The inside track on Arsenal's 'terrifying' new signing as Mikel Arteta seals January transfer

By Jonny Bonell

Arsenal have completed their first signing of the January transfer window.

Highly-rated West Bromwich Albion youngster Lino Da Cruz Sousa has joined the Gunners, football.london understands, and has been earmarked as a potential star of the future by those within London Colney.

The 16-year-old, who is part Brazilian, played two years above his age group for West Brom's under-18 side last season and impressed.

Sousa will turn 17 later this month and football.london understands the versatile left-back - an area Per Mertesacker earmarked to strengthen at academy level - has already trained with his new teammates.

Due to his tender age, it is unlikely Arsenal fans will see Sousa in the senior set-up any time soon, but what can those who follow the talent in the academy expect from the youngster?

football.london spoke to Birmingham Live's West Brom reporter Joe Chapman to get the lowdown on him.

"He’s a player who was playing above his age group last season," said Chapman. "They reached the FA Youth Cup semi-finals and he played on the left, with the ability to play at left wing-back and as an out and out winger. He’s very quick, a player who can terrify defenders with his pace.

"Lino is of course still very young and there are plenty of areas of his game which still need ironing out before he becomes the complete package, but he has the attributes which excited Albion and which Arsenal have obviously spotted.

"He was being watched by one or two other Premier League teams to my knowledge, so Arsenal have had to beat rivals to him."

Sousa was called up for an England training camp in March 2020 and he's gone on to represent the Young Lions at under-15 and 16 level.

In addition to featuring in a higher age group for West Brom, the left-back started a Premier League 2 match against Newcastle Under-23s in February 2021.

"Lino’s an athletic full-back, reads the game well, has a lovely left foot and it's not often a 16-year-old plays an entire season with the 18s, but that’s credit to him because he has so much potential," said West Brom under-18's coach Peter Gilbert.


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