This isn’t the first time that Ethan Ampadu has been mentioned, but the versatile teenager could be making a Premier League move this summer and Arsenal have unsurprisingly been watching him.
The Exeter-born midfielder, who has regularly played at centre-back, was linked with a move to Arsenal on a scholarship basis last summer, reports Devon Live.
After all, his father Kwame manages the u18s and was originally seen as the Gunners’ trump card to beat the attentions of both Chelsea and Manchester United to his signature.
He has reaped the rewards of his rapid progression through the youth ranks with a first-team debut, which meant he became the club’s youngest ever player at 15-years-old when starting against Brentford in their EFL Cup tie last August.
Still attending school as a year 11 student, club boss Paul Tisdale had plenty of praise for Ampadu’s performance especially as he was only playing because the fixture was during the summer holidays.
Fielded as a centre-back during the match, his presence shone through as he managed to keep Brentford’s Scott Hogan quiet in the final third. Tisdale praised Ampadu’s versatility as his impressive ability to read the game proved important on this occasion.
“That’s the remarkable thing, he’s not necessarily a centre-back,” Tisdale stated at the time. He’s one of those players that can play in four or five positions – I’m not sure what his best position will be and nor probably will he but that also tells you what a good player he is.”
He went on to make 11 club appearances at first-team level for Exeter last season, including eight in League Two as the Grecians were play-off finalists but suffered defeat against Blackpool at Wembley in May.
Having continued to represent Wales’ u16 and u19 sides on the international scene after featuring for England beforehand, he won the nation’s Young Player of the Year award for 2016.
In addition, he was included on Wales’ senior squad standby list to face the Republic of Ireland in March and has already earned the experience of training with the senior squad, prior to their Euro 2016 campaign last summer.
It’s clear that he is a wonderkid that Exeter are keen to keep away from the spotlight, not least by Tisdale’s media ban to avoid unnecessary attention at such a tender stage of his career.
“He’s a fabulous young talent – he’s committed himself to us over the past couple of years when he could have left us earlier to go to another club,” Tisdale continued.
It’s becoming increasingly likely that Exeter are resigned to losing him though, as his current deal expires at the end of June and he’s yet to sign the scholarship they’ve tabled.
Chelsea, United and Arsenal themselves are likely to reignite interest again this summer and it’d be a fantastic acquisition if the Gunners could beat their top-flight counterparts to his signature.