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Arsenal’s 20-21 Loan Round-up - Who, Where & Outlook (Part 1)

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14 different players are lining up away from the Emirates this year.

Gillingham v Hull City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

It was a busy transfer window for Arsenal, even if it seemed like the club needed the final day move for Thomas Partey to make an impact. Six first team players were brought in with two players leaving the senior side on a full transfer, while the academy had another six players exit the club and six new faces brought in for the U23s side.

Dani Ceballos is the club’s only inbound player on loan, but Arsenal did some serious business in the other direction. 14 different players across the senior and U23 sides are heading out on loans for all or part of the 2020-21 season. In this first part, we look at the defenders and goalkeeper that will be playing elsewhere and what this loan means for each individual in the context of their time at Arsenal and future with the club.

And if you have ESPN+ this is shaping up to be a great year to catch some Arsenal prospects in action. Eight U23 players are out on loan in League One this season and another two are getting tested in the Championship. If there is a League One match on ESPN+ there are good odds an Arsenal player might be featured.

Konstantinos Mavropanos
Age: 22
Position: CB
New Club: VfB Stuttgart (Bundesliga)
Length of Loan: Full season
Outlook: This is Mavropanos’s fourth year at the club and he’s only made eight total appearances during that stretch. With three years left on his current deal, it might be time to move on from the CB prospect after this season unless he impresses at Stuttgart and appears to be ready to challenge for a role at Arsenal next year.

Dejan Iliev
Age: 25
Position: GK
New Club: Shrewsbury Town (League One)
Length of Loan: Half season
Outlook: If he isn’t playing often in League One, Arsenal will likely move him to another club for the spring. Much like the current U23s keeper, Matt Macey, the academy system needs to overhaul their goalkeeper position in the next year or two. Neither Macey or Iliev look likely to be a Premier League starter, and the starts for the U23s should be going to Karl Jakob Hein or James Hillson.

Zech Medley
Age: 20
Position: CB
New Club: Gillingham (League One)
Length of Loan: Full season
Outlook: This is Medley’s first loan move away from Arsenal since joining the academy in 2016. He is a promising prospect so this year will tell us a lot about where he is in his development at the senior level. There are a lot of names in the Arsenal depth chart at centerback from the nearing retirement to the U23 side, and potentially several spots in the coming years if Arteta settles on a 3 centerback formation

Daniel Ballard
Age: 21
Position: CB
New Club: Blackpool (League One)
Length of Loan: Half season
Outlook: Ballard went out on loan to Swindon Town last season, but only managed three appearances before suffering a long term knee injury. This will be a good chance for him to get senior action and all of the notes above in Medley’s outlook apply here as well. The academy will be watching to see how his form is returning from injury and how much Blackpool utilizes him before opting for a return or the U23s for the spring.

Mark McGuinness
Age: 19
Position: CB
New Club: Ipswich Town (League One)
Length of Loan: Full season
Outlook: Arsenal, the official home club of all centerbacks, with four going out on loan. Last season McGuinness only managed a handful of matches for the U23s and actually captained the side as they beat Ipswich (his new home) in the EFL Trophy competition earlier this season. The fact that he has been given a full season on loan over a full year with the U23s speaks to his potential and the desire to test him now.

Zak Swanson
Age: 20
Position: RB
New Club: MVV Maastricht (Eerste Divisie)
Length of Loan: Full Season
Outlook: He’s been at Arsenal since 2006, but unlike several other recent academy products, Zak has yet to make a first team appearance. Last season was his first moving up to the U23s from the U18 side, and has already made two starts for his new club. He’s one of two potential academy right-back prospects that could eventually challenge for a senior team role in the next few years. The other is also out on loan...

Jordi Osei-Tutu
Age: 22
Position: RB
New Club: Cardiff City (Championship)
Length of Loan: Full season
Outlook: Spent last season on loan at VfL Bochum in the 2.Bundesliga, where he helped them finish 8th, appearing 22 times. Now he takes another step forward with his move to the Championship, where he has already played the full 90 minutes four times this season. This is one of the top five loan moves for Arsenal fans to track this season, as it’s a sizable challenge, Cedric’s viability is undetermined, and Bellerin will likely continue to be linked with a move despite Arteta’s statement of commitment.

Tolaji Bola
Age: 21
Position: LB
New Club: Rochdale (League One)
Length of Loan: Half season
Outlook: Bola was the primary left back for the U23s last season and is getting his first test away from Arsenal this year. With Tierney, Kolasinac, Maitland-Niles and Saka all ahead of him in the first team, Bola has little pressure and chance to push into the first team at the moment, but a year in League One and away from academy football should tell us a lot about his upside.

While Mavropanos is probably the name most readers will be familiar with from this group, Jordi Osei-Tutu’s season in the Championship is the primary one to watch here. Which player do you think will have the most meaningful loan this season and which do you think has the best chance of eventually making it to the Arsenal first team in the future? Check back in tomorrow as we look at the midfielders and attackers heading out on loan.