Arsenal have yet to see many departures from the club this off-season. Surplus players will shift away from the club at some point during this transfer window, but you could say, to date, only Pablo Mari to Monza fits the bill. The club is expected to receive an inflow of some money soon, though, as young talent is set to depart on a free transfer. 19-year-old Zach Awe will be joining Championship side Southampton FC per Mike McGrath of The Guardian.
Awe started nearly every game for the Arsenal U21’s last season, who finished seventh. Born and raised in London, Awe progressed through Hale End and has England youth caps to his name. His contract with Arsenal finished on June 30th, but the club will receive compensation for Awe, given his age. McGrath says Southampton fended off competition for the centre-back, with the likes of Leicester being linked to the player.
At 6’2″, Zach Awe could mistakenly be seen as a physical centre-back, but his best traits come with the ball at his feet. He is described as an exceptionally gifted passer of the ball and is very comfortable at the back, being able to evade pressing players quite often.
Southampton’s new manager is Russell Martin, who believes that the best teams always have the ball at their feet. His MK Dons and Swansea sides were extremely possession-dominate and exclusively played the ball out from the back. That said, it makes perfect sense why Awe would be signing with Southampton. Being able to play out from the back is a necessity in Martin’s system, and Awe has shown he can do that at an elite level at the academy level. Awe is also a left-sided centre-back, an area of need for Southampton, especially with Mohammed Salisu close to departing the club.
It has not been reported what the exact compensation fee Arsenal will be paid for Zach Awe.