Cohen Bramall could compete for starting spot very quickly - Wenger
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger thinks new signing Cohen Bramall could challenge for a first-team spot "in a very short period of time" despite coming straight from non-league football.
Arsenal on Tuesday completed the signing of Bramall, a 20-year-old left-back who played for Hednesford Town in the seventh tier of English football, saying he will only play for the under-23s for the immediate future.
However Wenger, who has been impressed by Bramall's speed and athleticism, said he thinks Bramall won't need long to make it to the highest senior level.
"First [he has] to show at youth level that he can quickly make the first team," Wenger told the Arsenal website. "Overall I believe he has fantastic physical qualities, he has a good level of motivation because he has gone down [to non-league football] and come up again.
"[He has] to prepare, to challenge the first-team players as quickly as he can. I think that could be in a very short period of time. Because he has the ingredients: the timing of his runs is very good, he has decent technique and exceptional pace. These are very important ingredients today.
"He was an athlete before [playing football] and he came late to the game, and that's why I believe that he can manage the tactical aspect and the technical aspect, [then] physically, he will be top level."
Details of Bramall's contract were not disclosed, but the deal is reportedly worth about £40,000, making him a low-risk gamble for Arsenal.
The defender was discovered by Arsenal's scouts monitoring the lower divisions, and was invited to a two-day trial in December where he did enough to earn a permanent contract. Even Bramall himself said he could hardly believe his rapid rise to a Premier League club.
"I can't believe that I'm here already. It's mental," Bramall said after signing his deal on Tuesday, recounting the week that led to his chance to train with the Gunners. "I played a game at Birmingham City on a Monday. Then on the Tuesday, I was made redundant from Bentley Motors and on the Wednesday, Arsenal came in.
"I was gobsmacked and took the chance with both hands. I drove down on the Wednesday and trained with the first team on Thursday and Friday. Then they offered me a deal."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.