Premier League: Cohen Bramall goes from unemployment to Arsenal in a week

    Cohen Bramall (right) has jumped from the eighth tier of English football to the first with Arsenal.

    Story highlights

    • Arsenal sign Cohen Bramall
    • Bramall lost job just before Arsenal trial
    • 20-year-old says it is a "dream come true"

    (CNN)"Mental" was the word footballer Cohen Bramall chose to describe how he went from unemployment to English Premier League footballer in just a matter of days.

    The 20-year-old lost his temporary job at a luxury car manufacturer on Tuesday December 20, but the next day was offered a trial by Arsenal. The London club confirmed his signing on January 10.
      Now he's rubbing shoulders with stars like Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, and the scorer of that recent memorable scorpion kick, Olivier Giroud.
      "Incredible, incredible. It's a dream come true. I can't believe that I'm here already, it's mental," the youngster told the Gunners' official website.
      Bramall's signing for a nominal fee from non-league side Hednesford Town is a world away from the extravagant spending that usually surrounds the January transfer window.


      English Premier League clubs lavished £175 million ($212m) in the 2016 January transfer window, according to Deloitte, and are jostling to complete more multi-million deals this time round.
      But even the Premier League's financial might is struggling to compete with the current spending power in China, typified by Shanghai SIPG splashing out a reported transfer fee of $72 million to capture Brazil midfielder Oscar from Arsenal's rivals Chelsea last month.
      It might be at the opposite end of the cash spectrum but Bramall's deal -- the transfer fee was reportedly worth £40,000 ($48,600) -- with Arsenal was particularly timely, given the left-back had lost his job with Bentley at Crewe in north west England just 24 hours before he first linked up with Arsene Wenger's outfit.
      A Bentley spokesman told CNN that Bramall had been one of 150 temporary employees whose "assignments had come to an end."
      "I was on the production line, filling up cars with gasses, brake fluid, washer fluid and all that. Day in day out, Monday to Friday, 6.30am until 5.15pm," Bramall explained of his job.
      "I played a game at Birmingham City on a Monday. Then on the Tuesday, I was made redundant from Bentley Motors and on the Wednesday, Arsenal came in.
      "I was gobsmacked and took the chance with both hands. I drove down on the Wednesday and trained with the first team on Thursday and Friday. Then they offered me a deal.
      "It's mental because you're there watching Match of the Day and then the next minute you're there on the same pitch as Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Petr Cech and Olivier Giroud.
      "It still hasn't hit me now and I don't know when it will hit me. But like I say, I know I've got to take the opportunity."

      'Exciting prospect'

      Bramall might have swapped the eighth-tier Northern Premier League Premier Division for the Premier League but he'll have to prove his worth in Arsenal's Under-23 squad before graduating to the big league.
      He had unsuccessful trials for fellow Premier League team Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday, who play in England's second tier, before his big-time breakthrough at the Gunners.
      His move echoes the rise of Jamie Vardy, who progressed from non-league football to help Leicester City pull off a major shock by winning the Premier League last season.
      "[Bramall] is a young, promising left back who has a lack of experience at the top level but who has fantastic ingredients," Wenger told Arsenal's official site.
      "He has tremendous pace, a good left foot, a great desire to do well. Overall, he's a very exciting prospect."

      'Mental test'

      Wenger said of the grounding players get in non-league football: "It's a mental test -- do you love football enough?
      "Are you ready enough to fight [to show] that you are above this level and that you absolutely want to come back? Players like (Olivier) Giroud and (Laurent) Koscielny have had that test. They are similar to that. Once they get up, they really mean it."
      Bramall has a long way to go to make as big an impression on Arsenal as his favorite player from the club growing up.
      "Thierry Henry, there's no doubt," he said. "He was a top, top player. Straight away I'll say Thierry Henry.
        "I liked the cockiness about him, the way he put himself about on the pitch. He was a top player and again it's mad that I'm here because he's been here ... it's just crazy."
        Later Wednesday luxury car maker Bentley told CNN it had plans to offer Bramall one of its cars given he'd worked for the company between April and December 2016 before joining Arsenal.