On Tuesday we started our look at the vast number of Arsenal players out on loan. We covered two senior players that are helping their new sides challenge for a UEFA Champions League position and a few academy products that could one day be first-team regulars. Now we move on to our second set of players which includes a few interesting senior team players who have very uncertain futures at the club.
Player/Age: Dejan Iliev, 26
Club: SKF Sered
Season overview & Outlook: He made 10 appearances this season in the Fortuna Liga, the top flight in Slovakia & the domestic cup. Iliev was scheduled for a full-season loan, but an injury in October has kept him out of action since then. Last week Arsenal recalled him from the loan and agreed to terminate his contract. He had 39 matches for the U23s but never made an appearance for the senior side.
Player/Age: Tyreece John-Jules, 20
Club: Blackpool (First Half) & Sheffield Wednesday (Second Half)
Season overview & Outlook: John-Jules started the year with Championship side Blackpool and was a regular contributor in the opening months of the season. However, no goals and just two assists in the EFL Cup saw him pushed out of the squad by late October. After a brief return to Arsenal, he is off to League One (where he spent last season with Doncaster Rovers) to join 9th place Sheffield Wednesday as they look to add goals in their playoff chase. With just two wins in their last eight, there is a chance for John-Jules to pick up significant minutes if he can get off to a fast start.
Player/Age: Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 24
Season overview & Outlook: Often described as a utility player, Maitland-Niles continued to see his playing time at Arsenal difficult to come by. So far this season he has time at CM, DM, RM, LM, RB, and LB between Arsenal and his new home for the second half of the season, Roma. He is off to a great start in Italy, two starts and four appearances overall, with three wins and the lone loss a 4-3 against Juventus. Currently, in 6th place, Maitland-Niles has a great opportunity to show he is ready to be a regular in the starting XI in a top-flight league. Whether it’s at Arsenal next season, Roma, or a new home, it’s safe to say most Gunners fans want the best for his future.
Player/Age: Pablo Mari, 28
Season overview & Outlook: A signing out of left field that became a regular starter but eventually saw his time at the club fall out after being a part of the brutal start to this season. Now he’s off to Udinese who are 15th in Serie A. He will likely be looking for a new permanent home away from Arsenal this summer. A strong run with Udinese could see him settle there for the next few seasons, but either way, hopefully raise his value and profile ahead of the summer transfer window.
Player/Age: Konstantinos Mavropanos, 24
Club: VfB Stuttgart
Season overview & Outlook: On the other end of the Arsenal CB on loan spectrum, is Mavropanos who despite joining the club in January 2018 has only made 8 appearances for the Gunners (434 total minutes). This season he is back at Stuttgart in the Bundesliga, and while the team is in a relegation battle, Mavropanos continues to grow in stature. He has 19 appearances so far this season but has added five goals and one assist (after zero in either category last year). His contract runs in June 2023, which means this summer is the decision point for club and player. Is he the right CB depth behind Gabriel and White, or will Rob Holding and the return of William Saliba dictate Mavropanos is sold?
Player/Age: Nikolaj Möller, 19
Club: Viktoria Köln
Season overview & Outlook: The promising young forward arrived at Arsenal in late 2020 where he netted seven goals and two assists in 18 matches for the U23s in the Premier League 2. For the first half of the season he has been on loan in the third division in Germany, 3.Liga. Viktoria Köln are mid-table and Moller had some standout moments in the Middle Rhine Cup (3G/2A in 3 matches), but ultimately wasn’t seeing the playing time Arsenal were hoping for. Now with Folarin Balogun out on loan, Moller will either be a primary forward option for the Arsenal U23 side or back out on loan at a different club in the coming days.
Player/Age: Reiss Nelson, 22
Season overview & Outlook: After a great season on loan at TSG Hoffenheim in 2018/19, Nelson has seen his time at Arsenal frustrated by the arrival of Pepe and Willian and the emergence of Bukayo Saka on the right. Now on loan in the Eredivisie, Nelson is getting consistent playing time and Feyenoord are third in the league, even if it hasn’t produced goals yet. Like Maitland-Niles, a successful second half of the season seems most likely to result in a permanent move this summer. It’s hard to see his way back into Arsenal’s first team with Saka securing the right wing spot, unless Pepe exits over the summer and the club focus resources on the more pressing matters up top and midfield.
Check back in later this week as we wrap up this mid-season check-in with Arsenal’s players out on loan. In part three we will cover William Saliba, Lucas Torreira, Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson & a quartet of academy prospects.