Mansfield Town have signed former Arsenal youth team winger Jeffrey Monakana on a month’s loan from Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion.
The 21-year-old from Enfield goes straight into the squad for tomorrow’s relegation six-pointer at Oxford United.
Mansfield were one of several clubs interested in his services after a loan spell at Aberdeen came to an end, but Monakana believes Stags represents his best chance of getting on the pitch and showing what he can do.
After his first session with his new team mates, he said: “It’s been a good first training session, though very wet – northern weather!
“I can see what the gaffer is trying to do here and hopefully I can fit into it. The boys seem to be a close-knit squad and I hope I can fit into that.
“It was a big decision to come down to League Two. But I feel that here with the gaffer and the players we have got here, I know I can 100 per cent help the team and, first and foremost play as well. That’s when I can show fans and the players what I can do. I feel here I will get that opportunity. I know with the ball at my feet I can do a lot of things.”
He added: “My season has been a bit stop-start. In the summer I got a little injury and then went up to Aberdeen, which was a great experience being top of the table and seeing all the fans there.
“But I didn’t get the game time I went up there for so I came back to see what would happen at Brighton.
“I am here now and hoping to kickstart things again, play some real games here and make a positive impact. I heard about the move two days ago and it moved on quickly.
“I think I am direct with a lot of pace, skill and some assists on goals. That’s what I want to do bring to the team and I hope I can do that and get the fans off their seats.
“I have played League One with Preston so I don’t expect it will be too different at League Two. Football is football at the end of the day.
“I have had a lot of interest in me since coming back from Aberdeen but chose to come here as I think I will get games and be able to put my emphasis on the team and try to win games for the football club.
“I just need to play football. I know once I am playing I can really help the team and hopefully push us up the table.”
He certainly has a fabulous pedigree from his 10 years at the Gunners, and said: “It was good times at Arsenal. I was signed by Liam Brady and there from eight to 18. It was a good upbringing but at 18 I felt I couldn’t get into the first team and at that age you really want to be playing first team football. Luckily Preston gave me that.”
After coming through the Arsenal youth system the Gunners handed him a four-year contract in 2008.
At the end of that he moved on to Preston North End, scoring six goals in his first year at professional football and making 49 appearances for the club.
In September 2013, Monakana joined fellow League One side Colchester United on a month’s loan, scoring on his debut in a 2-2 draw with Bradford City. After starting every match since joining, Monakana’s loan was extended at the club until the beginning of December 2013.
On 14th January 2014, Monakana moved on to Brighton for an undisclosed fee, signing an 18-month contract with the club’s development squad but has yet to start a first team game.
The Seagulls have sent him out to get more experience and he has had a month’s loan at Crawley Town at the end of last season and six months at Aberdeen this season.
See some of his talents at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdk-CtVDxGM.