Friday, January 27, 2023

Nwakali’s Porto loan spell gets off to frustrating start

Despite being a talented player, Kelechi Nwakali is in danger of being one of those rare cases of an individual who joined Arsenal on a professional contract but left without making a competitive senior appearance.

Nwakali is in his third season as an Arsenal player, but almost all of that period has been spent out on loan, taking in two spells with MVV Maastricht as well as a stint with VVV-Venlo and his current assignment with Porto’s B team.

Although he impressed on both of the occasions that he was with Maastricht, Nwakali has found the going considerably tougher with Porto’s second string, as demonstrated by the fact that he has yet to score or provide an assist in the four matches that he has played so far this campaign.

In recent weeks Nwakali hasn’t even made the matchday squad for his temporary side and he faces much work as he attempts to turn this loan spell around.

When he is at his best the Nigerian prospect is capable of making a major impact in games – he is a fine passer and dribbler and also often goes for goal himself.

Nwakali’s versatility is another useful asset of his – he can play as an attacking midfielder, slightly deeper in midfield or out wide.

However, it is now getting to the point where serious questions will start to be asked regarding whether we will ever get to see him in an Arsenal shirt.

Work permit problems have prevented Nwakali from featuring for the Gunners thus far but even if that issue was eventually resolved, it is by no means guaranteed that he will get opportunities.

There were some suggestions that Porto have an option to sign Nwakali at the conclusion of his loan agreement, but at present it doesn’t seem likely as if they will exercise that choice.

Nwakali’s contract at Arsenal runs until the summer of 2021, so perhaps there is still time, but he is 20 years old and, as things stand, not very close to making the breakthrough at all.

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

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Thanks for the update Jeorg. Early days yet. The talent is there with this one, it’ll come out eventually even if it doesn’t happen for him in Portugal.

Faisal Narrage

Sadly, in 2018 not making it into Porto B’s team as a 20 year old is far from “early days”, I’m afraid.

Hope he can work it out, but I’ve seen this story one too many times (I still weep for Wellington Silva).


Wow, I completely forgot about him


Certain players might lack playing time at a club and then flourish elsewhere. He has been good at only one club in all of his loan spells, so he might need familiar surroundings to truly show what he is capable of. He is a talented player, no doubt about that, but we sometimes do not help our young players with where we send them on loan. I know Germany is the “in” thing right now, but it has always been the closest league to the EPL when it comes to intensity and yet, also promotes players to push themselves tactically… Read more »


Familiar story, just doesn’t seem to happen with us for some players for one reason or the other. He still has time but the path to first team football at Arsenal is never straightforward, lots of young players trying to breakthrough at the same time and the likes of Nelson, Smith Rowe, Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi are streets ahead at the moment

Evang. Simon

When there is life, there is hope


We should have tried to loan him to a German team.

If Porto have an option to sign him, does that mean that a price was agreed in advance of him joining Porto?

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