Arsenal’s interest in Nigerian under 17 international Kelechi Iheanacho has been confirmed, according to the player’s agent.
Iheanacho was given the most valuable player award at this month’s FIFA U17 World Cup, of which his team convincingly won.
The 17-year-old caught the attention of Arsenal chief scout Steve Rowley when he scored four goals in a single game against Mexico, the same team they’d go on to face – and beat – in the final, 3-0.
Arsenal have used the tournament to scout talent in the past, signing Cesc Fabregas and Carlos Vela off the back of the tournament in 2003 and 2005 respectively.
Iheanacho’s agent Henry Galeano exclusively told Adrian Back and IBTimes.co.uk: “I can confirm that Arsenal FC’s Steve Rowley, acknowledged Kelechi Iheanacho’s talents early in the World Cup and has said some very nice words about him.
“We’re ecstatic to have another major club like Arsenal following young Iheanacho. That said, the attention is well deserved. Iheanacho’s performance at the World Cup was indeed remarkable.
“Iheanacho has consistently shown good form and the statistics throughout his career as a Youth player with the Nigerian National Team, are quite impressive. Even during the World Cup qualifications in Morocco, Iheanacho was the second highest goal-scorer.
“At present we are considering and evaluating all options. Our goal is to match Iheanacho with a club that fits his profile, and a club that can bring out the very best in him.
“If Arsenal F.C. is an option on the table, we’ll be glad to sit down and consider it. Iheanacho wouldn’t be the first Nigerian making it into the team. The thought of him following in the footsteps of the great Kanu definitely has a nice ring to it.”
The attacking midfielder, who is also reportedly wanted by Manchester United and Chelsea, contributed six goals in seven games for his side at the tournament as well as seven assists.
Upon winning the World Cup, Iheanacho told FIFA.com: “I feel good, I feel good, I feel good! I thank God because I feel so good. I don’t know if I can find the words to say what I’m actually feeling. I can’t even tell what I’m feeling because I’m feeling a millions things at the same time. I am feeling love for my teammates and my family and my country. I feel all of it. I’m on a high for winning the World Cup and the Golden Ball (best player).”