• The 20-year-old impressed during a trial with the Gunners in December.
  • Non-league Hednesford Town set to earn £40,000 from the move.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed Arsenal have made their first January signing in the shape of Cohen Bramall, a talent he has compared to former England international Ashley Cole.

Bramall, 20, has played for Hednesford Town this season in the seventh tier of English football but has signed a two-year deal with the Gunners for a reported fee of £40,000.

The left-back impressed Arsenal staff during an initial trial at London Colney in December and has been training with the Premier League club since Christmas.

He is expected to join Arsenal's Under-23 ranks for the remainder of the 2016-17 campaign, but Arsene Wenger has paid the youngster a huge compliment by likening him to Cole, who was part of the Gunners' Invincibles side in 2004.

"Cohen Bramall has signed for us" Wenger told beINSPORTS, Goal reported.

"He's an exceptional physical talent. I don't think he's ready, today, to play in Premier League but he has similarities to a young Ashley Cole."

Bramall's speed and athleticism have impressed Arsenal, having been a promising track and field athlete before turning to football.

Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole was a key part of Arsenal's success in the early 2000s Getty Images

According to Hednesford Town's website, Bramall failed to earn a move to Leek Town after a trial at the start of the 2014-15 season, before being picked up by Nantwich Town. In October 2014, he joined Market Drayton but failed to get first-team chances, moving onto Evo-Stik Division One South side Newcastle Town.

An impressive spell there earned him a move back to Market Drayton, where his reputation in local football continued to flourish. Last summer, then Hednesford town boss Liam McDonald signed up the full-back. That astute decision could now earn the club £40,000.

Bramall will join Arsenal's Under-23s, where 18-year-old Marc Bola is the current regular at left-back. Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs are Arsenal's current senior options in that position, but uncertainty over the futures of those two could leave the door open for someone like Bramall to make inroads into the first team.