With the January fixtures thankfully behind us, Arsenal turns their attention to an international break training camp & closing out the transfer window. Additional moves into and away from the club are expected in the coming days. But the Gunners are fully up to speed when it comes to sending players out on loan. A total of 22 senior players or U23s have been or are still currently away on loan.
Arsenal could easily field an On-Loan Starting XI. And that’s yet to include the rumored exits of Bernd Leno and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Today we look at the first eight players (alphabetically by last name), where they’ve been, how the season to date has been going, and look ahead to the second half of the campaign.
Player/Age: Miguel Azeez, 19
Season overview & Outlook: Azeez spent the first half of the season in League One with Portsmouth, making 10 appearances, scoring and assisting once. The side had six wins, two draws, and two losses when Azeez lined up in central midfield. Now back at Arsenal, he could see out the season with the U23s and as midfield depth for the first team, unless another League One or Championship side make an offer to play him regularly in the second half of the year.
Player/Age: Daniel Ballard, 22
Season overview & Outlook: The Northern Ireland center-back has been a regular for Millwall who sit in 14th place in the Championship. He picked up a goal in the 1-1 draw against West Brom earlier this season but overall has helped Millwall keep a fairly strong defense. Almost always in matches, the club were higher up the table before Ballard suffered a knee injury which required surgery as Millwall have slid as of late. He will be out of action until at least March but is expected to continue with Millwall to see out the year.
Player/Age: Folarin Balogun, 20
Season overview & Outlook: After a successful half-season with the Arsenal U23s and beginning to edge into the first team, Balogun will get a taste of the Championship. He was dominated at the U23 level, with 15 goals and 4 assists across 13 appearances. Balogun will now be in a battle for the playoff positions with Middlesborough, currently in 7th place. An excellent opportunity for him to gain experience while Arsenal sorts out their forward position for next season.
Player/Age: Hector Bellerin, 26
Club: Real Betis
Season overview & Outlook: It’s strange to see the long-time Arsenal right-back and off-field advocate in another jersey. Now with Real Betis, Bellerin and his side are having a wonderful season currently 3rd in La Liga. Hector has made 15 appearances across competitions, providing four assists, and helping the side advance to the Europa League knockout stage. He is expected to make a full move this summer.
Player/Age: Harry Clarke, 20
Club: Ross County (1st Half) & Hibernian (2nd Half)
Season overview & Outlook: The U23 center-back and right-back prospect spent the first half of the season with Ross County playing 17 times with three goals and two assists. The club sit 10th (out of 12), but Clarke gained great experience, starting most of those matches. Now for the back half of the year, he is moving up the table to 5th place Hibernian, once he returns from a hamstring injury. He’ll have one year left on his current deal after this season.
Player/Age: Jonathan Dinzeyi, 22
Club: Carlisle United
Season overview & Outlook: It was a lackluster loan move for Dinzeyi who only got into three matches for the League Two side. He has since returned from Carlisle and is currently set to feature for the Arsenal U23s for the remainder of the season. With his current deal expiring in June and failing to make an impact in League Two, Arsenal may elect to part ways this summer.
Player/Age: Matteo Guendouzi, 22
Season overview & Outlook: The first of Arsenal’s on-loan duo at 3rd place Marseille (and now third former Gunner Sead Kolasinac). The club has the best defensive record in the league with Guendouzi as a regular starter. 29 appearances, two goals, and nine assists. As Arsenal look to continue their midfield overhaul in the summer, it is very likely that Guendouzi will make the permanent move to Marseille where he can continue reviving his progression that stalled at the Emirates. However, reports of a two-year transfer ban may see Guendouzi and Saliba sent back to Arsenal for the summer at least.
Player/Age: Karl Hein, 19
Season overview & Outlook: From the Arsenal first-team bench to the Championship, at least Hein is having a good January. He started seven matches for the U23s in the first half of the season, without a single defeat. Already a starter for the Estonian national team, this is a big opportunity for Hein. Reading have been in freefall and are looking to bring in players for the back-half of the season to rescue them from relegation. This will be a wonderful first test for the young keeper to see how he handles not only the senior level but the pressure of a relegation battle.
That’s it for part one. Check back in tomorrow as we check in with the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Tyreece John-Jules, & more.