Chuba Akpom was born to Nigerian parents on 9 October 1995 in Canning Town, England. He joined the ranks of Arsenal Academy at the age of 6 and progressed steadily, always one step ahead of his age group team-mates.
He played for the Gunners’ U18 side at the age of 15 and celebrated his 17th birthday by signing his first professional contract. On 12 September 2012, Akpom was included in a senior team expedition for the first time –Arsenal lost 2-1 to Olympiakos in Karaiskakis then. In 2012-13 he played in the Premier League U21 and netted 13 goals in 20 appearances.
In the following summer, he participated in the senior team’s preseason training and also got to score four goals in friendly encounters against Indonesia, Vietnam and Urawa Red Diamonds. On 14 September 2013, he made his Premier League debut coming off the bench in a 3-1 win over Sunderland. He also got to play in the UEFA Youth League and the FA Youth Cup, where he netted a hat-trick against Peterborough United FC.
In January 2014 he was shipped on loan to Brentford FC, then featuring in League One, and played four times as substitute during his one month at the Bees. In February he joined Coventry City until the end of the season, the deal permitting Akpom to participate in Arsenal’s encounters in the Youth League and FA Youth Cup. The young Englishman featured in 6 encounters of the Sky Blues and returned to London afterwards.
He remained at Arsenal in 2014-15 and Arsène Wenger handed him playing time in some games. By February 2015 he had attracted interest from several clubs, therefore the Gunners offered him a contract for the next four-and-a-half years. One month later, Akpom moved to Nottingham Forest for the final stretch of the season and got to play in 7 Championship encounters.
The following season would be the first full one of his professional career. He was given on loan to Hull City AFC who were playing in England’s second tier and was among the stars of their promotion to the Premier League. He conjured 7 goals and 1 assist in 41 matches.
In 2016-17 he didn’t get to play that much. He remained at Arsenal for the first half of the season and featured in just one EFL Cup encounter, serving an assist in the 4-0 victory over Nottingham Forest. In the second half of the season, he was shipped on loan to Brighton & Hove Albion and featured in 10 of their games, celebrating once more a Premier League promotion.
The following season wasn’t much different. After remaining in London until December and playing two matches for Arsenal, he moved on loan to Belgium. This time around though, things were much better for him. He put on the shirt of Sint-Truiden VV and played alongside Charisis and Kitsiou. The young English forward didn’t adjust immediately, but was a joy to watch by the time the team featured in the play outs of the Belgian First Division. He netted five goals and helped his side avoid relegation. He had a tally of 6 goals and 1 assist in 16 encounters in Belgium.
Akpom has scored 20 goals in 44 encounters for England’s youth national sides. His performances for Sint-Truiden VV attracted the interest of various European clubs, with PAOK beating competition and securing his signature.