Akpom and Ajayi set to leave Arsenal after Nigeria declaration

Rumours circulated yesterday that Arsenal youth players Chuba Akpom and Semi Ajayi had both decided to make themselves available to play for Nigeria. It is likely that both will be called up to the Super Eagle’s potential January friendly.

Having failed to make the 2015 African Cup of Nations, Nigeria have looked to refresh their squad. Out with the old, in with the new. Akpom and Ajayi are set to be joined by former Arsenal trainee Chuks Aneke – now playing for S.V. Zulte Waregem in Belgium – in the new look Nigeria squad.

This decision by Akpom and Ajayi is likely to see there Arsenal career’s ended before it has even started.

For a long time, Arsene Wenger has not been a fan of the African Cup of Nations. Held every two years, it takes players away from clubs for 6-8 weeks. It then usually takes the club another few weeks to get players match fit again after the tournament – inadequate training regimes and the climate result in players losing fitness during the tournament.

Interestingly, in Arsenal’s current squad, they do not have a single African player. This shows a conscious decision by the club to not be disadvantaged by the African Cup of Nations by not having any African players in their side.

Now if a player was a global star – Yaya Toure, Didier Drogba, Nwankwo Kanu – you could take the hit on the chin. Lose the player for 2 months, knowing you get his talent for the rest of the year.

But if the player is a bit part team member – Gervinho, Alex Song, Obi Mikel – it is just not worthwhile carrying him, and losing him for key periods of the season where he can be rotated in.

Nigeria have failed to make the 2015 competition. By 2017, Akpom and Ajayi could both be key members of Arsenal’s first team squad, providing quality back up to the starters. It is unlikely that Wenger will be too happy with both swanning off to Africa for 2 months just as the season is hotting up.

The likely solution? Ajayi and Akpom will be moved on, and replaced by 2 players who won’t leave every 2 years for 2 months.

At this point, neither youngster might not realise the consequence of their decision to declare for Nigeria, but I am sure in this summer, they will soon find out.




23 thoughts on “Akpom and Ajayi set to leave Arsenal after Nigeria declaration

  1. ify

    Has wenger become too bad or enemy of Nigeria that he will not allow African players to play for arsenal because they will respect there father land he should remember we have too many arsenal fans in African fans in African expect to see African players playing in arsenal football club

  2. Abbey

    I think players are free to decide to play for any country of their choice as long as they are eligible. Using that as a string to tie down the future of a young player is grossly unfair(especially from a site dt I so much respect) every country wants the best – so do clubs- but I will be disappointed with Arsenal FC if these players are sold because of their nationality. Mind you Arsenal command a very strong fan base in Nigeria so may be the club needs to re-evaluate their positions

  3. jude

    so what is your opinion,for them to reject their mother land,you dont hava a topic,what has arsenal prove for pass 9yers now,my friend everybody have his or her choice to make,arsnl that dont ever pay their players well with there noneses payment parthan,pls get a better news.

  4. jude

    you want them to continue playing for england and be dump like others Agbolahoe,shola,many of them without making a world cup.

  5. olaniyi

    pls don’t start judging arsene and the club, this write up is based on speculation and the blogger opinion and not the club statement or position or policy. the blogger is only speculating and forecasting ,the club may complain about the timing of the competition but that do not mean that they will do away with Africa players .

  6. O.O.Femi

    I feel very disappointed by this piece of writing. Selling a player because he decides to play for his country is utter rubbish. How many French players are there at Arsenal. who don’t play regularly and are still retained? Is it Diaby, Sanogo. There’s even talk of Diaby getting renewed contracts when he comes back from injury. How many minutes has Ozil played this season, What about Walcott, the ever injured-players? There is no talk of them moving on as you so put it, yet they are still Arsenal players.
    If this is Arsenal’s stand, then I fear for this club. If not, this guy shouldn’t write again because this write-up is crappy and without sense.

  7. Uduak

    To hell with your thinking. How on earth are you sure that Arsene will still be incharge in 2017? Please boys play for your country and forget their slave mentality. Your skills will take you far above any team that will stand on your way. Am happy about your decission and you will not regret.

  8. Izuchukwu Okosi

    As much as I respect your opinion as a blogger, I’m slightly disappointed by your comments even though I’m a journalist with about a decade on the job. Nigeria is Akpom and Ajayi’s HOME (not the adopted) country. I’m not even a fan of (especially football-wise) ‘adopted’ nationalisation if the country of your ROOTS is a ‘football nation’ unless of course you are from Jaimaca and you’re Raheem Sterling! Was Gabby Agbonlahor at the 2014 World Cup??? A reminder there, Ross Barkley played for England cos probably the family didn’t learn from the Salako, Agbonlahor experiences. In Boxing, Joshua is Nigerian-born o!

  9. Belarosa

    Ever since the African players like Kanu and co. left what has he achieved with his cheap buys that stays all year round eh? He should sh**e it. We need black spine in that team, not all these glass players we have lying around in the treatment table with no backbones.

  10. Airmmy

    If truly such is even an option then why would we support a club that does not have the interest of our country in his hearts.
    Am so disappointed in this article cos I respect this site a lot even though what you wrote is not far from the treatment african players get in europe and mostly England.
    When Victor Moses was a prospect for England the press is always singing his praise but the moment he switch to Nigeria his stock fell n he becomes a headless chicken that can’t even dribble.
    If Welbeck choose Ghana he wouldn’t be in Arsenal today cos nobody would be this patient with him,Bentaleb stock at spurs went down the day he chooses Algeria rather than France, Imagine that Yaya Toure is not an African even Barca wouldn’t have let him go even Eto’o suffered same at Barca, even though Pep said he didn’t need him, he was one of d best that year for them n they still sold him to buy Ibra who obviously becam a flop at Barca.
    In the nutshell its a normal trend that has been going on for a long time,this writer is just making it public mistakenly.

  11. Airmmy

    To Akpoms and Ajayi choose your father land we’re the only ones who would care about you even when you play in Belgium like Chuks Aneke even if you play in a club nobody knows like Obinna Nsofor we will still call you to our National team and the England national team can’t defeat us in a football game cos they’re bunch of over-hype players who panic when they meet the big boys and you’ll make it regardless of your nationality as long as you’re good enough big clubs will beg you to sign for them.
    Yaya Toure walked his way to the top and he is flourishing today so can you…I love arsenal and God bless Nigeria.

  12. GoonerJeev

    Awful article to promote such speculation as if it were facts. Much credit to these young players for wanting to represent their homeland.

  13. Mack

    Here is a lot of comments by a lot of people who have never gone to an Arsenal game, if you are so proud of Nigeria and its players…support a Nigerian team. Arsenal should never sign ANY African players, its unacceptable they go missing for a pointless mid-season competition

  14. Bobby

    @ mack….That was a terribly childish and naïve comment.Arsenal fc is an international brand as such is not restricted to only England.
    Secondly,its stupid to describe a competition as ‘pointless’.I’m sure its because it is African.its obvious your a racist.A racist that doesn’t know our soccer calender is going to undergo hitches simply to accomodate a world cup in Qatar.
    Lastly,its surprising you believe your the only person that has watched an arsenal game. That’s an erroneous thought mate

    Give me facts and I’ll hold my peace

    1. keenosafc Post author

      Bobby, this is the problem, you see Arsenal as a brand. You would soon fuck off if the football bubble burst.

      And please, do not call people racist on our site when they are just given a view. Nothing in what Mack said was racist. If you believe it to be, I guess you need to take a long look at yourself.

    2. Mack

      I don’t give fuck about English fans either, Arsenal are a North London club and we should be supported by those in our area. You have teams elsewhere go support your local team.

      And it is pointless, it’s a awful competition that’s played mid season. Fair enough if you want to watch it, but I’d rather Arsenal never signed a player who had to go. In fact I want other teams to sign as many Africans as they can to severely weaken their sides during January.

      Also you call me racist? I suppose it is racist to have an opinion on a football – not soccer you div.

  15. Pingback: Arsenal and the African Cup of Nations | She Wore A Yellow Ribbon

  16. tolu Ogunyemi

    its their choice to play for any nation. England has given them all they presently have and if they choose to repay England, that’s fine. Alex song wasn’t a bit part player for arsenal. the truth is that the standard of African football presently is too poor. We don’t have superstars anymore. the days when Samuel eto destroyed defences as a blaugrana. when he was second best in a ballondor award. the days when drogba, okocha, kolo toure, kanu, etc. where kings. Now we have no one. the only gem is yaya toure, who is ageing. Arsene not having an African is due to the quality of them. Arsene will only sign top class players now. And who is that top class African that will improve arsenal. is it his fault that his vice captain ran away to barca for 15 million. Song was set to be installed as the captain has rvp left that summer, but he followed suit.


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