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Arsenal are preparing to cut short striker Stephy Mavididi’s season-long loan spell at Preston North End and send him to Charlton Athletic.
The 19-year-old has struggled for regular opportunities at Deepdale, making just three Championship starts in a campaign dogged by injury.
Karl Robinson’s side acquired the England Under-20 international on a six-month loan last January, with the manager describing him as having a “bright future”. However, he returned to the Emirates Stadium just four weeks later after tearing his hamstring.
But Mavididi will get another opportunity to impress at The Valley, where he made three starts and two substitute appearances during his first spell, and will be tasked with boosting their League One play-off bid.
Robinson has confirmed a deal to acquire a versatile new forward – Mavididi can play in a wide role or more centrally – is in the offing but refused to disclose the identity of the player in question.
“He is a good player – proven at this level,” said Robinson, speaking on Monday (1 January), according to South London Press after the 2-1 loss to Gillingham during which striker Leon Best suffered a knee injury. “He will excite people.”
“It has progressed. The player has agreed, it is just finalising one or two things. He is a semi-striker in some ways. He can play up there, behind the striker or wide. He can play three different positions.
“We need strikers – that is obvious to everyone. Ideally tomorrow [to get the deal done]. He wants to come and he has experience at this level.”
Neither Arsenal, Charlton or Preston have made an announcement regarding Mavididi’s future but confirmation of his move to the third tier is expected imminently.
Mavididi has never played for the Arsenal senior side since signing professional terms with the club in July 2015, but has been a regular for a string of England youth teams from a tender age.
Though of Conoglese descent, Mavidid has represented the Three Lions at Under-17, Under-18, Under-19 and Under-20 level during his career and is highly thought of in the game.