Australian prodigy Panos Armenakas has signed a three-year contract with Udinese in Italy's Serie A.
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16 Jun 2014 - 1:20 PM  UPDATED 16 Jun 2014 - 1:22 PM

The deal makes the teenager, two months short of his 16th birthday, the youngest ever Australian to sign a professional contract in one of Europe's top five leagues.

Armenakas, now at Watford in England where he has been for two years, is a left-footed attacking midfielder and playmaker who has deflected offers from top professional clubs in England, Spain, the Netherlands and France to take the offer from the Zebrette.

Born on 5 August 1998 and raised in Sydney, Armenakas has been one of Australia's most admired young talents for a decade. I personally have been following his progress since 2004 when he was just six and this is what I wrote about him in 2010 when he was just 11.

Armenakas has bloomed to be a classic number 10, a playmaker with a brain and possessing all the tricks of the trade.  He dribbles exquisitely, makes telling passes and scores wonderful goals. As a little boy his role model was Ronaldinho, and it shows.

Through his birth to a Greek-Australian father and an American mother, Panos qualifies to play for three countries. Indeed the Greeks have been courting him for a while and he has already turned out for Greece in some youth friendlies.

My information is that his heart is set on playing for Australia. Tony Vidmar, Australia U-17 coach, had already called him for an AFC tournament last year but the boy had to decline because of an injury.

That ruled Armenakas out of playing for the Joeys in the qualifiers for next year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup, due later this year. But FIFA rules allow him to be selected by Australia in the finals, in the event that the team qualifies.

Armenakas will join Udinese’s primavera (U-19) squad under the coaching of Mattiussi Luca and the supervision of newly appointed senior coach Andrea Stramaccioni, formerly of Inter Milan.

The teenager’s links with Udinese go back to 2012 when he joined the junior academy of Watford, a club owned by the Pozzo family - which also owns Udinese. Udinese wanted him then but preferred to send him to Watford to be close to his parents, who live in London.

In Australia, the boy mostly attended the AC Milan Academy where he fell under the watchful eye of the academy's parent club.

Indeed he was often invited to come to the club's Milanello technical centre and even wore the colours of the Rossoneri in junior tournaments.

Panos will begin his contract with Udinese in July.