Arsenal have signed 16-year-old left-back Lino Da Cruz Sousa from West Bromwich Albion, according to a report.
Football.London report that Arsenal have completed the signing of Lino Da Cruz Sousa from West Bromwich Albion. The young left-back has reportedly already trained with his new club.
Still just 16 years old, Sousa has already played at u18 and u23 levels for West Brom, as well as featuring for England up to u16 level.
The defender’s 17th birthday is later this month, at which point he’ll be eligible to put pen to paper on a professional contract, if that’s what Arsenal want him to do.
As for why Arsenal are making the signing, the explanation is simple. The academy simply don’t have any depth at left-back right now.
In the last six months, the Arsenal u23s have used a number of players at left-back or left-wing-back.
The list includes Zak Swanson, Jordi Osei-Tutu, and Ryan Alebiosu, who are all right-backs. There’s also Mazeed Ogungbo, who has played left-back in the past, but is now definitely a centre-back.
The club have Joel Lopez as an u23 starter, and he played well in his most recent appearance against Chelsea on Tuesday. But behind him, there’s very little in the way of alternatives.
Henry Jeffcott is in the u18 squad and can step up to support Lopez, but only if the u18s themselves have someone to fill in.
So Sousa will fill one of the two gaps. Either he’ll be the direct replacement for Lopez when the ex-Barca youngster needs a rest, or he’ll free Jeffcott up to play that u23 backup role.