Arsenal have completed the signing of defender Renny Smith on a deal which will see him become a full-time scholar at the club from next season.
Smith, who is renowned for his tenacity and committed nature, was not offered a deal by Chelsea, who have already proposed deals for several foreign defenders for next season’s intake. The youngster featured for Arsenal U18s as a trialist in the victory over Newcastle United last weekend after replacing the injured Hector Bellerin, and, despite not turning in the most impressive performance, the 16 year old caught the eye in training to convince the Arsenal coaching staff to offer him a deal.
Smith was also offered scholarship deals by Manchester City, with whom he also spent time on trial, and Liverpool, but has opted to move to North London and will train full-time at London Colney from next season. It is expected that the club will make approaches to sign several further trialists, possibly including some from abroad, in order to swell the number of scholars ahead of the next campaign.
Smith joins Jordan Brown, Tafari Moore, Ryan Huddart, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Gedion Zelalem in securing a scholarship for next season. A firm decision is yet to be made on centre-back Elliott Wright, whilst several members of the U16 squad were released before Christmas, including the highly rated Denzeil Boadu.