The Emirates Stadium
George Dobson hopes to become the latest graduate from the Arsenal academy to play in the first teamGetty Images

Arsenal have belatedly confirmed the addition of a defensive midfielder ahead of the January transfer window in the form of academy graduate George Dobson.

The 17 year old has been rewarded for his performances for the Gunners' Under-18 side and in the Under-19 team that features in the Uefa Youth League with a permanent contract in north London.

Dobson can play either as a holding midfielder or as a centre back and though first-team opportunities are likely to be several years in the waiting, the Havering-born youngster represents a prospect for the future in a position Arsenal are in desperate need of resources.

"Everyone at Arsenal would like to congratulate George on his first professional contract. We look forward to his continued progression with the club," a club statement read.

The Arsenal teenager was given a taste of the first team when he featured in the 2-1 Under-21 Premier League defeat to Newcastle United in September, coming up against the likes of Gael Bigirimana and Shane Ferguson.

Since Liam Brady's exit from the Arsenal academy at the end of last season, the club's youth system has undergone a complete revamp under new coach Andries Jonker.

Charged with improving the club's academy, which has failed to produce a regular first-team player since Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs, Jonker said earlier this season: "Arsenal want more talented players to come through, because that has been lacking.

"They want me to develop the players from the academy much better than it was done before. At this moment, considering the investments the club have made, players have hardly been developed properly.

"This is why they wanted me, a man who can guide the coaches and who can influence the other coaches.

"Ivan Gazidis [Arsenal's chief executive] wants Arsenal to be the best academy in the world. He realises that will cost money and will take time but that is his ambition.

"The scouting must be restructured all over again. It needs to be brought to a level so that we can bring in the absolute best talents from abroad and from England at an age that Wenger can immediately work with them."