It had seemed rather inevitable for quite some time, but when the announcement finally came it still appeared rather significant.
After six years at the club it was announced this week that Julio Pleguezuelo will leave Arsenal when his contract expires at the end of June, with the defender set to join Dutch side FC Twente.
Pleguezuelo leaves Arsenal having made one competitive appearance for the first-team, which came against Blackpool in the Carabao Cup this season.
Composed in possession and comfortable at bringing the ball out from the back, Pleguezuelo’s time at Arsenal will also be remembered for the passion that he showed, especially in games against Tottenham Hotspur.
The former Barcelona youngster amassed over half a century of appearances for Arsenal U23s and will certainly go down as one of the club’s most prominent ever players at that level.
He had certainly reached the stage, though, where regular first-team football is a necessity as opposed to something desirable.
During his time at Arsenal Pleguezuelo gained experience while on loan at Mallorca and Gimnastic de Tarragona, but, somewhat surprisingly, he wasn’t sent out on temporary transfer this campaign.
It is hoped that Pleguezuelo will go on to enjoy a successful career elsewhere, but his departure will provide other young centre-backs, such as Zech Medley and Daniel Ballard, with the opportunity to get closer to the first-team.
Both Ballard and Medley have progressed very well this season, with the latter having made his senior debut in addition to being involved in numerous first-team training sessions.
They will be aware, however, that the road to the top is a very difficult one, with Pleguezuelo, for instance, ultimately not being able to make it despite having frequently excelled at youth level.