Monday, June 17, 2024

Jonker’s influence clear as further Arsenal youngsters head to Holland

There have been many instances in recent seasons when Arsenal youngsters have been dispatched on loan and haven’t received the game time that their ability merits.

Perhaps in an attempt to find a solution to that problem, Arsenal have sent several prospects on loan to Dutch clubs this campaign, with no fewer than six young Gunners now plying their trade in the Netherlands.

It is clear to see that Arsenal academy manager Andries Jonker, who has significant connections in Holland from his time working with Ajax and the national team, is the orchestrator behind this initiative.

Has it been successful? It is perhaps too early to tell. Kelechi Nwakali, the talented Nigerian midfielder, has thrived for MVV Maastricht in the Dutch second tier, but he wouldn’t have been able to go on loan to an English club in any case as he doesn’t have a work permit.

Centre-back Stefan O’Connor is also at Maastricht but has found matters considerably more difficult and has barely featured for his temporary club at senior level.

Right-back Tafari Moore (pictured), meanwhile, is with Utrecht, but, while he has gained plenty of experience playing for their youth side, the 19-year-old has also found it difficult to break into the senior set-up.

Now there are a fresh batch of Arsenal loanees in Holland, including two very familiar names.

Gedion Zelalem is in the second division with VVV-Venlo as he looks to get his career back on track, while fellow midfielder Dan Crowley, who is at Go Ahead Eagles, is also in need of a boost.

In addition, Aaron Eyoma, who can play as a right-back or a right-winger, has joined Volendam in the second division.

It will be especially interesting to see how Zelalem and Crowley fare after they were unable to make a substantial impact during their loan spells in Britain so far.

Overall, playing in a different country and adapting to a new style of football should be a very interesting experience for those involved and, should there be some success stories to emerge from this venture, there could well be further Arsenal starlets sent on loan to Holland in the seasons to come.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird


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Good luck lads, and get plenty of playing time under your belts.

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