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Arsenal set to promote academy star who is as good as Chelsea’s Reece James

Arsenal may promote very talented young defender who is compared to Chelsea captain Reece James next season

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Image credit: Getty Images

In a resounding statement of intent, Arsenal reasserted themselves as genuine Premier League title contenders with a commanding 3-1 victory over rivals Liverpool. While the entire team demonstrated excellence, two players, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ben White, stood out as unsung heroes during the game.

Zinchenko and White, both full-backs, particularly impressed in the first half, contributing significantly to Arsenal’s attacking dominance. However, a minor injury to Zinchenko and a lack of depth at right-back due to the absence of Takehiro Tomyasu and Jurrien Timber raised concerns.

Recent transfer rumours linking Jeremie Frimpong to Arsenal may provide a solution to the right-back dilemma. However, there’s a potential cost-effective alternative within the club’s ranks in the form of Hale End’s promising youngster, Brooke Norton-Cuffy.

Amidst a relatively uneventful January transfer window for Arsenal, with no new signings and several players departing on loan or permanently, links to Bayer Leverkusen’s Frimpong appeared substantial. According to German publication BILD (via TEAMtalk), Arsenal plan to activate Frimpong’s £34 million release clause in the summer.

Brooke Norton-Cuffy

Young Arsenal defender Brooke Norton-Cuffy is compared to Chelsea’s Reece James (Image credit: Getty Images)

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Considering the recent lack of spending, the potential investment in Frimpong’s transfer fee might be viewed as significant. In this context, promoting Norton-Cuffy from within the academy could serve as a wiser financial move, saving funds for more pressing needs, such as acquiring a clinical forward.

Brooke Norton-Cuffy, described as a ‘marauding right back with bags of pace and superb technical ability,’ has already carved an impressive career path. Referred to as Arsenal’s “own Reece James” by data analyst Ben Mattinson, Norton-Cuffy has gained valuable experience through loan spells at League One side Lincoln City and Championship clubs Rotherham United, Coventry City, and Millwall.

Currently excelling at Millwall in the Championship, Norton-Cuffy has made 27 appearances this season, scoring two goals and providing two assists. Manager Joe Edwards praises him as “an exciting player with a lot of potential.”

While Norton-Cuffy’s attacking output may trail Frimpong’s, his defensive abilities are more noteworthy. Winning more tackles, making more interceptions, clearances, ball recoveries, and aerial duels per 90, Norton-Cuffy exhibits a well-rounded skill set.

With financial considerations and a potential need for a striker in mind, promoting Norton-Cuffy next season appears to be a pragmatic choice. If he can emulate the development of Reece James, as suggested by Mattinson, Mikel Arteta will have a formidable array of full-back options at his disposal.

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