Catalin Cirjan returned to the pitch for Arsenal in a pre-season friendly this week, marking his long-awaited comeback from injury.

Catalin Cirjan playing for Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)
Catalin Cirjan playing for Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)

Arsenal youngster Catalin Cirjan spent the 2020/21 season mostly playing for the u23s, but it was in an u18 appearance against Southampton that he picked up a serious knee injury.

The injury ruled the Romania u19 international out for the entire 2021/22 campaign, and despite Arsenal confirming his return to fitness in May, he was yet to feature on the pitch until Friday.

At long last, after 480 days of hard work and patience, Cirjan came off the bench as a second-half substitute for the Arsenal u21s against Boreham Wood.

Arsenal clearly still believe in the 19-year-old’s potential, handing him a new contract this summer despite his injury problems.

A midfielder who can also play out wide, Cirjan is very technical and a hard worker off the ball. He’ll chase down lost causes and press opponents into mistakes, so he’s well suited to a Mikel Arteta side in that regard.

Catalin Cirjan signing his new contract with Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)
Catalin Cirjan signing his new contract with Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)

The youngster initially joined in 2019, before signing his first professional deal in 2020, a contract that would have run to 2023.

Now that he has a new deal and he’s made his first steps back out on the pitch, Cirjan will look to push on and become an u21 regular again in the coming months.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.