Chuba Akpom looking to break into Arsenal squad this season

Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom says he is ready for a "big season" and is hoping to emulate close friend Alex Iwobi by breaking into the first team.

Akpom, 20, will have a chance to shine this summer as France international Olivier Giroud will miss the Gunners' preseason friendlies after participating in the Euro 2016 final, and Arsene Wenger has yet to sign another striker.

Akpom, who has had loan spells at Brentford, Coventry, Nottingham Forest and Hull, started Arsenal's friendly at RC Lens on Friday, when he failed to score but showed good linkup play with Iwobi and fellow youngster Jeff Reine-Adelaide.

And the England under-21 international told Squawka that his loan spells have helped him get ready for a bigger role with the Gunners in the Premier League.

"The aim for this season is to get as much game time for Arsenal as I can and hopefully have an impact on the first team," he said. "I've gone on loan, gained a lot of experience and I have come back more prepared, so hopefully I'll get as much minutes for Arsenal."

Akpom is part of the Arsenal contingent currently in the United States for two games in California and will likely alternate with Theo Walcott in attack.

And having seen Iwobi -- who came up through the academy ranks with Akpom -- make his breakthrough last season, the English striker is hoping to do the same.

Wenger told Iwobi that he would not be sent on loan last year after impressing in preseason, and Akpom made it clear he wants to stay in North London and fight for his place in the team.

"As a young player you have to be patient to get your opportunity. The boss knows what he's doing all the time, he knows when to put you in at the right time, so you just have to be ready and prepared and keep mentally focused," he said.

"I've gone on loan and I think that's benefited me. It's all helped me because now I've matured as a player and hopefully this season can be a big season for me and Arsenal."

If Wenger does sign a big-name striker to lead the line, Akpom said he is more than happy to help out on the wing.

"Of course. I've played on the flanks a few times for Arsenal so yes I think I could play there, I can dribble, I can run," he said. "It's a big task defensively as well. If I got the chance to play there I would love to, the main thing is playing for the team and contributing, making an impact."