Chuba Akpom set sights on historic Greek Super League triumph with PAOK

Chuba Akpom
The Double-Headed Eagle are in the hunt of winning their first Greek top-flight title since 1985

Former Arsenal forward Chuba Akpom is aiming to help PAOK become the first Greek club to win the Super League title without losing a match since the 1963-64 season.

Following his permanent move from Arsenal last summer, Akpom is having a decent debut campaign in Greece and has scored six goals in 27 matches across all competitions.

His contributions have helped Rzvan Lucescu's side better last season’s feat in terms of points garnered and win ratio after finishing as runners-up behind AEK Athens in the 2017-18 season.

Panathinaikos were the last club to go unbeaten in an entire Greek top-flight campaign 55 years ago and with just three games left to be played before being crowned champions for the third time with an unblemished record, Akpom reflected on his time in Thessaloniki – the country’s largest city.

"Everywhere I go, fans are always reminding me it's been 34 years since we last won the league," Akpom told BBC Sport.

"Football is a religion here. Supporters are always stopping to show me their PAOK tattoos. When I flew over to sign, there were fans waiting for me at the airport. It's a whole new experience.

"I did my research before I joined. Lucas Perez said that I wouldn't want to leave PAOK if I signed.

"Thessaloniki is a beautiful city by the sea, the people are friendly, the climate is nice and, when I'm not training, I'm sometimes able to go to nearby beaches.

"I'm living in an apartment about 10 minutes from the ground and I drive along the coast to training."

Akpom joined Arsenal at a very tender age of six and developed through the ranks at the Emirates Stadium alongside Alex Iwobi.

Unlike Iwobi, the 23-year-old was sent out on loan to six different teams on different occasions but was still unable to secure a regular first-team spot.

And he disclosed the reasons for his switch following a chat with manager Unai Emery before the start of the 2018-19 season.

"I spoke to Unai Emery. He just said that there's a lot of strikers and it would be hard for him to give me game time, which I respected,” he added.

"You have to remember I'm an Arsenal fan, I'd spent most of my life at the club, I watch all their matches on television out here.

"Of course it was hard to leave, but I needed first-team football.

"Joining PAOK has given me a new life experience and we've got a great chance of doing something special this season.”

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The Double-Headed Eagle have automatically qualified for the second qualifying stage of next season’s Uefa Champions League.

And Akpom is looking forward to playing against his boyhood club in the elite European competition.

"I'd love that. It would be a dream to play at Emirates Stadium again,” he concluded.