There is plenty of work for the Arsenal front office to do this summer. Senior players out on loan that either need new, permanent, homes, or a chance to return to the club next season. Deals needed for players expected to leave the Emirates, such as Hector Bellerin, and reinforcements coming in (midfield, left-back, and keeper, just to name a few).
But with an acamedy system full of players out on loan this past season, many reaching an age where their Arsenal futures need a firm decision, and plenty of talented young players coming through at the U18 and U23 levels, it is time to move on from some of the more familiar names from the Arsenal U23 side in recent years.
On Monday the club announced that three of those such players had signed new permanent deals taking them to the Championship, Switzerland and Belgium.
Time at Arsenal: Joined in 2016 from Chelsea’s academy playing nearly 70 matches at center back over the next few seasons, plus getting three senior appearances (two in the Europa League and once in the FA Cup). Split this past season out on loan, first at Gillingham in League One before finishing up with Kilmarnock in Scotland.
Heading to: Oostende in the Belgian First Division. Last season they finished fifth in the regular season before failing to win their playoff group and a spot in the Europa Conference League.
The context for Arsenal: While Medley has great size and is still just 20, the depth at center back for Arsenal, plus considering the potential returns of Saliba and Mavropanos, meant that Medley has very little chance of breaking into the first team over the next few seasons. Add in any additional CB transfers and this was clearly his best move.
Time at Arsenal: At the club since he was 8 years old making 87 appearances for Arsenal’s U23 & U18 sides. He managed 21 goals and 16 assists during that time, but saw his productivity drop as he moved up from the U18 level to the U23s in the Premier League 2. He spent the first half of this past season on loan at Gillingham in League One, managing four goals for 21 matches.
Heading to: FC Lausanne–Sport in the Swiss Super League, who finished 6th last season just four points away from earning a place in the new Europa Conference League.
The context for Arsenal: With Reiss Nelson finding it hard to get first-team minutes, Coyle clearly faced an uphill battle over the next few seasons at Arsenal. The Gunners’ academy has several other attacking midfield prospects such as George Lewis, Marcelo Flores, Omari Hutchinson and Kido Taylor-Hart.
Time at Arsenal: Another 20-year-old center-back coming off his first season away on loan. With the Arsenal academy since age 10, he played just 31 times for the U23/18 sides before heading to Ipswich Town on loan. A successful stint in League One set him up well for a move to the Championship, whether that had been a permanent deal or another season on loan.
Heading to: Cardiff City in the Championship. They finished 8th last season, nine points out of the playoff positions.
The context for Arsenal: Like Medley, McGuinness wasn’t getting into the Arsenal first team this season or next, so at a minimum, he was heading out again. With a club in the Championship offering a full contract it makes perfect sense for the player. For Arsenal, there seems to be a steady stream of CB prospects coming through with Per Mertesacker at the helm.
Best of luck to all three as they continue their professional journies.