Arsene Wenger confirms Hednesford Town left-back has joined the Gunners for £40k
COHEN BRAMALL’s journey from non-league hopeful to Premier League footballer has been completed as Arsenal confirmed the signing of the 20-year-old.
Just last month the left-back was facing unemployment after being made redundant from his £400-a-week job as a factory worker at Bentley Motors in Crewe.
After initially believing the first contact from the Gunners was a prank, he is now on his way to the Emirates after pocketing his old club Hednesford Town £40,000.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and gossip in the January window with SunSport’s daily LIVE blog
Bramall can now forget about the prospect of signing on the dole and will pocket around £3,000-a-week.
He will join up with the club’s Under-23 side, but could be handed an opportunity in the summer ahead of next season to make an impact with the first-team squad.
Cohen told Arsenal.com: “Incredible, incredible. It’s a dream come true… I can’t believe that I’m here already. It’s mental.”
When asked about his initial reaction discovering the north London giants and Wenger were interested in him, he said: “My mouth dropped, I looked at my agent. It was a pretty emotional response really. I just couldn’t believe it… couldn’t believe it. I just thought ‘yes!’.
“I rang my mum, and she was like ‘Cohen, I’m so proud!’. She was upset but it was a good cry! It’s amazing and everything is just so surreal right now.
“I met him [Wenger] on the pitch, and he’s a top, top guy. There was chemistry there straight away. I think he’s a great guy and hopefully I can impress him.”
Bramall, who once accused a team-mate of stealing his wallet while playing non-league, has played for Nantwich, Alsager Town, Newcastle Town and Market Drayton Town before joining Hednesford last summer.
And after starting life as a life as a winger, Bramall was full of praise for his former boss, a man who has helped to transform his life.
He continued: “It’s been crazy. I played for Hednesford Town. I had been there for about five months and the manager was Lee McDonald who really took me on.
“I wanted to be a left winger and he said in front of my mum and dad ‘no I want you to be a left back’.
“I was new to it but I played left back for him and he gave me a lot of confidence to be a proper left back.”
Non-league unknowns to Premier League stars
Chris Smalling – Manchester United (Maidstone)
Michail Antonio – West Ham (Tooting)
Yannick Bolasie – Everton (Hillingdon)
Ashley Williams – Everton (Hednesford Town)
Jamie Vardy – Leicester (Halifax Town)
Charlie Austin – Southampton (Poole Town)
Sheffield Wednesday and Crystal Palace were also chasing Bramall and offered him a trial, but when Arsenal came calling there was only ever going to be one option for the youngster.
Bramall added: “Teams were getting interested and my confidence was getting bigger and bigger. And then I signed with an agency called Full Contact with Lee Payne and Dan Chapman. A great agency with a lot of non-League talent there. It’s complete credit to them on that.
“I went to Crystal Palace for a week and played a behind-closed-doors match against Brentford. That went OK and then I went on trial at Sheffield Wednesday. I played a game at Birmingham City which was last Monday.
“And then last week Tuesday I got made redundant from Bentley Motors and then on the Wednesday, Arsenal came in and I was gobsmacked so took the chance with both hands.
“Drove down on the Wednesday night and then trained on the Thursday and Friday. Then they offered me a deal.
“My mouth dropped. I looked at my agent and it was a pretty emotional response really. I just couldn’t believe it and thought yes.”