Arsenal have confirmed their forward Chris Willock has left the club on a free transfer and completed a move to Benfica on 30 June on a five-year deal.

The teenager came up through the ranks of the Gunners' Hale End Academy and made two first-team appearances, both of them in the EFL Cup last season. However, the England Under-19 international failed to cement a place in Arsene Wenger's side.

Willock's contract at the Emirates expired on Friday and the 19-year-old left the north London club in order to join the Portuguese champions.

A statement on Arsenal's official website read: "Chris Willock, who reached the end of his contract with us this summer, has joined Portuguese champions Benfica. We'd like to wish Chris all the best for the next stage in his career."

The Evening Standard reports that Pep Guardiola's Manchester City were looking at the option of signing the highly-rated forward.

Willock was also wanted by Everton, Celtic and Borussia Dortmund. The Englishman snubbed advances from Premier League and other European clubs in order to complete a move to Benfica. He remains optimistic of proving his skills in the Portuguese Primeira Liga.

"I hope I can show what I can do on the pitch. I think we have a great team and we can achieve great things in the future,'' Willock told Benfica's official website.

In March 2016, Arsene Wenger hailed Willock for his impressive display with academy. The Frenchman claimed that the forward was a "gifted player with natural strength and natural talent".

"Chris is a very gifted player with natural strength and natural talent. He has what you do not find very easily," Wenger said, as quoted by the Evening Standard.

"He can have a go at people, can get past people in one on ones. We forget sometimes that the basis of team sport is to first be strong one against one and Chris has that quality."

Chris Willock
Chris Willock was reportedly wanted by Manchester City, Everton, Celtic and Borussia Dortmund Getty