Arsenal have offered a first professional contract to England youth international Chuba Akpom just days after the forward celebrated his 17<sup>th birthday.

Akpom has impressed throughout his time in the youth squad at Arsenal and has now done enough to be rewarded with a contract as he looks to eventually force his way into the first team plans of manager Arsene Wenger.

Chuba Akpom
Akpom has signed his first professional contract with Arsenal [Nextgen]

The Newham-born striker has been a regular for the Under-21 side so far this season, while also excelling in the NextGen tournament.

He has scored two goals in three appearances in the competition which pits the best young talent from around Europe against one another.

He also scored his first goal for the Under-21 side, which is managed by Terry Burton, in a 2-0 victory over Reading on Monday night.

Burton believes the youngster has a bright future at the club and is hopeful that he can go on to represent the first team.

"It has always been the benchmark of this club - quality players moving through the ranks and getting into the first team. That is always the aim," Burton told Sky Sports.

Akpom's talent has been well documented as he was handed the chance to play for the Arsenal Under-18 side when he was just 15 years of age. He went on to make 15 appearances in that side and earned his first call-up to represent England at Under-17 level.

Akpom was a member of the England youth team that took part in the Nordic tournament in 2011 where he caught the eye by scoring three goals in four games.

Arsenal have always looked to promote players from their academy and can currently point to the likes of Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Wojiech Sczszensy who have all become important member of Wenger's first team.