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Arsenal Loan Roundup: March Edition - Part 1

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Checking in with the Gunners away from North London as the season winds down.

VfB Stuttgart v FC Schalke 04 - Bundesliga Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The international break offers Mikel Arteta a chance to reset for the final run-in in the Premier League and the Europa League quarterfinals. As well as a chance to put some distance between that rough opening half hour against West Ham. So it’s a good chance for us to check in on the senior and U23 players who are out on loan — 17 in total!

Here is a breakdown of the first set of players with part two coming tomorrow:

Player/Age: Daniel Ballard, 21

Club: Blackpool

Status check & Outlook: It’s been quite the season for Ballard. He made his debut for the Northern Ireland senior national team, becoming a starter for their UEFA Nations League matches. At club level, the CB has been a key figure in Blackpool’s climb into 6th place in League One. Before this past weekend, he had started eight matches in a row, going unbeaten and allowing only three goals over that stretch. Of all the U23 players out on loan, Ballard seems the most ready to play for the first team, but a year in the Championship next season is hopefully how his ‘21-22 future plays out.

Player/Age: Harry Clarke, 20

Club: Oldham Athletic

Status check & Outlook: 27 appearances and one goal for the League Two side, who currently sit seven points clear of the relegation zone. The academy seems to have an endless supply of young CB options that are getting tests at the senior level this season. Another season in League One or Two next year seems likely.

Player/Age: Matteo Guendouzi, 21

Club: Hertha BSC

Under contract at Arsenal until: June 30, 2022

Status check & Outlook: Arteta hasn’t been afriad to move or freeze out players causing issues in the locker room or who don’t suit his vision of the team. If Guendouzi can return to London this summer ready to put in the work both on the pitch and in rebuilding relationships, he could develop into a solid Premier League player. There is uncertainty in the Arsenal midfield between Ceballos, Elneny, Willock, Maitland-Niles and whether or not they can secure Odegaard permanently, so anything is possible.

Hertha is in 14 place, just two points clear of relegation, it’s been an up-and-down season for Guendouzi. This past weekend he started for the first time in five matches and picked up an assist in their 3-0 win. Can he work his way back into Arsenal’s Premier League plans? Does he want to? And if he wants a permenant exit how much can Arsenal get for the 21-year-old who could develop into a French senior national team player? Either way, it seems like his time at Hertha is over.

Player/Age: Tyreece John-Jules, 20

Club: Doncaster Rovers

Status check & Outlook: On the one hand, three goals and two assists in 15 appearances for 5th place Doncaster looks like a great season on loan for John-Jules. They’ve won nine times when he’s played, but the majority of his year has been interrupted by two lengthy injuries. A thigh issue kept him out for eight matches in the fall and has been on the sidelines since mid-January due to a muscle tear. He’s back in training now and looking to return for the final run of the season, which is great for Doncaster having won just twice in their last 11 matches. It could have been a significant step forward this season for John-Jules if not for his injury setbacks. Another year in League One or possibly a move up to the Championship would appear to be in the cards as he gets back to full fitness.

Player/Age: Sead Kolasinac, 27

Club: FC Schalke 04

Under contract at Arsenal until: June 30, 2022

Status check & Outlook: Looking to be a first choice starter and Arsenal seeing the end of Kolasinac’s contract approaching, found this move to Germany in the winter. Schalke is bottom in the Bundesliga and have shipped goals since Sead’s arrival, but he remains their captain. It’s expected he will make a full move to Germany this summer, but what will Schalke be willing to offer following relegation? Either way a return for Kolasinac to Arsenal is unlikely.

Player/Age: Konstantinos Mavropanos

Club: VfB Stuttgart

Under contract at Arsenal until: June 30, 2023

Status check & Outlook: Often forgotten during his tenure as an Arsenal player, Mavropanos had a slow start to the season with Stuttgart following two muscle injuries. Since then he’s been a regular starter and one of the surprise defensive standouts in the league with Stuttgart up to 9th place in the Bundesliga. Prior to their loss over the weekend against Bayern Munich, they had picked up 11 points from a possible 15. Valued well under $10 million at the moment, if Arsenal isn’t willing to give him a first-team role next season, there should be plenty of offers to sign him away. It’s time to see how he fares in England.

Player/Age: Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 23

Club: West Brom

Under contract at Arsenal until: June 30, 2023

Status check & Outlook: After a season and a half as Arsenal’s makeshift fullback, Maitland-Niles is finally getting the chance to start in midfield. He’s started every minute for West Brom since joining in early February and their defense has improved, giving up just five goals in seven matches. The move gives AMN the regular minutes to stay in contention for England and show his viability in midfield. As Ceballos and possibly Elneny exit this summer, will Arteta see him as a possibility in midfield next season or if only offered a role as a backup fullback or squad player, will he push for a move away from Arsenal this summer? $20-25 million and a chance to be a regular starter in midfield, might be the best option for all parties.

Player/Age: Mark McGuinness, 20

Club: Ipswich Town

Status check & Outlook: 19 appearances, 18 starts, and the winning goal against Burton Albion earlier this season, McGuinness has been left out of the squad as of late. With Ipswich in 10th place, just two points of the playoff positions, but losing their last two matches, there may be a chance for him to get back into the starting XI as the season winds down. A ‘21-22 season in League One or the Championship would best as Arsenal continues to evaluate which of the young CBs may be a potential future Premier League caliber player.

Player/Age: Zech Medley, 20

Club: Kilmarnock FC

Status check & Outlook: 25 appearances in the Scottish Premiership, including one goal. Typically a center-back, he’s also spent time at left-back for Kilmarnock. While this hasn’t been a great season for the club, it’s a great experience for Medley. With the senior team full of CB options, plus two senior CBs out on loan, there is no rush for Zech to be ready for the Premier League. Ideally, Arsenal can secure him a loan for the 21-22 season in the Championship if he can take the next step up.

Let us know in the comment section below what you think happens this summer with the senior players and what the future might hold for the U23 players. Check back in tomorrow for the second half when we look at Saliba, Willock, Torreira, and several U23 midfielders.