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Arsenal Academy Update: 2 new loans, Smith Rowe & more

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The Gunners begin to settle 20/21 plans for the future.

Arsenal Training Session Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

The 20/21 season is just weeks away, and while clubs have a later than usual window to conduct transfer business, many will want to resolve matters before the new campaigns kick off. As such, Arsenal have recently begun making plans for many of their top young talents coming out of Hale End.

First, right-back Zak Swanson will be making a year-long loan to MVV Maastricht in the Eerste Divisie, the second division in the Netherlands. Last season Swanson made 16 appearances for the U23s. This will be his first stint away from Arsenal and a great chance to see what his potential may be as a future first team full-back option.

Second, the club announced U23 centerback Zech Medley would be joining League One side Gillingham for the upcoming campaign. Last season Gillingham finished 10th in League One, nine points out of the playoff positions. A promising young CB option, this will also be Medley’s first big test and a chance to show Arteta what he may be able to offer the first team for the following season.

Last month, Arsenal announced that Dinos Mavropanos had signed a new contract with the club and would be heading back out on loan to join VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga next season. With the Gunners loaded on centerback options, it’s intriguing that Mavro was signed to a new deal even though he has only made eight appearances for Arsenal since joining in January 2018.

In unconfirmed, but reported news for the young Gunners, football.London is stating that the club plans to include Emile Smith Rowe as a member of the first team this coming season and not loan the attacking midfielder out again. With Ozil being frozen out, Smith Rowe’s ability to play the 10, and his versatility, he will make a great addition to Arteta’s rebuilding project.

The article also reports that forward/winger Tyreece John-Jules and center midfielder Matt Smith are targets for loans next season. Meanwhile, Folarin Balogun’s future remains a question after transfer rumors appeared last month. Balogun is considered to be one of, if not the most talented from the current batch of U23 players. From Arsenal’s standpoint, a new contract and full season loan would be ideal while Aubameyang, Lacazette, Nketiah, & Martinelli all sit ahead of him in the striker depth chart. It would be a shame to let a promising young forward walk away from the club if he has the potential to develop into a Premier League starter.

Looking even deeper down the U23s talent pool, keep an eye out for moves this summer or key roles in the Premier League 2 for several other players, including:

- Trae Coyle (right winger)

- Ben Cottrell (attacking midfielder)

- James Olayinka (center midfielder)

- Ben Sheaf (center midfielder)

- Tolaji Bola (left back)

- Harry Clarke (center back)