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Young Arsenal defender heading to Scotland on loan

A center-back prospect for the future.

Arsenal v Ipswich Town: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

On May 1st, many Arsenal fans were asking the question - who is Alex Kirk? When Mikel Arteta announced the starting lineup and bench for the match against West Ham, an unfamiliar name helped fill out the final matchday squad spots. With no Ben White, Arsenal needed center-back coverage, and in came Kirk from the U23s. But for the ‘22/23 season, the young Gunners will be getting a year of professional experience as he joins Ayr United in the Scottish Championship.

As is a familiar line for Arsenal fans, Kirk has been with the club’s academy system ‘since age eight’. He made his first appearance for the U18s in 2018 before securing a regular starting role for ‘18/19. Another year and another step forward saw Alex split time between the U18s and U23s in the ‘19/20 season. Still just 19, Kirk looks like a talented young CB but will need the experience and test at the senior level to evaluate his potential.

Last season Ayr United finished 8th in the Scottish second-tier, nearly giving up a league-high amount of goals. Looking to move closer to the promotion positions this season, Kirk should get plenty of chances this season.

He will be looking for a strong season to help him stand out among several academy CB prospects. Arsenal has Harry Clarke (21, on loan at Stoke City this coming season), Omar Rekik (20, on loan at Sparta Rotterdam), Zack Awe (18), Taylor Forlan (18), Zane Monlouis (18), & Mazeed Ogungbo (18, and another bench name for Arteta last season). It’s one thing to look promising within the academy and another to shine while out on loan. Moving from Arsenal’s junior teams into the senior side is immensely difficult, but Per Mertesacker has plenty of options to keep an eye on.