Arsenal midfielder Ben Sheaf has become Coventry City’s ninth signing of the summer.
The Sky Blues have taken the defence-minded player on a season-long loan from the Premier League giants to add strength and depth in the middle of the park ahead of the new Championship campaign.
But just who is Sheaf and what would he bring to City? Here’s a lowdown.
How has his career gone to date?
Sheaf is a 22-year-old midfielder who has come through the ranks at Arsenal following his move from West Ham when he was in his mid-teens.
After impressing for the Gunners’ academy sides, he was handed a first-team debut aged 19, playing the final few minutes of a Europa League win at Red Star Belgrade in October 2017.
Shortly after he went on loan to Stevenage in League Two, playing 10 times.
Last season was spent in Arsenal’s Under-23s, Sheaf reaching 60 games for the development side, while this season he has been on loan at City’s League One rivals Doncaster.
He was involved in the England set-up in his teens, playing twice for the Three Lions’ Under-18s.
What position does he play?
He’s a midfielder by trade, and generally one who sits deep, shielding the back four and spreading play from there, with the game in front of him.
But, he spent a lot of time in Arsenal’s Under-23s playing as a centre-back, while he also had a few outings at right-back and even as a right-sided midfielder.
How did he get on at Doncaster?
Pretty well. He played 38 games in all competitions, only missing two of Rovers’ League One fixtures as they finished ninth.
He grabbed two goals for the club, his first in senior football, while he laid on three assists as well.
Is he any good?
The stats suggest he’s certainly got something about him. He finished among League One’s top 10 players for passes and tackles.
Only Doncaster team-mate Ben Whiteman and Sky Blues centre-back Michael Rose completed more passes per game than Sheaf, while his 82.4 per cent completion ranks him above any City player.
He created 29 chances too, and ranked third for key passes among defensive midfielders.
A total of 76 successful tackles puts him fourth in League One, again above any Sky Blues players from last season.
However, he was dribbled past 44 times, the second highest total in the division.
What did Doncaster say about him?
When Doncaster signed Sheaf, their boss Darren Moore was quick to sing his praises.
“He is a versatile player, equally as comfortable in defence as he is in midfield,” Moore said.
“He’s a lovely footballer. He plays well off either foot, he’s a good technician. He’s got good size and structure and he moves well.
“He’s got a good eye for a pass and is an intelligent footballer.
“Those are the types of players that we want to sign here going forward.”
And then when the loan was extended in January, he added further praise for the midfielder.
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“He’s been superb, we’ve all seen the qualities that he’s brought and he’s been an important part of the team here,” Moore said.
“He’s got wonderful feet and his game understanding is impeccable. He knows exactly what is expected of him. He has grown immensely during his time here and I feel he’ll kick on again.
“I have known him for many years with my work within the U23s teams – I know his game and he’s equally happy in midfield as in defence.
“He just has to keep his consistency going and to get even better than he is now.”
What did Arsene Wenger say about him?
It was the legendary Gunners boss who gave Sheaf his debut, and he was a big fan.
“He’s always ahead of the game and his anticipation quality is absolutely huge,” Wenger said.
“He has that kind of mental strength as well. A typical British way of handling things, facing the difficulties with a very cool and intelligent way.
“There is something in him that I believe will allow him to progress always.
“Because he analyses well what’s happening to him, he assesses well what is going on and that’s why I believe he will have a good career.”