Bournemouth are set to beat Arsenal to the singing of free-agent striker Mikael Ndjoli, who was released by Milwall FC earlier in the season despite putting in some impressive performances for their U18 and U21 sides during the course of the campaign. The young striker is said to favour a move to the Cherries over other interested clubs to continue his football development.
According to the Bournemouth Echo, the Cherries are close to finalising the capture of the young striker, who was also monitored by the Gunners and Crystal Palace. The young attacker, who was converted from a winger to a striker, is set to join up with the Bournemouth U21s for next season in a bid to prove himself and break into Eddie Howe's first-team squad.
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The 18-year-old Englishman scored 20 goals in 24 games for the Milwall youth teams this season, but was still released at the end of the campaign after the club failed to hand him a professional contract. Ndjoli could become the Cherries' first summer addition as Howe gets his team ready for their second season in the Premier League.
Milwall academy director Scott Fitzgerald has paid tributes to all the players released by the club this season, which included four others apart from Ndjoli and the chief believes it is with difficulty that the club have made the decision to release the young players who have progressed through their youth ranks.
"This is always an incredibly difficult thing to do," he told Millwall fc's official site.
"We have seen these five talented young boys progress through our ranks so it is always going to be tough to see them go, but they each handled our decision with maturity and professionalism."
"Ebere Eze, Mikael, Ronnie O'Donnell, James Fitzgerald and Alex Mulrooney-Skinner, throughout their time at Millwall, have all shown incredible dedication and a desire to learn and progress as footballers, and I thank them for all their efforts," he added.