With the summer transfer window now well in the rear-view mirror, it seemed like the perfect time to catch up with the Gunners away from home. Arsenal has been prolific the past few seasons in finding loan moves for both their senior players, as well as standout academy prospects. This season they have landed several of the top U21 players in the Championship. In this series, we will look at each player’s age, loan club, the start of their season, and how that plays into the larger picture of their career with Arsenal.
Note: This series was written covering matches up through September 12th. Midweek matches this week may not have occurred at the time of writing.
Player/Age/Position: Tim Akinola / 21 / DM
Club: Chesterfield FC (National League, 5th Tier)
Season update & Outlook: Last season Akinola had an uneventful half-season loan in Scotland after spending the first half of the year with the Arsenal U23s. Now in the middle of a three-year contract, he needs a productive season in the National League if he hopes to maintain a spot in the academy. Even at 21, there are numerous other midfield players either on loan at bigger clubs or producing for the current academy side. Akinola has made two substitute appearances with Chesterfield now sitting top of the National League.
Player/Age/Position: Ryan Alebiosu / 20 / RB
Club: Kilmarnock FC (Scottish Premiership)
Season update & Outlook: The 21/22 season saw Alebiosu feature heavily for the U23s (seven assists in 14 matches), an injury-plagued half-season loan in League One, and an appearance on Arsenal’s bench for the final game of the Premier League season. He is now on a full-season loan in Scotland where he has played in every single match so far, league and cup, going up against both Rangers and Celtic.
Player/Age/Position: Miguel Azeez / 19 / CM
Club: UD Ibiza (LaLiga2)
Season update & Outlook: After an up-and-down 21/22 campaign, Azeez made the last move to Spain for this season. Prior to the loan, he started all of Arsenal’s Premier League 2 matches in defensive midfield, scoring once and helping see them to a 3 win, 1 draw start to the year. While he missed Ibiza’s match against Huesca, he came on as a late sub in the win over Tenerife.
Player/Age/Position: Folarin Balogun / 21 / CF
Club: Stade Reims (Ligue 1)
Season update & Outlook: A new long-term contract and a loan to Ligue 1. While Reims hasn’t seen favorable results, the season is off to a wonderful start for Folarin - seven matches, five goals, and two assists. Balogun’s Transfermarkt value is far too low ($4.4 million) and should be double (if not far more) that by the end of this season.
Player/Age/Position: Mike Biereth / 19 / CF
Club: RKC Waalwijk (Eredivisie)
Season update & Outlook: After a great season with the Arsenal U23/21 side, Biereth will be tested in the Eredivisie mid-table. He was on the bench for the opening match but picked up an injury that kept him out of the squad for a month. Biereth recently returned to the match-day squad and will be hoping to make his debut in the coming weeks. After scoring 12 goals and providing five assists last season he will be eager to test himself in this new environment.
Player/Age/Position: Harry Clarke / 21 / CB
Club: Stoke City (Championship)
Season update & Outlook: After spending time on loan in the Scottish Premiership last season, Clarke gets his first chance at the second tier in England. He started Stoke’s first two matches, a win, and a loss, picking up a goal against Blackpool. But a shin injury has kept him out since those opening fixtures.
Player/Age/Position: Ovie Ejeheri / 19 / GK
Club: Chelmsford City (National League South, 6th tier)
Season update & Outlook: Often the number two keeper for the U23s last season, Ejeheri is making the rare loan down to the 6th tier. With the league being semi-professional and just a little over an hour away from Arsenal, he can return to train with the academy at times. So far he has made five starts, three wins & two draws, only letting in two goals. Chelmsford is currently 3rd in the table.
Marcelo Flores is a real one... got the start and a W for Real Oviedo today.— CABRA Sports (@CabraSportsHQ) August 21, 2022
Player/Age/Position: Marcelo Flores / 18 / AM
Club: Real Oviedo (LaLiga2)
Season update & Outlook: The exciting young midfielder who could play his way into Mexico’s World Cup squad this winter. Flores has joined Real Oviedo in the Spanish second division as his first loan from Arsenal. Able to play as a left or right winger, as well as centrally, Marcelo has been a key piece of the side which is currently 10th (of 22). A successful season in Spain, and possibly the World Cup, could attract transfer offers and a new contract offer from the Arsenal first-team.
Will Folarin Balogun eventually feature, regularly, as a senior striker for Arsenal in the future? Which of these young players do you believe will have the best chance of making the first team next season? Who will offer the most significant transfer fee if sold? Let us know in the comments below and check back tomorrow for part two which will include Ainsley Maitland Niles, Brooke Norton-Cuffy, Pablo Mari & more.