'Class' ex-Arsenal whizkid can net club £5m thanks to one performance, jokes boss

Former Arsenal youngster now at Stevenage bagged a brace at the weekend to the delight of his manager.

It is often not easy for former Premier League academy kids to adjust to life in the Football League, even those who have played for the first team.

One example at Arsenal is Kerrea Gilbert, who played in the FA Cup alongside the likes of Thierry Henry and now plays for non-league side St Albans City.

One aiming to avoid that slide down the football rung is former Arsenal youth forward Luke Freeman.

The Gunners paid £200,000 for the winger in 2008, and would go onto score 16 goals in 24 games in a single season for their under-18 side.

Like many though it was not enough to see him crack the first team, and after a loan spell with Stevenage the former England under-17 international elected to make it permanent in January 2011.

He's had a mixed time at the League One club since moving. Freeman has been a regular but before last weekend he has just three league goals in his last two seasons. 

His 2014 is showing signs of improvement though, he netted in the FA Cup defeat to Everton, and on Saturday he bagged an impressive brace to help his side win 3-2 away at Bradford City.

The goals were stunning strikes, listed by The Guardian in their 'goals of the week' article, alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez, and you can check them out below:

The strikes and Freeman's performance won praise from his manager Graham Westley, who commented after the game that he had just added £5 million to his price tag.

The Hertfordshire Mercury reported him as stating: "It could have put £5m on to the transfer value for Luke. It was a good day for the long-term future of the football club.

“It showed the class he has got. He played on the right hand side. They were fantastic strikes."

A bit of kidology for sure, but it could well land up with Freeman putting himself in the shop window.

The BBC reported in December that Stevenage were 'open to offers' for the winger, with their financial concerns meaning they would be prepared to cash in.

No offers came forward for the 21-year-old, but given his illustration of his clear potential at the weekend, he might just have earned himself a move for the end of the season, even if not quite for the price his manager would like. 

image: © eepaul

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