Arsenal face battle to keep teenager Chido Obi-Martin

Chido Obi-Martin - Arsenal face battle to keep teenage wonderkid Chido Obi-Martin

Arsenal face a challenge to keep hold of one of their leading academy prospects, Chido Obi-Martin, with English academies bracing themselves for another summer of dual-nationality teenagers opting for new clubs in the European Union.

The 16-year-old forward struck seven against Norwich City Under-18s last weekend, in a 9-0 win, although that was three fewer than the 10 he scored for Arsenal Under-16s against their Liverpool counterparts in November.

He cannot sign a professional deal at Arsenal until his 17th birthday in November under the Football Association’s rules, although the same rules do not apply in other European nations where professional deals can be signed at 16.

Obi-Martin has played for both England and Denmark at junior level and recently represented the latter in their Under-17s European Championship qualifying campaign.

Bayern Munich are understood to be among those interested in the player, although it is not clear yet where he may end up. Arsenal are in negotiations with the teenager’s representatives and are keen for him to remain at the club.

Under Premier League academy rules, all players who agree scholarship terms sign them on July 1 of the school year in which they turn 16. Those who have agreed additional professional deals can sign them on their 17th birthday, the earliest of which would fall on September 1. Every summer a 30-day window is open for boys to move academies providing terms can be agreed between the two clubs.

Players at Premier League academies with EU passports can move to clubs within the EU for the Fifa stipulated compensation. Obi-Martin left his youth team in Denmark – Kjobenhavns Boldklub – at 14 to join Arsenal’s academy.

Post-Brexit, the best young prospects with EU passports in Premier League academies are viable targets for clubs in Germany who can offer them professional deals as well as first team football earlier than they might expect in England. Ultimately, these players can potentially be sold back at a profit to Premier League clubs if they make the grade in European leagues.

Fifa compensation is cheaper than the tariffs set by the Elite Player Performance Plan that govern players transfers between English club academies. Fifa compensation is paid to the original club on every move a player makes up to the end of the season in which he turns 23 years old. The calculation for a fee on a move from a club such as Arsenal would be contingent on the category ranking of the club to which Obi-Martin moved, and on the number of years after the age of 12 he has played at Arsenal.

Obi-Martin recently signed an agreement with Elite Project Group, the talent representation group led by agent Emeka Obasi that oversaw Jadon Sancho’s original move to Borussia Dortmund.

Elite also represent Arsenal first-team players Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah, and former Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun, who transferred to Monaco last summer. Another player on their books is England youth international Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, who now represents Dortmund after leaving Manchester City’s academy.

Arsenal had to fight hard to secure the future of another leading academy prospect, Ethan Nwaneri, who is the youngest player in Premier League history. Nwaneri had serious interest from other Premier League sides but ultimately decided to stay in north London, and has now signed his first professional contract. He regularly trains with Mikel Arteta’s first team and featured in a Premier League match against West Ham United earlier this season.

Arsenal declined to comment.