Arsenal star close to Pool move

JAY Emmanuel-Thomas, a teenager who has risen through Arsene Wenger's Arsenal academy, is poised to decide whether to sign for Blackpool.

The attacking midfielder is highly rated at the Emirates Stadium but is being encouraged to go out on loan to further his development.

The 18-year-old was a guest of Pool owner Owen Oyston during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Cardiff at Bloomfield Road.

He watched the game and then talked at length with boss Ian Holloway.

"He came up to meet me and see if I am as mad as a fruitbat as you lot in the press make me out to be," joked Holloway.

"I've told him what I want, showed him what we've got and that is easier because the place is starting to look much better.

"Having that south stand go up behind the goal makes a huge difference.

"When I watched the DVD of last season's games it wasn't nice. We don't want to look like a park team. It used to detract from how good our players were to be honest.

"It is also a lot less windy than it was before because of the stand going up, so hopefully the Arsenal boy will choose us. He is good enough to have a choice so we will see.

"But I am working so hard to bring some things in that we are short of.

"This boy has got a few bits and pieces that our crowd might like to see. "Whether he chooses us I don't know but I couldn't have tried any harder.

"I am sure that on the way back to London he is going to put his ears in a bucket of ice because I didn't stop talking."

Thomas is a skilful, powerfully-built player who is tipped for success by those in the know at Arsenal.

He was named captain of the Gunners' under-18s at the age of 16, testament to his ability and temperament.

He skippered Arsenal's youth team to FA Youth Cup victory over Liverpool in May and was on the bench for the Gunners' 3-0 win at Portsmouth at the end of last season.

Holloway is keen to complete the signing, one of many loan and permanent targets he has.