One of Arsene Wenger’s biggest headaches is finding enough games for his players to play. First team games are usually divided amongst the top sixteen players, meaning the rest of the squad have to make do with the meagre reserve squad schedule. The problem is exacerbated by the rise of the young guns over the last few years, players who have great potential but have few opportunities to develop their skills by playing quality opposition on a regular basis.
The only real solution to this problem is loaning out the young players. Some are loaned out to gain experience, some to increase their worth in the transfer market, and some are loaned out so they can find a club after Arsenal. So far this season Arsenal have loaned out eight players and come January there are another nine they could potentially loan out. It is fairly probable at this point to believe that Arsenal could have sixteen players out on loan by the end of January.
The following is a list of the current loanees and then a list of those who could be loaned out in January.
Vincent van den Berg (FC Zwolle). VIncent will never play for Arsenal and is on loan merely to help him resurrect his career, which has been haunted by too many injuries. To date he has yet to play because of his injuries and terrible form previously for the Reserves.
James Dunne (Nottingham Forest). James has now officially left Arsenal for Forest on loan, with a view in January to make the move permanent.
Abu Ogogo (Barnet). Abu just recently had his loan period extended. He’ll never end up playing for Arsenal, but might end up having a career in the lower leagues.
Havard Nordtveit (Salamanca). Nordtveit only lasted about three months on loan in Spain before he recently returned to London. He wasn’t getting enough playing time and when he did play it was not in a position best suited for his skills. He is considered to be a future star and it would not be a surprise if he was loaned out again in January to somebody else. Arsenal took the unusual step of bringing him back home when the loan started to go sour.
Kerrea Gilbert (Leceister). Gilbert was once considered to have a future with the Gunners, but he is now on his third loan. His last loan at Southend ended in acrimony but Arsenal retained the defender and loaned him out again this season to Leceister where he has won a starting position at right back. However a police incident involving alcohol has once again raised questions about Gilbert’s character. Gavin Hoyte’s development also means Gilbert will probably end up playing for someone else.
Pedro Botelho (Salamanca). Botelho is following the Carlos Vela path to Arsenal. The young Brazilian cannot get a work permit to play in England so Arsenal are loaning him out to Salamanca for the second year in a row. He has great potential and continues in the vein of other Arsenal left backs like Clichy, Traore, and Gibbs.
Philippe Senderos (Milan). Yes, he’s still officially a Gunner. Senderos has spent the entire fall either injured or on the bench. Apparently there is an agreement to sell him to Milan, but we’ll have to wait to find out the details. Maybe he could even return to Arsenal … there are some who wish he was back.
Armand Traore (Portsmouth). The knock against Traore was that he lacked match experience which is why Arsenal decided to loan him out to Pompey this season. He has played regularly, usually as a left back or on the left wing. Arsenal would dearly love him back given their lack of genuine wingers at the moment.
Nacer Barazite (Derby County). Last season Barazite was the star of the reserve squad and it was decided to send him to get experience at Derby. Once Derby started to play him their fortunes took a turn for the better. Don’t be surprised if his loan is extended to the end of the season.
Those are the players who have left Arsenal already. Below are those who might also be playing elsewhere, especially as the Young Guns are no longer in the Carling Cup.
Paul Rodgers Arsenal have tried to shop young Rodgers around already. Expect this to be the last year that Rodgers stays on the club as they’ll probably release him if they cannot secure him a loan.
Gavin Hoyte Justin’s younger brother just signed a new contract. As we saw against Manchester City he still needs a lot to learn and a loan would give him the education he needs.
Kieran Gibbs Gibbs was loaned out last January to Norwich but he never played as often as he would have wished. There were rumours that he was to be loaned out in August, but those plans fell through. He would benefit from playing more regularly.
Amaury Bischoff The Gunners signed this young man last summer, hoping he could turn his career around after surgery on his injuries. He has returned to health now and one cannot expect to see him break into the first team squad. A loan would certainly reveal whether he is good enough to hang onto.
Mark Randall Like Gibbs he was loaned out last January, but to Burnley. He never played as often as he would have liked, so another loan would be a good thing for a young player who has lots of potential.
Fran Merida Was loaned out last January to Real Sociedad in Spain and had an excellent spell playing in Spain. Fran would benefit from playing more in England and a loan spell would help this developing young talent.
Henri Lansbury One of the stars of the Arsenal youth, yet was only a reserve on the Carling Cup squads. There were rumours that he turned down a loan opportunity to Salamanca in the fall, but would definitely benefit from a good loan.
Jay Simpson Simpson had an excellent loan last season at Millwall and has shown excellent potential this fall. Given the return of Eduardo it makes sense to let him develop somewhere else this spring.
Carlos Vela Several Premier League clubs are interested in gaining Vela’s services this January. Vela hasn’t played very often and Eduardo’s return could further limit his opportunities.
Two others who could be loaned out are Rene Steer and Rui Fonte. Those who won’t be loaned out include Jack Wilshere, Emanuel Frimpong, and Jay Emmanuel Thomas as they are too young. Arsenal tend not to loan out players under the age of eighteen.
It will be interesting to see how many of these youngsters actually go out on loan and how they develop. Arsenal have the potential to have an entire squad’s worth of players out on loan this season, an unprecedented amount. According to Wenger they represent the future of Arsenal. Unfortunately they need to complete their education somewhere else.
Read more about Arsenal’s young crop of talent over at Young Guns, the best place to find your latest Reserve & Youth news.
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