Mertesacker: Bundesliga loans good for Arsenal U23s


Arsenal currently have two young players on loan with Bundesliga clubs, Reiss Nelson at Hoffenheim and Emile Smith Rowe with Disgusting Energy Drink Leipzig.

It’s a trend that looks set to continue as Academy Manager Per Mertesacker believes that spells away like these can help bridge the substantial gap between youth/reserve level football and the Premier League.

It seems likely that producing players from within is going to be a key part of the Gunners squad development, so sending them out on highly competitive loans to allow them to gain experience and mature as players and people will be a key part of that.

The BFG was speaking after spending time with his former club Werder Bremen, hinting at potential link-ups between the German outfit and Arsenal, and spoke about the benefits of loan moves.

‘At our U23 level you will be introduced to the men’s area as well as in Bremen,” he said.

“However, you play only against peers at an average age of 18 or 19 years. Although you have good opponents, competition with men’s teams does not exist.

“In Germany you are challenged in the regional league or even better in the 3rd league. The step from our U23 into the first team is even bigger, because the next higher level is the Premier League.

“Therefore, for us from Arsenal also loans are very attractive, for example in the Bundesliga.”

And on the time spent with Bremen and the potential for something more concrete to develop between the two clubs, he explained, “We simply exchanged views. The contact with Werder is still so good that you like to drop by for two days, talk about promoting talent together and bring along colleagues from London.

“Also in the future, this idea should continue to flourish. At various levels, connections between Arsenal and Werder are conceivable.

“Ultimately, both clubs benefit from it.”

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And the winner of the best overseas PL player is

Well done!!!


With 46% of the total votes for all the players!


Mr Henry…


Not a Manc, then. That explains why it’s not splashed all over as the lead story. And Shearer’s comment on Henry is so back-handed – blethering nutsack.




BFG is doing a good job and our academy is becoming much more professional. We have some amazing talent coming through and hopefully some of them are good enough and patient enough to make the first team. I can see players like Nketiah and Willock benefiting from these sort of loans, it gives them a chance to develop and play, and it also gives the club a good insight into their attitude and work ethic when they’re asked to step up. It’s good to see that a lot more thought is going into placing our young players, in the past… Read more »


It must be a good idea. On the whole, Arsenal haven’t been that great over the years in getting talented young players through the system and into the squad/first team – and, importantly, staying there. However, the Academy will become increasingly important as transfer funds are likely to tight in the foreseeable future because of Kroenke’s drive to cut costs after he took full control of the club.

Mesut O'Neill

I see Mr Kroenke, took time out to downvote your comment. You’ll probably get 1 more. It will Ben from Josh.


I’m too busy counting my money to downvote my own comment, son.


We also have Asano on loan at Hannover 96. Worryingly though, neither Asano, Nelson, or Smith Rowe are currently starting for their German clubs. The off pitch experience may still be doing them good, but if we’re sending players out on loan, they need to be getting 90 minutes, ala Martinez and Bielik at lower league English level. Sending youth players out on loan abroad is nothing new though, Wenger used to send a lot of Spanish and South American youth players to Spain’s second division (probably to obtain a EU work permit), but the early success of Nelson in… Read more »


Quite right. I’m not sure how many youngsters Wenger sent out but only a few come back to play and those that did generally didn’t do that much and have departed. We need to reverse that trend and Mertesacker might just be the guy to do it.


It will be interesting to see if Bielik is given a chance, I think he’s good, and Emi is showing that he’s good enough too.