The Arsenal midfielder has suffered with injuries during his 13 months at the Emirates and was reportedly clattered in training at London Colney by a 20-year-old.
Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey was reportedly “furious” with a promising youngster after he clattered the experienced Ghanaian in training.
According to football.london, Tim Akinola, 20, went into a 50/50 challenge with Partey at London Colney, potentially injuring one of Arsenal’s most important players.
The 33-cap international is believed to have been angry with Akinola at the time but later told the him he was the strongest player he’d ever played with.
The youngster is also thought to have impressed manager Mikel Arteta with his commitment and work rate – and a first-team debut could be on the horizon.
Akinola signed a two-year deal with Arsenal in August 2020 and, although he’s yet to sign a contract extension, appears to have grasped his opportunity.
The young midfielder was released by Championship outfit Huddersfield shortly before he moved to North London but had a tricky start to his Gunners career.
He was sent off for the U23s in their 3-0 defeat to Wimbledon in December 2020, a result that knocked them out of the EFL Trophy.
Despite his red card, Akinola kept his place in the youth squad and has played seven Premier League 2 games this term.
His most recent appearance came in the U23’s 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday, a result that keeps their EFL Trophy hopes alive.
Akinola has been described as a box-to-box midfielder and is reportedly the fastest player in the U23s, clocking a speed of 10.4 metres per second.
Speaking in 2019, Huddersfield’s head of football operations Leigh Bromby said: “Tim has a lot of the abilities that fit the club’s style of play.
“In particular his work ethic and attitude to win the ball back in the middle of midfield… his attitude to learn has been excellent.”
Akinola’s first team opportunity could come in January as Partey and Egypt’s Mohamed Elneny are expected to be selected for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Speaking about the tournament in October, Arteta said: “We will find a solution. If they have to leave, they have to leave. We’ll have to find the right replacements for them.”
Partey, meanwhile, will not want anymore injuries. The midfielder missed the opening month of the season but has since helped Arsenal pick up 17 points from their last seven Premier League games.
Discussing Parety’s role in September, Arteta said: “He’s really important because he is the anchor. He is the one that needs to read what is happening and make the rest better.
“That’s his biggest job, to get the right balance in the team and get the right fluidity in the team so we can attack.”