Goalkeeper Damian Martinez joined the band of Arsenal loanees this week after securing a short-term deal with Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, but the Argentinian will be hoping to avoid the fate of several other young Gunners who haven’t featured regularly for their temporary sides this season.
One such example is Ignasi Miquel, with the Spanish centre-back scheduled to spend the entirety of the current campaign with Leicester City. To date, however, he has been afforded just three starts for the Foxes, with two of those coming in cup competitions. This is a pivotal year for Miquel as he seeks to earn another contract at Emirates Stadium, but his dream of making the Arsenal first-team is being made rather difficult at present due to the fact that he cannot break into the Leicester side.
Midfielder Chuks Aneke, meanwhile, is in his second spell with League One side Crewe Alexandra, and, although he has featured rather more regularly than Miquel, making 12 appearances and scoring twice, not all of those outings have been from the start. Then there is the curious case of Wellington Silva, the Brazilian winger who didn’t start a single game on loan at Ponferradina last season and has had to settle for a place amongst the substitutes again whilst with Murcia this time around.
In some ways it is not surprising that so many of the club’s youngsters are not regulars for their temporary clubs. For sides either chasing promotion or attempting to stave off the threat of relegation, deploying an inexperienced youngster, even one from a club as renowned as Arsenal, represents something of a risk.
The fact that Arsenal have only allowed eight of their players to head out on loan so far this season perhaps hints at the club acknowledging the problem, but, on the contrary, it could be argued that it is a beneficial experience for players to be involved in a senior set-up at another club, even without featuring regularly, in terms of furthering their footballing education.
There are other members of the U21 squad who appear to be in need of a loan at present, such as Thomas Eisfeld and Nico Yennaris, but the club will surely seek assurances over playing time before lending out some of their best prospects. As for Martinez, the 21 year old will have to dislodge the experienced Chris Kirkland if he is to receive regular playing time during his spell at Hillsborough. He will hope to avoid the precedent set by Miquel, Wellington and many others.