Arsenal have signed exciting 18-year-old defender Brooke Norton-Cuffy to a contract extension. The defender rose through the Arsenal academy before joining the U18 and U23 teams.
In January 2022, Norton-Cuffy joined Lincoln City in League One where he excelled. Norton-Cuffy played 17 times for Lincoln City, scoring one goal and assisting one goal. The defender is expected to be loaned out once more after signing his contract extension. This time, Norton-Cuffy is expected to join a Championship side to help him gain more experience.
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The right-back won the U19 European Championships as a part of the England squad recently. Norton-Cuffy got selected for the U19 European Championships thanks to his excellent performances with Lincoln City.
According to Norton-Cuffy, his time with Lincoln City in the second half of last season was the “best thing” for him to gain experience and to develop. Manager Michael Appleton gave Norton-Cuffy plenty of opportunities to shine with the Imps.
Norton-Cuffy tallied 1,202 minutes for Appleton’s Lincoln City. His only blemish during the spell at Lincoln City was a red card, which was received against Wimbledon. In 12 of Norton-Cuffy’s final 13 games for Lincoln City, the defender played a full 90 minutes of football.
Appleton joined Blackpool in the offseason after Neil Critchley left the Tangerines. The new Blackpool manager has taken Charlie Patino on loan from Arsenal this season. There is a chance Norton-Cuffy could end up at Blackpool to further his development.
The right-back returned to the Gunners in the offseason with a number of clubs interested in signing him. Norton-Cuffy had just one season remaining on his contract at Arsenal. The Gunners were eager to tie down the right-back for the future. According to Transfermarkt, Norton-Cuffy is valued at just over £364,000.
Norton-Cuffy was derailed by injury in preseason. Had the right-back not suffered an injury during preseason, he would have likely had several first-team opportunities. Arsenal are not set to rush Norton-Cuffy into the first team. A loan move to the Championship would give him the chance to develop and gain even more valuable experience.
Arsenal are not set to explore the transfer market for a right-back this season. North-Cuffy’s path to the first team won’t be blocked by a new signing, meaning he could have the opportunity break into the first team next season.
Norton-Cuffy can play multiple positions. He is typically used as a right-back but can also play at centre-back and left-back. The Arsenal youngster can also play on the right side of midfield. Norton-Cuffy’s versatility could lead to him being a part of Arteta’s future plans. During his time with Lincoln City last term, Norton-Cuffy played eight times at right-back and five as a right midfielder.
Arsenal’s youth teams are littered with high-quality players. Norton-Cuffy has risen through the ranks and could follow in the footsteps of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.