Another loan seems like only option for Sheaf

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Last season, having featured, albeit fleetingly, in the Europa League and the League Cup and signed a new contract, Ben Sheaf’s progress at Arsenal could be said to be going very well indeed.

Now, however, the youngster finds himself in a rather different situation. Due to the club having many first-team centre-backs available, Sheaf wasn’t selected for the pre-season trip to Singapore and, should he remain at the club, it is difficult to envisage him getting much of a look in with regards to playing time with the senior squad.

Signed as a midfielder but now a ball-playing centre-back, Sheaf is a very talented player but the 20-year-old could be forgiven for feeling a little concerned regarding his current predicament.

Last season he gained experience on loan at Stevenage in League Two as he made ten appearances, mostly in midfield, but he is still very much seen as a centre-back at Arsenal.

With the chances of making the breakthrough into the Arsenal first-team this season rather slim to say the least, it seems that the best and perhaps only real option for Sheaf at present is to go out on loan again, especially as it doesn’t seem as if he will consider a permanent departure at this point.

Heading out on temporary transfer for six months, perhaps to a League One club, could prove to be beneficial for Sheaf, and it could give the erstwhile England youth international a platform to prove to Unai Emery that he is a player who is worth considering.

However, even if he was to impress out on loan again, Sheaf still faces a major task in terms of getting into the first-team.

The arrival of Konstantinos Mavropanos pushed Sheaf further down the pecking order and with Calum Chambers and Rob Holding unlikely to leave anytime soon, chances are likely to be either very limited or non-existent.

Sheaf’s situation is evidence of just how quickly things can change in football but he is now at an important stage in his development where he must be playing regularly at some level.

Having played almost half a century of games for the U23s, it is clear that he wouldn’t benefit much from playing for the second string any longer. Yes, there is a chance for him to play in the Checkatrade Trophy if he stays at Arsenal, but Sheaf needs to be playing against such sides on a more regular basis as he looks to still somehow succeed at Arsenal.

Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Tas_Gunner
Tas_Gunner

And we wonder why youngsters leave.Showing determination to succeed and working hard is all well and good.But without unexpected opportunities(Iwobi) or sheer luck(Hector),very few make it these days even with good talent.Unless you are an extraordinary one i.e Nelson,only then you know you will get some chance at the very least.Really hope we don’t sign Another CB/Young winger this summer for this exact reason,our youths deserve a chance.

Tas_Gunner
Tas_Gunner

And we wonder why youngsters leave.Showing determination to succeed and working hard is all well and good.But without unexpected opportunities(Iwobi) or sheer luck(Hector),very few make it these days even with good talent.Unless you are an extraordinary one i.e Nelson,only then you know you will get some chance at the very least.Really hope we don’t sign Another CB/Young winger this summer for this exact reason,our youths deserve a chance.

C.B.
C.B.

It’s so tough to take the step up, especially for defenders. A loan sounds the only option so that he can prove himself.

Jimbo1
Jimbo1

He only played 10 games at a league 2 side. Was he injured for a long period? Would have thought he would have been an ever present at that level if he was any good.

Hantal
Hantal

The majority of our loaned out players only played a handful of games wherever they went, there’s a major issue with club selection for our loan stars

HaK
HaK

And what about Bielik?

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

With Davidos Luiz now on the books, his chances of returning back to midfield look even slimmer (and Torriera is only 2 years older).

In truth, the best we can do is sell him with a buy-back clause. Let him actually get out there and develop. Loaning him will only stunt his growth, as many clubs don’t want to invest the time and resources into helping develop a loanee.

allezkev
allezkev

Trying to convert both Bielik and Sheaf into defenders hasn’t I believe done them any favours…

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Sadly, it’s one of the Wenger legacies I want immediate change and was never happy with.
His propensity to turn full-blooded DMs who were good on the ball into ball-playing CBs who, under our already poor defensive coaching, would then go on to embed poor defensive awareness such as running into midfield to play ball and being out of position for a counter became such an Arsenal cliché over the years. Really didn’t do some of those players any favours at all.

allezkev
allezkev

Good point, it’s interesting to note that Sheaf played all his games for Stevenage in midfield and when he played his one game for Arsenal he played in…. midfield, as did Bielik when he made his debut for us at Hillsborough.
Was it under instructions from Wenger or was it our youth coaches’ decision, I’m not sure, but it’s hampered their development imo.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Wenger’s instructions.
He’s always said he’s never liked the idea of a “dedicated midfielder”. Those types of DMs who were physical sitting types either got converted to either CBs (Shaef, Beilik, the one who recently went to Barca, in the past Djourou, his attempt at Song v1.0, Hayden who’s since returned to DM for Newcastle, and one more who’s name I can’t remember, Swedish fella), or if they were high-energy, turned to somewhat poor box to box CMs (Flamini, Song v2.0, Le Coq, etc.).

So there was a clear process in mind when these were done.

LEFT08
LEFT08

Greek media report today that Chuba Akpom is set to make a permanent move to Greek Super League side PAOK FC. No fee is mentioned in reports. PAOK will play in the Champions League qualifiers (but is most likely to end up in the Europa League). If Akpom joins, he will probably be a starter for the club.

Maniac
Maniac

Truth is that we should be exploiting leagues all over Europe for our youth talent development, rather than looking to lower league sides with no actual interest in young players other than to temporarily fill holes in their sides. Leagues such as the Eredivisie and the Belgian Pro League offer top level football and thrive on developing youth talent; taking players on loan from big clubs is second nature to them. Chances are that players will be helped a lot more to develop their technical skills alongside similar aged footballers rather than taught how to play route 1 football with a team of players in their 30s. It’s a platform for players to show what they’re made of and, even if they do not have what it takes to succeed at Arsenal, it is possible that they turn scouts’ heads with their performances. After all, top divisions in all countries are likely to be monitored while something tells me the 4th division in England is less so. It must be recognised that this was an issue under Wenger – players who were promising ended up on loan moves to unsuitable clubs which stagnated their careers, or never even managed to get loan moves when they really should have had one. Let’s hope that with a new era approaching for the first team, the youth may also benefit from a change of direction.

Lucas Sam
Lucas Sam

I agree, there is also the belgian league 2. But my guess is that arsenal is money pinching on loan fee and wage contribution rather than player playing time/position. It just feels to me like, “here we found you a club and good luck breaking through their first team now”. This is all speculation, it could be the players not putting a shift in or also i think i read an article about arsenal academy producing only arsenal playing style players and adaptability being an issue. Regardless there is changes needed. For example having a medical team on the road for tchecking up on the fitness or well being of our loanees.