Nigerian-Born Midfielder Signs First Professional Contract For Arsenal
James Olayinka, born to Nigerian parents in England, has signed his first professional contract with Arsenal.
The youngster who has been at the London club since he was eleven follows in the footsteps of Bukayo Saka and Arthur Okonkwo to sign for the club.
18-year-old Olayinka has been a key member of the Arsenal youth teams, featuring prominently for the U-18 and U-21 since last season.
The teenager who joined the club at the age of seven was offered a contract as a reward for his hard work in the lower ranks.
Unai Emery's belief and usage of young players is one of the motivating factors for Olayinka’s signing with the Gunners.
“For all of us below them, I think it gives us hope and lets us know that if you are doing the right things on the pitch and off it, the manager will see it and give you the opportunity. It’s just about taking it when it comes.
James wants to improve more as he hopes to make his senior team debut soon.
"Personally, I just want to keep playing well and score a few more goals for the team. In terms of targets for the team, I think we can do better in the Premier League 2 and start picking up some more points, and for the u-18s we’re still in the FA Youth Cup. We’re in the last 16 now so it’s a good chance for us to go one stage further than last year.”
Although Olayinka has played for several England youth teams, he is eligible to play for the Super Eagles in the future because of his Nigerian descent.