Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere Exclusively Monitoring Arsenal Academy Pair

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Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere are both keeping a very close eye on Max Dowman and Ceadach O’Neill as they ponder over the talent in Arsenal’s academy, FootballTransfers can confirm.

Dowman is just 13 years old, but he has already been fast-tracked by those in charge at the academy and he made his Arsenal U18s debut against Southampton back in September.

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In the process, Dowman became the youngest Arsenal player to ever feature in an U18 Premier League fixture.

The teenager’s potential has also attracted many of the world’s biggest sports brands, and Adidas ultimately won the race for Dowman’s signature when they agreed to a boots sponsorship deal in the 2022/23 season.

After Dowman’s U18s debut, Wilshere was asked about the midfielder and he admitted: “We take a holistic view of the academy, pushing our players to excel.

Jack Wilshere is Arsenal's U18 head coach
– Jack Wilshere is Arsenal’s U18 head coach

“Debut opportunities aren’t handed out lightly, and Max has demonstrated over the past few months that he deserves this chance. There are others on the verge of stepping up as well.

“He handled the moment admirably, sending an important message to the team that when we introduce players, they possess the quality to contribute effectively.”

Arsenal pursue move for O’Neill

Furthermore, Arsenal are also targeting a deal to sign the aforementioned O’Neill. The 15-year-old midfielder currently plays for Linfield in his native Northern Ireland and he made his first-team debut for the club in a fixture against Ballymena last month.

However, while he is not currently an Arsenal academy player, O’Neill featured for the Gunners’ U17s side in their opening match at the Flamengo Adidas Cup in Brazil.

The versatile central midfielder was also invited, along with his parents, to Arsenal’s Champions League match against RC Lens in November by Arsenal academy manager Per Mertesacker in a bid to convince him to join the club.

Arteta’s side are yet to agree a deal for O’Neill, but we understand they have made an offer in the region of £240,000, with the player said to be “destined to join Arsenal.”

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