Chuba Akpom has been regarded as one of Arsenal’s best talents for several years, but this week’s events demonstrated that the 20-year-old still needs to mature further if he is to succeed at the highest level.
The forward, who is currently on a season-long loan at Hull City, expressed his frustration at being substituted in the recent game against Reading by throwing down his gloves.
Akpom later took to social media to apologise for his actions, but the incident was rather untoward for a player who still has some way to go before he can be deemed ready to feature regularly for the Arsenal first-team.
Hard fought win tonight. Let a lot of people down with my reaction, sorry to the fans, staff and club. Emotions got the better of me
— Chuba Akpom (@cakpom) December 16, 2015
For all his potential, Akpom has mustered just four goals in 22 appearances for Hull in all competitions this season (via Whoscored). Some of the striker’s overall performances have been impressive, but he often squanders several chances in a game and, given that this is his fourth loan spell away from the club, some questions certainly have to be raised whether Akpom is of the calibre required to make the grade at Arsenal.
He certainly has some qualities, such as his pace, power and technique, but Akpom has found the step up to senior football a difficult transition. Akpom signed a new contract with Arsenal last season, so he still has time on his side in order to make the requisite improvements, but he is far from the finished article at this moment in time.
Akpom’s task in terms of succeeding at Arsenal could be rendered all the more difficult if the Gunners sign an additional centre-forward either in January or next summer, with manager Arsene Wenger remarking recently that he could be active in the transfer market as his squad is currently short on numbers.
Akpom will return to Arsenal in the summer but before then he will hope to inspire Hull to promotion to the Premier League. In order to do that he must ensure that he shows a greater amount of respect to his manager Steve Bruce, while also demonstrating an improvement in terms of his work off the ball.
Making the grade at Arsenal is extremely difficult, especially for strikers, with the club usually preferring to purchase players from elsewhere in that position. Akpom will be seeking to buck the trend, but, as his actions this week demonstrated, he has some notable improvements to make both on and off the field if he is to succeed in achieving his aim.