Jason Sraha’s arrival at Arsenal went rather under the radar, but the prospect could have a major part to play for the club at youth level this season.
Previously at Chelsea’s academy, the 16-year-old officially completed his move to the Gunners this summer as he signed scholarship terms and will be part of Ken Gillard’s U18 squad.
Sraha often featured at left-back for Chelsea but it appears that Arsenal’s intention is to mainly deploy him at centre-back, a position in which he impressed as a substitute in the friendly against Hitchin Town recently.
Arsenal U18s have other options at the heart of the defence, such as Mazeed Ogungbo and Levi Laing, but Sraha will be seeking to gain as much experience as possible this campaign and will also be looking to eventually push into the U23s, having already been involved at that level in pre-season.
Tall and quick, he is an impressive reader of the game and has also settled in quickly off the pitch.
Arsenal U18s get their season underway on Saturday, coincidentally against Chelsea, which could see Sraha given a chance to make an instant impact against his former club.
It will be intriguing to chart Sraha’s progress this campaign and he will be seeking to follow in the footsteps of Zech Medley, who left Chelsea’s academy and has gone to feature for Arsenal at first-team level.
Medley initially made some mistakes for the U18s when he first joined and it is to be expected that Sraha may have some initial teething problems as well. It is hoped, though, that he will eventually be able to push on and impress for the club.