Sunderland Under-21 striker Joel Asoro has confirmed that Arsenal are actively interested in the Swede and that news of the Gunners following his development has come as a shock. The forward is currently away on international duty for the U-21 European Championships with Sweden but is suspended for their opening game against England.
The 18-year-old has already made the first team for the Black Cats after coming on as a substitute and is primed for greater things in the future. The forward is keen on more game time and will assess his future depending on Sunderland's next manager, following the departure of David Moyes.
"Yes, I know that," Asoro said when asked about contact from the Gunners, as quoted by the Sunderland Echo. "People were a little shocked because I have played very little first-team football. It is clear that people are surprised, but we'll see what happens.
"I've heard a little bit, but if I think about it too much, it becomes "what if, what if." I try not to think about it too much. It came as a shock. It is clear clubs contact each other and stuff, but it's my agent in charge of it. I try to focus on my football."
Meanwhile, the Gunners are well on their way to promoting a few youth players to the first team next season, with Arsene Wenger confirming that Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will be given a chance to prove their worth next season. The north London club have been noted for their policy to encourage youth, with Hector Bellerin, Francis Coquelin and Jack Wilshere among others making the grade from the youth system.
The north London club have already released four players this summer, with Yaya Sanogo, Stefan O'Connor, Kristopher da Graca and Kostas Pileas not given new contracts. Sanogo made 20 competitive appearances for the club, which included a brilliant cameo in the 2013/14 FA Cup final where his contribution led to Aaron Ramsey's winner in extra time