Cohen Bramall’s Birmingham loan gets off to frustrating start


Cohen Bramall’s remarkable rise from non-league football to joining Arsenal has been well documented but so far this season the left-back has had to endure a considerable amount of frustration.

After joining Arsenal in a surprise move in January, Bramall quickly established himself as a regular in the club’s U23 side and produced some encouraging displays, which earned him involvement in the first-team’s pre-season preparations.

The 22-year-old produced some mixed performances in those fixtures as he demonstrated his searing speed and ability to provide an attacking threat but also his vulnerability in a defensive sense.

It was subsequently decided that Bramall would spend the season on loan at Birmingham City in order for him to gain valuable experience of senior football and also to provide a gauge regarding the level that he is currently at.

The initial signs were encouraging as Bramall started, as a left-winger, in Birmingham’s 2-0 league defeat to Reading, while he also featured in the Carabao Cup.

Since then, however, Bramall hasn’t played at all and has been left out of the matchday squad for five of Birmingham’s last six Championship games.

The departure of Harry Redknapp, who brought him to the club, certainly hasn’t helped Bramall’s cause and we are now into October with the Arsenal loanee having played just 90 minutes of league football this season.

There is a wider point to be made about how several of Arsenal’s loanees struggle to force their way into the starting line-ups of their temporary sides but Bramall’s problem is a particularly pertinent one.

Given his age, Bramall isn’t in a situation where he can have four or five loan spells with the hope of succeeding in one of them. His time at Birmingham may not exactly be make or break for his Arsenal career but so far it certainly isn’t helping his chances of succeeding for the Gunners.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that this loan spell isn’t working out but the only positive to take from matters is that it is still rather early in the season.

At the moment, however, it is difficult to envisage the situation changing unless Birmingham suffer a spate of injuries.

It seems almost certain that Birmingham will spend the season in a battle to avoid relegation and in such circumstances they are unlikely to turn to a player whose experience of second tier football is virtually non-existent.

Current Birmingham manager Steve Cotterill doesn’t appear to have much faith in Bramall but all the Arsenal player can do is continue to work hard in training and hope that his situation will change for the better.

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


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here’s hoping he comes back in january and goes out again to a team who wants him, as a back up or less likely first team football.
on that note if he is good enough I would take him back and keep him as 2nd choice RB behind Kolasinac… lets be honest cup games aside kolasinac looks like he can play 40+ games a season without breaking a sweat!


I was confused as why my comment, basically th same as those below got some many downvotes! I meant Left Back not right back… I’m not Wenger, wanting players on their opposite sides haha!

Jimbo Jones

Don’t sweat it!


Bring him back and start him at LB in Carabao Cup and Europa League.

Will keep Kolasinac fresh for Premier League and mean Maitland-Niles can have a run in more natural CM position in those tournaments.

Arse head

Was thinking exactly the same thing. We never seem to put clauses in loan deals though, which is plain stupid. If he’s not getting game time at brum he’s be better off training with our squad. Do it all the time in FM


You’d think lessons have been learned post-Gnabry.

But this is Arsenal, our dysfunctional family.

David C

Great point! that way he trains and learns from a better team during practice as well.

still seems like an odd signing for such a big club though, but it’s worth a punt to find that diamond in the rough.


Exactly . I’m worried we will run kolasinac and bellerin to ground . Having someone like bramal can help in taking the load of him . Playing him in his natural position is much better option than to play Maitland Niles And Nelson out of position


Bring him back in January for sure, if we can, and while we’re at it bring back Mavididi if he’s not playing either for Preston.


Whoever is in charge of organising the loans for Arsenal should be sacked. Not difficult to: 1) Make provision that if an uninjured player does not play a certain percentage of the club league games, the loan is automatically recalled with prejudice. Unless the fault lies with the player,the club should then not again be considered for at least 1 year. 2) Add financial incentives whenever the loanees plays. More playing time means cheaper loan. 3) Have the final decision. The final decision should not reside with the player. Mavididi had the opportunity to go back to Charlton where he… Read more »


I don’t know what the norms are regarding loans from the Premiership, but these points seem reasonable and even more, they are common-sense. Sadly, that seems to be something that is lacking at Arsenal at the moment.

Michael Bolton Wanderers

Well dick law handled transfers, probably did the work regarding loans. And he’s quit or on his way out


How do you know how difficult it is? Have you negotiate a loan deal or just playing FM? In reality, the team who took the loanee needs to manage their team responsibly, and allowing a clause whereby your backup option can be snapped from you at a moment’s notice surely would be avoided as much as possible. To the extent that they would quite likely consider an entirely different loanee with a club who would not require such a clause. No? Or do we just assume that we are arsenal, so we can demand whatever we want and all other… Read more »


How do I know how difficult that is? Simple one of my god son was a youth team player at Crystal Palace and they had those clauses 10 years ago. The fact that Arsenal does not have those clauses is the aberration not the other way around. Gnabry was stuck at West Bromwich Albion when an extra line stating that he could be recalled mid season should have been added. The fact that both parties wanted him to come back makes that mistake even more galling. Because it was not in the initial contract, the FA refused to validate any… Read more »


Waaaaaaw what a great suggestion


Do you think if the club that isn’t playing the loaned player cares if that player is recalled?

How much do you think players like Bramall bring for Arsenal or any young player on loan to a club?

I really don’t think you can send players on loan without the players consent. So if you tell lets say Mavididi you must go to Charlton he could have easily just said no.

I’m sure there is someone keeping tabs on these players. Again I don’t actually know this.


Arsenal does not have the same business model than Chelsea. AFC academy is not viewed as a source of revenue. The objective is to bring players into the first team not to bring cash. If ManUtd can force Jaap Stamp to Lazio, AFC should be able to force Mavididi a youth team player to go to Charlton instead of Preston. All that was required was to sit down and explain to him why going to Charlton was the best decision for his long term career at Arsenal. Any refusal should be seen as a sign of dissent or the mistaken… Read more »


Lol you are the one that brought up financial incentives to the club that is taking on the loan are you not??? I was asking why would Bramall bring in anything financial to AFC? Are you talking about paying clubs to play our players? WTF are you serious? You want to force Mavididi to the club that help get him injured? The negligence of that club. I wonder why Mavididi wouldn’t want to go there.Do you? The manager admitted that he was partially to blame for the injury. No that isn’t pretty clear. If I have a contract with a… Read more »


Normally in a loan financial compensation is paid. The club pays part or all of the player salary and sometimes a loan fee. The fee can be setup so the amount decreases the more Bramall plays. The reason why Mavididi was injured is because he was overplayed. However if he had been honest with the manager and when asked by the staff had said that he was tired and in the red zone that would not have happened. So blame can be apportioned to both parties. However at the stage of his development, going to Preston was not the right… Read more »


Realistically the logistics of meeting with every coach for all loaned players seems a bit difficult.


Chuck ‘em all in a WhatsApp group and let the good times roll


And which loaning team would sign this contract, Valentin? Such naviete.


Which team? Every club in the football league as the option to recall is part of the standard template contract given by the football league. Coquelin was at Charlton for a few weeks when he was recalled by Arsenal. The only reason why Arsenal was able to recall him was that they use the contract produced by Charlton that was just a FA youth team contract rather than the one devised by AFC that does not contain such clauses. Arsène Wenger is against that as he consider them as amoral and unfair. He said so himself on French TV. The… Read more »


Having a call back clause if the player doesn’t play is a wise idea, if the other club will accept it. Keeping tabs on them is also a sensible idea (I would hope it’s already done). But I wonder if it is against league rules to have financial incentives for giving loanees playing time? It would seem to go against the spirit of competition, so I would guess it is not permitted. I also don’t think you can force a player to go on loan, the same way you can’t force them to accept a transfer (unless they agreed in… Read more »


It is a financial incentive that is usually part of the add-ons. There is nothing illegal with appearance add-ons. For example when Martial reached 50 appearances with ManUtd first team, Monaco was due an extra 10 millions. You could have in the add-ons that when the loanee reaches the equivalent of 20 games, a rebate on the loan fee is due. Another rebate is due when 30 games is reached. What is prohibited by the regulation is to explicitly state which games a player can be used. Arsenal could not write in the contract that Mavididi cannot play against Birmingham… Read more »

Michael Bolton Wanderers

Hector bellerin had a disappointing loan at Watford in the championship. And he turned out more than okay

Thomas Lambert

It wasn’t that disappointing though he didn’t set the world alight but they wanted to keep him for sure

Lord Bendnter

Here’s what worries me. Perhaps I’m overestimating our players’ talent or I’m ignorant in recalling successful loan spells for our players in recent history, but I feel that our youngsters have terrible loan spells. But, when they play for Arsenal they seem decent. Wonder if Arsenal Academy’s style of play is very unique compared to other smaller clubs. Like our youngsters are so used to our style of play there they can’t adapt to other lower teams’ styles. Or our defenders for example, can do everything but defend (I’m generalising unfairly, I know).

Faisal Narrage

Nothing to wonder, it’s commonly known in football circles that Arsenal’s education is only ever very specific to our style of play. Many aren’t really trained to play in a way outside of the Arsenal system. It’s why so many of our players plunge into the bottom half of professional leagues.

Heck, look at the difference between Jack on loan last season to even the few games he’s played at Arsenal this season.

Bai Blagoi

But this should be also known to the clubs that take our players on loan. If you don’t like Arsenal’s style of play, you’ll need to look elsewhere for players.

Teryima Adi



In bramall’s case, i think because of how arsenal play he is very attack minded. But defensively i feel for a team fighting relegation he isnt the fit..


Should’ve done the loan like you can do in FM with a ‘recall clause’. If it’s in the game it must exist IRL too right? Although I get why the loaning club would hate that, they want to secure the player’s services for the full year guaranteed.

They did away with short term loans in England I think right?

Michael Farojoye

Arsenal can make good you use of him at left back in several league cup games this season pls bring him back in January. “Money is not everything!!!

Teryima Adi

Keep the faith Bro.


Fullback is a concern. Beyond Kolasinac and Bellerin there is a drop off. Nelson is still incredibly young working into a less familiar position. For some reason Wenger is intent on converting Calum into a Cback instead of his natural position as a fullback for Soton. Debuchy continues to be at once present to pick up a pay check but too injured to play. Montreal these days is amongst the best options in the inside left at Back position. Maitland Niles continues to offer utility but isn’t a specialist there either. I think we were in market for Lemar predominantly… Read more »


Lemar? At wingback?! You having a laugh??


Sarcasm dude


Isn’t that why we were after Mbappe too? Have him as a RWB? Lemar at LWB? Sweeeeeeeet

Purujit Ponnappa

How’s Jenkinson doing?


I don’t think the lad will be complaining too much, non league football to arsenal then loaned to Birmingham. Even though he’s not in the match day squad he’s more than likely playing with the reserves which is a hell of a lot better than non league quality wise. The boys living the dream and probably getting paid a decent amount aswell. Good luck to the boy.


Though if Jeorge Bird is describing it as ‘frustrating’?
There is some ‘there’ there.