On Monday afternoon, Colchester United confirmed that Tom Smith has completed a permanent transfer to the club, signing a two-year deal after his loan spell with the same side last season.
Smith was released by Arsenal earlier in the summer, so he was available to join Colchester United on a free transfer.
“It’s been a long few weeks since leaving Arsenal, but now I’m delighted it’s done and I can get going for the season,” Smith said.
“The bulk of the team is still there along with the manager and the style of play, so it made it quite an easy decision. I didn’t feel like I was out of place, it’s just like home.”
Smith isn’t the first Arsenal youngster to make the switch to Colchester United this summer, with Kaleel Green joining the same club after his release by the Gunners and Mauro Bandeira moving on a season-long loan.
Smith has acknowledged his Arsenal exit with a farewell message on his Instagram page last month.
“Thank You Arsenal, after 14 years I am leaving this great club,” Smith said. “It has been absolutely incredible to represent this club and to experience so many great moments.
“I would like to thank all the players, staff, and fans for always supporting me. I wish you all success going forward.
“Once a Gooner, Always a Gooner.”
Smith’s departure likely related to Arsenal’s stacked squad when it comes to the goalkeeper position.
Aaron Ramsdale rotated with Matt Turner and Karl Hein last season, but there’s also Arthur Okonkwo, Runar Alex Runarsson, Ovie Ejeheri, Hubert Graczyk, and James Hillson.
All of the above have aged out of u18 football and are therefore competing for two playing positions, one in the first team and one in the u21s. And the club are now looking to add David Raya into the mix.
Smith had impressed on his loan to Colchester United, playing a pivotal role in helping them to avoid relegation. Now he has the chance to prove himself for the long term.