Sunday, October 1, 2023

Loan departures needed as Arsenal look to reduce size of U21 squad

There is just over a month to go until the transfer window closes and there is still much work for Arsenal to do with regards to their U21 squad.

At present it is clear that the squad is too large, so there could be a significant amount of loan departures and perhaps some permanent moves before the end of August.

Two players who certainly shouldn’t be playing U21 football this season are Matt Smith and James Olayinka. Both players have been on loan previously and Smith has amassed over 80 appearances in League One.

Smith and Olayinka both progressed all the way through the system at Hale End and have been on the bench for the first-team, but at the age of 21 it is perhaps time for them to move on permanently. If a buyer cannot be found then they could be loaned out again.

George Lewis is 22 years old but his case is slightly different as injuries have affected his time at Arsenal. The club gave him a contract extension this summer, so a loan move could follow.

There are plenty of other youngsters who need to go on loan. Miguel Azeez surprisingly wasn’t loaned out again in the second half of last season after returning from Portsmouth, while Ben Cottrell has yet to be loaned out due to his struggles with injuries.

Winger Kido Taylor-Hart is another player who would benefit from a spell elsewhere, while Salah-Eddine is also a candidate for a temporary departure. Brooke Norton-Cuffy did well at Lincoln and could be loaned out again.

There are other players who should be considered for loans too, such as James Hillson, Mazeed Ogungbo and perhaps Jack Henry-Francis.

Charlie Patino could remain with Arsenal for the first half of the season before perhaps being loaned out thereafter.

In summary, Arsenal have much work to do in terms of reducing the size of their U21 squad in order to allow other players to push on.

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

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Sounds just tlike the first team situation, lots of players to move on (though the U21s will hopefully come back having taken a step up).

Busy remainder to the transfer window, go go go…


Well I keep refreshing this page to get some news about our departing players (main team). Even one with a high poo-o-metre rating is accepted! Please.

Merlin’s Panini

Bernd Leno leaving is looking more and more a certainty. There’s been some stories about Leicester wanting him now, which would be incredibly convenient for us if we’re really interested in Youri Tielemans. Kasper Schmeichel has apparently agrees terms with Nice so it’s a possibility there’s some truth in it. Leicester would certainly be a better move for Leno than Fulham if he has World Cup aspirations.


Plus competition for Leno will raise his value

Rafer Austin

If Ramsdale gets injured then we are in real trouble as the backup American keeper is not premier league standard.

Giuseppe Hovno

In terms of first team, I did the under-21/home grown calculations and currently the squad is two people too many. So we need to get rid of three if we want to bring someone else in. That shouldnt be too hard given Leno/Mari/Torreira/Bellerin etc all look on their way out

Merlin’s Panini

It seems with all four of them the interest is there, it’s just a question of valuations and whether we’re willing to accept a stick of gum, some pocket fluff and a paperclip instead of money.

Counting only the players Mikel will realistically use, I count 15 – Turner, Tierney, Gabriel, Cedric, Tomiyasu, Zinchenko, Partey, Odegaard, Vieira, Lokonga, Xhaka, Elneny, Pepe, Jesus. Tavares but he’ll likely leave on loan.

You’re allowed up to 17 so we still have room for Tielemens and/or someone else.



Ramsdale is homegrown.


If you are referring to the foreign players, not home grown, then Zincheko shouldnt be included. He is home grown.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Zinchenko is not home grown.


What’s the deal with loaning players abroad…I read there is a 8 limit.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Yes 8 is the new limit for this season, then 7 for next season, and then 6 for the season after that.

But players aged 21 or under and club-trained players will be exempt from the new guidelines so this won’t matter this season for the likes of Rekik, Biereth, Moller – who have all joined Dutch clubs – or Kirk and Alebiosu who have joined Scottish clubs, and Flores who has joined Oviedo.

Harry Clarke – who is 21 years old – has joined Stoke, which some say is like a foreign country.

Slightly off topic, but are double-barreled surnames a pre-condition for recruitment into our junior teams?

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