This week Ben Sheaf extended his loan spell at Doncaster Rovers until the end of the season, with the Arsenal youngster having gained plenty of experience at the League One club.
Sheaf has been a near ever-present for Doncaster and has performed well in the most part, often featuring in central midfield despite also being able to play at centre-back.
Building upon his previous loan spell with Stevenage, Sheaf has proven that he can be reliable performer in League One, yet it appears that a concrete decision on his Arsenal future will have to be made in the summer.
Next month Sheaf will turn 22 and he is certainly well beyond playing U23 football. Despite his versatility and impressive work ethic, it appears unlikely that he will be able to break into the Arsenal first-team squad and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he was to leave the Gunners permanently.
It would certainly be a shame to see Sheaf go, given the progress he has made since joining from West Ham United in 2014, but chances to add to his two first-team appearances would surely be scarce.
Sheaf is at the stage of his career where he needs to be playing regular senior football, and he has been doing just that at Doncaster, who would surely be amongst the contenders to sign him if he does become available.
With another crop of youngsters pushing to make the breakthrough, there will have to be some departures from the academy at the end of the season and Sheaf could well be one of them.
Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird
Good luck Ben when/if you do go!
I know players develop at different points but if a player is 22 and not showing any indication he’s ready for the first team he has to go.
Applies to our glut of overaged reserve keepers too
Can’t be that good then considering the low bar to the 1st team at CB and DM. Anyone know how Bielik is getting on btw?
He played 20 times for Derby in the Championship this season, not always over the full 90 though. Got a straight red on Dec 30, last 3 games he was suspended for a game and the other 2 times not in the squad.
Not sure about how good he is playing, as I can hardly ever see a Derby game on TV here. (And if I could, I’d probably have something better to do than watching that.)
Good luck to the kid. Hopefully Doncaster gain promotion to the Championship this season and have some cash to sign him permanently. A 7 figure sum would be ideal but they don’t appear to be big spenders.
if he can back up toreira then i’ll gladly take him (because chamber was long term injury)
he play either CB/DM which is good because we need that kind of player
He was really unfortunate to be at the club when Wenger was persisting with his policy of “No Defensive Midfielders”. This trickled down to the academy, when we saw guys playing at DM being retrained to CB for no reason.
Probably lost a couple of seasons worth of maturing into the role.
If he does go, then good luck to him.