Mikel Arteta says Calum Chambers won’t be going out on loan in January and that he hopes to give playing time to the centre-back in the remainder of the campaign.
After 11 months on the sidelines working his way back from ACL surgery, the 26-year-old made his long-awaited return in the Europa League in December, playing 20 minutes against Rapid Vienna and the full 90 away at Dundalk.
Since then, Chambers has only made the subs bench twice – for the Premier League draw with Crystal Palace and the FA Cup win over Newcastle – leading to suggestions he might use the transfer window to look elsewhere for opportunities.
“I don’t think that is going to happen. I am really happy with Calum,” said Arteta ahead of Saturday’s trip to Southampton.
“He has gone through a really difficult period. He has worked so hard. He has looked really good in the last few weeks in training.
“He is not even thinking about his knee right now. We want to give him minutes when we can because he is a player that we believe in.”
As a homegrown player, Chambers doesn’t run the risk of being jettisoned when we re-register squads for the Premier League and Europa League at the end of the month.
However, after the recruitment of Australian Mat Ryan, the Gunners will need to shift (or face leaving out) a non-homegrown player to accommodate any further signings, such as Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard, in the Premier League squad. For the Europa League, we’d need to drop two players.
While Alex Runarsson is the prime candidate to be cut on the domestic front, it’s possible that Shkodran Mustafi, who only has six months left on his Gunners contract, could miss out in Europe, which would bump Chambers up the centre-back pecking order in that competition at least.