A frequent sight on the Arsenal senior training ground, 18-year-old Miguel Azeez, is seen as one of the future academy players who could become first-team members in the years ahead. Now rather than spend a full season with the Arsenal U23 side, Azeez is heading off on his first move away from the club and first real test at the senior level. On Monday, Arsenal announced his season-long loan move to League One’s Portsmouth.
Azeez has been a main fixture in the Arsenal U18 & U23 midfield for the last three seasons, making a combined 56 appearances, scoring ten goals, and providing six assists. He had one brief seven-minute appearance for the senior side in the Europa League last season. While he has played as an attacking and defensive midfield, Miguel looks most comfortable in the center of the pitch.
At the moment, Arsenal has Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Mohamed Elneny, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles available in midfield, although AMN is debatable in that role under Mikel Arteta, or as a future Gunner. With Elneny’s contract expiring after this season, the situation with Maitland-Niles, and a potential Xhaka exit next summer, there will be plenty of space for Azeez to make his case for the first team next season — that is, if he has an impressive campaign with Portsmouth.
Portsmouth are off to a great start in League One this season, picking up ten points from their first five matches, tying them for second place. Last season they finished 8th, just two points out of the playoff positions. Azeez could make a quick debut for Portsmouth, who next play on September 7th in their opening fixture of the Football League Trophy competition.
Academy Summer Transfer Market Recap:
- Daniel Oyegoke - Brentford (Premier League)
- Zech Medley - Oostende (Belgian First Division)
- Trae Coyle - FC Lausanne–Sport (Swiss Super League)
- Mark McGuinness - Cardiff City (Championship)
- Ben Sheaf - Coventry City (Championship)
Full Season Loans
- Daniel Ballard - Millwall (Championship)
- Matt Smith - Doncaster Rovers (League One)
- Nikolaj Moller - FC Viktoria Koln (German 3.Liga)
- Deyan Iliev - SKF Sered (Slovakia Super League)
- Tyreece John-Jules - Blackpool (Championship)
- Harry Clarke - Ross County (Scottish Premiership)
- Tom Smith - Welling United (National League South)
- Jordi Osei-Tutu - Nottingham Forest (Championship)
- Miguel Azeez - Portsmouth (League One)
- Mika Biereth - joined the Arsenal U23s from Fulham’s academy.
- Kido Taylor-Hart - signed his first professional contract.
- Mazeed Ogungbo - signed his first professional contract.
- Ovie Ejeheri - signed his first professional contract.
- Nathan Butler-Oyedeji - signed his first professional contract.
With Azeez’s move now official that likely concludes the transfer activity for the Arsenal U23s squad. However, with numerous players moving up from the U18s and the need to evaluate older players at the professional level as the club decides on their future, we could still see late loan moves for players such as James Olayinka, Zak Swanson, or George Lewis.
After an opening day defeat, the young Gunners have responded nicely, winning their last two matches (including against Tottenham’s U23s) to move up to fifth in the Premier League 2 table. They return to action on September 11th as they host Manchester United’s U23s.