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Isaac Hayden returns to Arsenal, Serge Gnabry next?

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Defensive midfield prospect Isaac Hayden was relegated to the bench in recent months with Hull City and is returning to Arsenal. Also, there is a report that Arsenal are working to end Serge Gnabry's loan with West Bromwich Albion.

See, I'm pretty sure "LANS" is on his shirt.
See, I'm pretty sure "LANS" is on his shirt.
Tony Marshall/Getty Images

We have our first LANS (Like A New Signing, for the uninitiated) of the new year. Isaac Hayden, a defensive midfield prospect that also has experience at centerback, is returning to Arsenal early from his loan to Championship side Hull City.

Hull City say the decision was mutual and that seems to make sense. While Hayden began the season playing frequently, he had not featured in recent weeks as Steve Bruce favored David Meyler and Jake Livermore over the Arsenal youngster. The whole purpose of his loan was to get playing time to further is development so if the former was not happened, the latter certainly would not be happening.

Hayden's chances of sticking with the Arsenal first-team this season are slim. With the purchase of Mohamed Elneny set to be finalized possibly as soon as 00:01 Greenwich Mean Time Saturday morning, Arsenal do not have many open squad spots. If that purchase takes longer to go through, Hayden might get lucky and sit on the first-team bench as a substitute option. However, if Hayden were to play for Arsenal, he would be unable to play for a third side this season. Thus, it seems far more likely that he will immediately be sent out on loan to another squad for the second half of the season.

There is also a report, not yet confirmed, that Arsenal are working with West Bromwich Albion to bring the loan spell of Serge Gnabry to a close. Gnabry has featured less-than-sparingly for the Baggies this season. After suffering an injury that kept him out all of last year, the young German risks losing another year of his development if he stays with WBA and does not play.

While Gnabry has a history of first-team success, much more so than Hayden, it does not seem likely that he'd slip right back into first-team contention. The fact that he has hardly played senior football in the past year and a half hurts those chances. However, with injured players such as Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, and Tomas Rosicky continuing to have their returns delayed, there could be a possibility that Gnabry is kept around for attacking depth.