In the week that Chuba Akpom ended speculation about his future by signing a new contract with Arsenal, another, slightly lesser known young striker also signed a significant deal with the club.
Kaylen Hinds has impressed since joining the Arsenal Academy as a 14 year old and celebrated his 17th birthday by putting pen to paper on his first professional contract.
The England youth international has long been highly regarded by the club, to the extent that he featured in the UEFA Youth League last season when he was still a schoolboy.
This season Hinds, despite struggling with injuries at times, has continued to develop well. In addition to featuring prominently for the U18s he also scored in the Youth League, has featured in the FA Youth Cup and broken into the U21 squad.
Capable of playing out wide or as an attacking midfielder but also able to play up front if required, Hinds is an interesting prospect for the future with his ability to link play from deep and also burst past defenders with his searing speed.
He, and other forwards at the academy, may well look up to Akpom as a benchmark for their future aspirations.
Akpom himself still has some way to go to become an established striker, but he has quickly made the transition from youth football to the fringes of the first-team and others will hope to do the same over the next couple of years.
Hinds certainly falls into that category, with the youngster likely to become an increasingly regular presence in the U21 squad over the next few months. He has mainly been used as a substitute in recent weeks to help him gradually regain fitness after his injury struggles, but has been full of confidence in the past couple of games and could yet have a major part to play in Arsenal’s Youth Cup campaign.
It has been many years since a youth team striker established himself as an important player for the first-team. Nicklas Bendtner make the breakthrough but wasn’t able to become first choice, whilst you probably have to go all the way back to Kevin Campbell for the last internally-produced striker who was a regular starter.
Only time will tell if Akpom will be able to break that mould, and he has an awful lot of hard work ahead of him if he is to fulfil that ambition, but Hinds’ own significant moment this week shows that there is more than one young striker who could potentially make the grade at Arsenal.