Arsenal are looking to tie down the future of teenage loan star Brooke Norton-Cuffy and the right-back could even be in line to join the first-team squad next season, according to reports.
The 18-year-old moved to League One side Lincoln City in the January window and has been a revelation, giving several impressive performances playing at both right-back and right midfield.
Lincoln boss Michael Appleton has been full of praise for the youngster, saying last month: ‘I think there’s going to be a lot of people who are going to be interested in Brooke between now and the end of the season.
‘He’s a player that personally, and I don’t like singling out to many people, but I’ll be amazed if he doesn’t play in the Premier League.’
Both Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu have been impressed with the teenager and, according to The Athletic, Norton-Cuffy has been offered a new long-term deal to remain at the Emirates.
There is a feeling that he can be the next big academy talent to secure a place in Arteta’s first-team squad, with the Spaniard having given opportunities to plenty of young players during his time in charge.
Norton-Cuffy is expected to put pen to paper on the new deal, and there are suggestions he could even be picked to play a back-up role to Takehiro Tomiyasu as early as next season.
The Japan international, who has been sidelined through injury recently, has made an excellent start to his career in north London but Arteta is keen to bring in cover and competition at right-back.
Cedric Soares has performed well recently but is likely to leave the club, and Arsenal had been linked with signing Middlesbrough’s on-loan full-back Djed Spence to replace him.
But the emergence of Norton-Cuffy may extinguish the need for Arsenal to delve into the transfer market for a new defender, and also allow them to focus more funds on priority positions such as a new striker and central midfielder.
Norton-Cuffy is yet to make a senior appearance for Arsenal and only signed his first professional deal last year, which is due to expire in 2023.
His performances at Lincoln have attracted interest from other clubs in the Premier League and around Europe, but Arsenal are confident of tying down his long-term future.