clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arsenal Loan Watch: Part 2 - Maitland-Niles, Okonkwo, Mari & more

Can any of the young talents develop into first team options?

Southampton FC Announce New Signing Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images

Arsenal remain on hiatus after their second Europa League group match was postponed. The second game missed during this period across competitions, but perhaps a chance to help return a few players from the injury report. In part two of the loan round-up, we have two senior players that probably have seen their final Arsenal days and several interesting young players looking to gain professional experience this season.

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

Player/Age/Position: Tyreece John-Jules / 21 / CF

Club: Ipswich Town (League One)

Season update & Outlook: This is John-Jules fifth loan into the lower divisions of English football. He has either started or subbed on in every match for Ipswich so far, scoring once, helping the team remain undefeated in league play after seven rounds. The club is tied atop of League One. He was once in the academy team and England youth setups with Bukayo Saka and Folarin Balogun. Perhaps now John-Jules has finally found the right club to help him reach the next level.

Player/Age/Position: Alex Kirk / 19 / CB

Club: Ayr United FC (Scottish Championship, 2nd tier)

Season update & Outlook: This is the young defender’s first-ever loan move away from the Arsenal academy. His name may be familiar after he made the bench for a Premier League match last season. So far he has made five starts in Ayr United’s ten matches with the club remaining undefeated in league play. Ayr is currently top of the Scottish Premiership.

Player/Age/Position: Ainsley Maitland-Niles / 25 / CM

Club: Southampton

Season update & Outlook: With Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny out injured, having Ainsley Maitland-Niles around might have been a nice ‘in case of emergency’ option for the Arsenal midfield. However, as it is clear Mikel Arteta doesn’t rate him for this new iteration of the squad, Maitland-Niles is off once again and he searches for the right club and the right position. This time it is Southampton, and with the move happening at the end of the window, plus the postponement of matches last weekend, Maitland-Niles has only been available for one game. He was a late sub in their 1-0 loss to Wolves. He will likely look to split time with Ibrahima Diallo as the defensive midfielder.

Player/Age/Position: Pablo Mari / 29 / CB

Club: AC Monza (Serie A)

Season update & Outlook: After moderate success with Udinese in Serie A for the second half of the season, the hope was probably that Mari would make a permanent move to Italy. While they weren’t able to clear him from the Arsenal books, they found a new home in Italy, this time on loan at AC Monza. Mari has started three matches and missed a few weeks due to an abdominal muscle injury. The club sits bottom of Serie A and has let in a league-high 11 goals.

Player/Age/Position: Nikolaj Moller / 20 / CF

Club: FC Den Bosch (Keuken Kampioen Divisie - 2nd tier in the Netherlands)

Season update & Outlook: After middling results in 3.Liga last season, Moller moved to Den Bosch for the second half of the year grabbing two goals in 11 matches. He’s returned looking to help the side gain promotion and show year-over-year progress, but thus far has played minimal minutes. If improvement isn’t made Arsenal could look to move him to a different club during the January window.

Player/Age/Position: Brooke Norton-Cuffy / 18 / RB

Club: Rotherham United (Championship)

Season update & Outlook: After a loan into League One last year, Norton-Cuffy makes a step up to the second tier. Like a few other Arsenal academy players, they are getting Championship experience at just 18. He’s been playing at right midfield so far this season, but would likely feature for Arsenal as a right back or right wing-back. Norton-Cuffy has also been a regular starter for the England U19 side.

Player/Age/Position: Mazeed Ogungbo / 19 / CB

Club: Crawley Town (League Two)

Season update & Outlook: Ogungbo’s first loan has seen him quickly get into the League Two side’s starting XI, even if the results haven’t been ideal. He’s started four of their opening six matches, playing at both center back and left midfielder. Ogungbo came on during Crawley’s EFL Trophy match against Portsmouth and scored in the penalty shootout helping them win 8-7.

Player/Age/Position: Arthur Okonkwo / 21 / GK

Club: Crewe Alexandra (League Two)

Season update & Outlook: Arsenal fans got familiar with the name last season when Okonkwo was the third keeper for the first team. So far he has started every single League Two match for Crewe with three wins, two losses, and two draws, including three shutouts. From the U23 starter to Arsenal’s third choice to now getting regular starts at the senior level, Okonkwo is developing nicely at just 21 and considering his position.

Which of these loan moves are you the most interested in keeping track of this season? Could Okonkwo or Norton-Cuffy develop into first-team players in the next few years?

Tomorrow we will wrap up this series with a look at Charlie Patino, Nicolas Pepe, Nuno Tavares, Auston Trusty & more.