It has been a significant week for two of Arsenal’s youngsters, who put pen to paper on their first professional contracts with the club.
Goalkeeper Tom Smith and midfielder Catalin Cirjan have both secured their short-term futures at the club and will become fully-fledged members of the U23 squad when their scholarship deals expire.
Smith, a product of Arsenal’s Hale End academy, gained valuable experience earlier this season while on loan at non-league side Salisbury before injury stopped him in his tracks.
The shot-stopper is expected to be sidelined for around two more months but will be determined to make a major impact when he returns to action, whether that is with the U23s, U18s or back out on loan.
Romanian youngster Cirjan, meanwhile, is in his first season at the club after he joined last summer having impressed on trial.
A fine passer and dribbler, he isn’t particularly strong physically, but has already made an impact for the U18s, weighing in with several assists at that level.
Both Smith and Cirjan have made a major step forward in their Arsenal careers, but there is still a very long way to go and they must remain fully focused on their ultimate aim of getting into the first-team.