Cohen Bramall was one of those Arsene Wenger signings that made you go ‘what?’
Cohen Bramall arrived at Arsenal in January 2017 for a fee of £336k. A pacey left-back he was billed as an unpolished gem who could play back-up to Nacho Monreal.
Sadly for all involved, the boy who’d been made redundant from the Bentley factory was not to have a fairytale rise, although he’s still only 24, so there’s time yet.
According to Bramall, who now plays for Lincoln City in League One, Arsene Wenger was “Demanding. A world-class coach but a world-class person as well. He took me under his wing straight away.
“Forget about the two-and-half-year contract, for him to ask me to come on trial, working with the first team and seeing how he coached blew my mind.
“It’s one of those things I’ll never forget. I’ll always be grateful for it.”
Bramall never saw a minute of action for the Arsenal first team. Sent out on loan to Birmingham six months after arriving, by the time that was finished Arsene Wenger was on his way out and Unai Emery, who would have no time for the defender, had arrived.
Back in 2019 Cohen Bramall revealed he was, understandably, gutted to be let go by Arsenal, blaming the departure of Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery’s refusal to even speak to him.
“When Arsene left it changed the whole thing for me, I’m gutted that he left,” Bramall said.
“When Unai came in I was hoping to train across with the first-team but I didn’t really get that opportunity.
“I didn’t have a conversation with Unai at all. That’s the thing. I didn’t have a conversation with him once.
“It was probably difficult for him because I’m guessing he was told I didn’t have the best of loans at Birmingham, so he just binned me off.
“And when I did get told to go over there and train, it was at the last minute. That’s the thing that upset me a bit because I didn’t get the chance to show Unai what I could do, like I did with Arsene.
“The last three months I worked really hard to see if anything would change, but nothing did. So I knew it was coming. I already accepted it when Arsene went.”
At the time, Bramall also gave credit to Hednesford Town manager Liam McDonald for his help in making the move to Arsenal happen.
McDonald also told the Birmingham Mail how happy he was for the full-back, and that he was glad to have played a part in the move, saying: “I’m absolutely chuffed for Cohen. To have helped with his development, and then to see him join Arsenal makes me so proud.
“I would like to think I have played a part in helping him get this chance. I had belief in him and I think that gave him belief.”
Although McDonald had a lot of belief that Cohen was meant for something bigger than Non-League football, the aim of the former Hednesford Town boss was simply to get him into the Football League, so the move to a Premier League side was a bonus.
“I sat him down, with his parents, and set out our plans to help him become a Football League player. He’s surpassed that to join a Premier League club and I really think he can have the same sort of impact as Jamie Vardy.” he added.
Billed as ‘faster than Hector Bellerin,’ (before his knee injury) Bramall has made 27 appearances for Lincoln this season, assisting four.