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Arsenal Loan Watch: World Cup Break Part 3 - Pepe, Tavares, Patino & more

The final group of loanees around Europe this season.

Olympique Lyonnais v OGC Nice - Ligue 1 Uber Eats Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

In part three of the loan player update, there is a full spectrum of future possibilities with Arsenal. Senior players that are clearly done at the club, but when their final exit takes place remains unknown. A talented midfield who is knocking on the door for Mikel Arteta’s roster next year. Youngsters have struggled to find minutes due to a variety of issues. And a surprisingly productive loan move in the Championship.

If you missed the first two parts you can find those here:

Part 1 - Miguel Azeez, Folarin Balogun, Harry Clarke, Marcelo Flores & more

Part 2 - Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pablo Mari, Arthur Okonkwo, Brooke Norton-Cuffy & more

Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand, 19, CM

Hull City (Championship)

Update & Outlook: After picking up an injury during Arsenal’s preseason Oulad M’Hand has yet to make his debut at Hull City. He has returned to training with the club but has not yet been able to make the matchday squad. Hull City are 20th in the Championship and in need of changes to keep them away from the relation zone. On a break until December 11th, the extended time in training may present the perfect opportunity for Oulad M’Hand to break into the squad.

Charlie Patino, 19, CM

Blackpool (Championship)

Update & Outlook: If anyone can match Folarin Balogun’s impressive loan performance this season it is Charlie Patino. The pair of them demonstrate how strong the Arsenal development system is and bodes well for the future of bringing through more academy players. In his first-ever professional loan, he has thrived in the Championship at Blackpool. While the club may be sitting in 23rd, Patino has been one of the standout players. He ranks in the top six for goals, assists, shot-creating actions, goal-creating actions, progressive passes, and crosses into the box.

Thanks to reader ‘ZF_PNW’ for highlighting this lovely visual presentation of Patino’s stats this year in the Championship. If he continues to perform at this rate it’s hard to see him not moving into the first team in place of Mohamed Elneny next season.

Nicolas Pepe, 27, RW

Nice (Ligue 1)

Update & Outlook: With another season left on Pepe’s contract after this year, his improved form for Nice gives hope that the two clubs could potentially agree on a full transfer next summer. Playing at both his traditional role at Arsenal on the right wing and up top, Pepe already has six goals and an assist in 18 matches. Every single one of those goals, across Ligue 1 and the Europa Conference League, has helped Nice secure points for either a win or a draw. The club is currently 9th in the French table and topped their European group. He leads Nice in goals, shots, and actions that have led to shots and goals. He seems to have found his way again after a difficult 2021-22 at Arsenal.

Omar Rekik, 20, CB

Sparta Rotterdam (Eredivisie)

Update & Outlook: The young center back’s first loan has been slightly hampered by a muscle injury but he has been a consistent presence within the matchday squad. More often on the bench, Rekik has only seen 15 minutes of action in the league. His only full match came for Sparta’s youth team in the Dutch third division. The club is sixth in the table, so while he isn’t getting much playing time, he is at least maintaining his spot in the 18.

Runar Alex Runarsson, 27, GK

Alanyaspor (Super Lig, Turkish 1st Division)

Update & Outlook: A name likely forgotten by many Arsenal fans. And this season isn’t even the end of Runarsson’s contract with the club. He has started every match for Alanyaspor in the Super Lig, who like Pepe is hopefully setting up a permanent move this coming summer. In addition to helping the club into the middle of the table, Runarsson continues to be Iceland’s #1 keeper. This season he’s had two wins and a draw in international play.

Tom Smith, 20, GK

Bromley (National League, 5th tier)

Update & Outlook: With so many young keepers featured in these loan update articles, it only highlights the odd decision to sign Runarrson to such a long contract. Since joining Bromley, Smith has taken over as their starting keeper with the club currently 10th in the National League.

Nuno Tavares, 22, LB

Olympique Marseille (Ligue 1)

Update & Outlook: In the first update earlier this season I noted that this move looked like a perfect scenario for all three parties involved. A few months on and that continues to be the case. Tavares has played 20 times for Marseille who are 4th in Ligue 1. The consistent and productive play has maintained Tavares’ transfer value, if Arsenal needed to go that route, once again could see the loan club requesting a full transfer in the summer. And back in London, the arrival of Oleksandr Zinchenko has been a key component of Arsenal’s ascension to the top of the Premier League. Tavares has three goals and is at the top of the charts at Marseille for getting the ball into the penalty area.

Auston Trusty, 24, CB

Birmingham City (Championship)

Update & Outlook: One of the more interesting loan moves to track. MLS to Arsenal to playing in the Championship, how would Trusty adapt to his new league? Impressively. He’s not only played in all 22 of Birmingham’s matches so far this season but he’s also played every single minute. The only player at the club to do so, while scoring three goals. He leads the team in tackles, blocks, interceptions, and clearances. Clearly capable of performing in the Championship, considering Ben White’s shift to right-back, could Trusty pull the surprising move and join Arsenal as the 4th CB next year?

Will Arsenal be able to move Pepe and Runarsson off the books this coming summer? Could either Tavares or Trusty find their way into the first team next year? And who’s excited to see Patino lining up in the Premier League next year?