Arsenal has concluded the signing of Hertha Berlin’s Omar Rekik.
Or so the training images would have you believe.
It’s no big secret that this month the move to the Emirates Stadium was supposed to be completed by Rekik, a 19-year-old center-back, but official confirmation of that transfer has yet to be given.
In the context, however, a picture of the Arsenal U23s in training at London Colney appeared to show Rekik, indicating it is a done deal.
And the fact that the photo has since been removed also suggests that a transfer is being made, but the club is waiting to confirm it on its own.
Rekik, a prominent Tunisian international born in the Netherlands who has played briefly at youth level for such clubs as Feyenoord, Manchester City, PSV, and Marseille, was told by Arsenal Academy Manager Per Mertesacker that when he enters, he will get to train regularly with the first team.
Football.london admits that Arsenal is keen on the concept of lending Rekik back to the Bundesliga side to support his transfer, but no decision has been taken at this point as to whether that will happen.
Rekik, a right-sided center back who played on the left and in the defensive midfield, got offers from clubs across Europe, abandoning Hertha to join Spanish giants Seville on a five-year agreement last month with his brother Karim, who plays in the same position.
The signing follows a long list of players that Arsenal have introduced over the past few months to their Under-23 set-up.
No less than six new recruits to the setup have seen an aggressive recruiting approach spearheaded by academy chief Per Mertesacker.
Nikolaj Moller (Malmo), Jonathan Dinzeyi (Tottenham), Tim Akinola (Huddersfield), George Lewis (Fram Larvik), Joel Ideho (Ajax U18) and Catalin Cirjan are among the names to arrive, all of whom have been signed over the past year by Mertesacker in an attempt to support a depleted squad.
A source from the Arsenal academy told football.london that Mertesacker is trying to ‘fill the missing holes’ with Ben Knapper, the Loans Manager, charged with developing a ‘transition program’ for each player in the system in the Under-23 squad.
The arrival of Rekik will see him fight for a place in the team with the likes of Dinzeyi, Harry Clarke and Dan Ballard, with a current lack of center experience back in the Under-23s a main reason for his signing.