Arsenal youngster Tim Akinola has agreed to join Qatari outfit Al Bidda SC on a permanent transfer, according to a report from AllNigeriaSoccer.
Akinola has reportedly completed a medical at Al Bidda – as such, he will sign a three-year deal with the club in the coming days. It is unclear as to whether he will leave the club for a fee or on a free transfer – this detail has not been specified in the report.
Al Bidda were not the only club who were thought to be interested in acquiring his services – Oxford United were also linked with a move for the 22-year-old, as well as teams in countries such as Romania, Denmark, Israel and Austria.
Is Tim Akinola wasting his career by moving to Qatar?
Ultimately, we cannot decide what a player wishes to do with their career. It is entirely up to them and their agents – but it is nevertheless disappointing to see a promising young footballer opting to spend his career in league without any real pedigree during his formative years.
The Qatari League is not without high-profile talents – players such as Sofiane Boufal, Romain Saiss and Rodrigo (all former Premier League talents) play in the Qatar Stars League – but it is nowhere near the strength of the Saudi Pro League, for example.
Will Arsenal miss Akinola?
Akinola is a talented player who is capable of featuring in both central and defensive midfield – however, now aged 22, it has become increasingly evident that he is not going to reach the level that Arsenal may have hoped he would.
At this stage, it makes sense to allow Akinola to move on. He has just one year left on his contract at Arsenal – letting him go now, rather than allowing his current deal to expire in the summer, is probably the best outcome for all parties involved.
It is never a pleasant experience to see an academy prospect leaving the club to join another team. Thankfully, he is moving to a club outside of Europe, so there is little chance of his departure coming back to bite the Gunners directly.