Akinola moved to the Terriers from Lincoln City in June last year and was soon joined by his former boss, Danny Cowley, who took over the reins at the John Smith’s Stadium a couple of months later.
Despite being familiar to his manager he didn’t break into the senior team and even spent time out on loan at non-league outfit Brighouse Town F.C. At the end of his one-year contract, Huddersfield opted not to trigger their option of an extension.
So how did he end up at Arsenal? Good question.
James writes that the Gunners’ video analysis team were impressed by the youngster’s underlying metrics and that Per Mertesacker and Lee Herron, the head of our talent ID department, decided he was worth a punt without requesting a trial.
It’s a pretty remarkable change in fortune for Akinola who’ll now offer cover for the under-23 midfielders who are heading out on loan for the year. In recent days, Matt Smith and Zak Swanson have joined Swindon and MVV Maastricht respectively and Ben Sheaf is tipped to join Coventry City.
James says the deal is part of a new focus on domestic recruitment with English clubs set to lose the ability to sign European talents between 16-18 when the country leaves the EU on 31 December.