work other jobs as their primary source of income.
So, any good?
Bramall’s consistent performances for the Pitment as well as a impressive rabona assist in October, were a sure-fire way to attract attention from a number of professional clubs.
Premier League side Crystal Palace and Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday emerged as frontrunners for his services. Despite trial periods with both clubs, neither made formal offers and Arsenal acted promptly after club scouts watched him during one of the trial matches.
He has started 25 matches this term, featured off the substitutes’ bench on one occasion and wasn’t included in their most recent fixture as he was given permission to train with Arsenal on a trial basis.
He has shown attacking tendencies from a defensive-minded position, which highlight his capability to play as a left-sided winger if required. Relishing the ability to drive forward both with and without the ball at his feet, his explosive acceleration and agility is definitely a handful for opposition defenders to isolate.
In addition, he has displayed an impressive ability to cross the ball into the area for team-mates.
His athletic ability and commendable stamina levels mean he’d have no issues being able to complete a full 90 minutes, whilst he doesn’t shy away from his defensive duties when called upon to make a key tackle or interception.
Praise from his boss
“He’s got the strength, he’s very quick and runs with the ball naturally – he’s a dream player. He’s got it all and the better pitches will suit him. It boosts the club’s profile and shows what talent there is at this level,” Hednesford Town’s manager Paul Casey said in late November about the youngster.
Plans for the future
With all of the promising developments in mind, Bramall is far from the finished article yet.
He has shown glimpses of potential but equally shown his naivety in possession too, sometimes where he takes an extra touch and loses the ball or his decision-making when he edges closer to the final third is found lacking confidence.
Training with and becoming a professional himself will help to focus his energies on improving these deficiencies whilst proving he has ability when called upon.
It’s unlikely that he’ll figure as part of Arsenal’s first-team plans at some stage this term and is instead expected to spend the rest of the current campaign with Steve Gatting’s u23 side.
Marc Bola is currently first-choice at left-back and this acquisition represents a low-risk option for the future from Arsenal’s perspective, one which could see more scouts scour non-league football matches in an attempt to find the next hidden gem.
He will reportedly cost an initial £40,000 and will sign a two-and-a-half year contract.