Young Arsenal defender Kristopher Da Graca is set to sign his first professional contract with the club tomorrow after celebrating his 17th birthday today.
The Swedish U16 international joined Arsenal from Hisingsbacka last summer but his time with the Gunners has been a frustrating one so far. He was initially unable to feature competitively whilst he waited for his registration to be authorised and then suffered an injury that kept him out for several weeks.
However, the tall youngster, who can play as a defensive-midfielder but is primarily used as a centre-back, is set for a busy second half of the season, during which he should establish himself as a regular for the U18 team. Da Graca has already made two substitute appearances at that level, which came against Brighton & Hove Albion and Aston Villa before Christmas, and he also made the bench for the UEFA Youth League victory away to Galatasaray.
Da Graca could feature tomorrow when the U18s travel to face Reading in their final preparation ahead of Wednesday’s FA Youth Cup Fourth Round encounter against Royston Town.
When Da Graca puts pen to paper on his new deal he will become the fourth member of this season’s scholarship intake to sign professional terms after George Dobson, Chiori Johnson and Tyrell Robinson did so earlier in the campaign. Chris Willock and Kaylen Hinds are set to do likewise when they turn 17 later this month. Jonatas Centeno, Harry Donovan, Hugo Keto, Stephy Mavididi, Savvas Mourgos and Ben Sheaf are not yet eligible for professional terms, whilst Marc Bola, Ilias Chatzitheodoridis and Aaron Eyoma are yet to be offered new deals.
One player set to join Arsenal is striker Martin Graiciar, who will be part of the club’s next batch of scholars. The Czech youngster previously spent time on trial with the club and is set to fly to London to finalise the move. He is pencilled in to feature for the U16s against Southampton and West Ham United and could also train with the first-team.
Arsenal should also announce the signing of 17-year-old Legia Warsaw defensive-midfielder Krystian Bielik shortly after he had his medical with the club today.