There were several late loan deals involving Arsenal youngsters last night, but two in particular caught the eye.
It was announced that Kido Taylor-Hart and Billy Vigar will be spending the rest of the season on loan at Derby County and will initially go into their U21 squad.
There have been cases of Arsenal loanees featuring for their temporary clubs at U21 level before, but those have usually been one-off appearances, and this is the first time that players have specifically gone straight into an U21 team as opposed to the first-team squad.
This situation is somewhat unique, however. Derby U21s are languishing at the bottom of Premier League 2 Division Two and have failed to pick up a single point in their eleven games so far, so they were in desperate need of reinforcements at that level.
In addition, Taylor-Hart and Vigar have found themselves on the fringes of Arsenal’s U21 squad in the first half of the campaign due to the competition for places. Winger Taylor-Hart has played just 63 minutes in Premier League 2, while striker Vigar has been given only 34 minutes.
Had they remained at Arsenal then they would presumably have remained on the periphery of proceedings. However, at Derby it seems likely that they will be key players for the U21 team, which will allow them to build up both confidence and momentum.
There is also the possibility of both players having a chance of first-team involvement at Derby, something which certainly wouldn’t have been the case at Arsenal. The opportunity to potentially get some minutes in League One is appealing for both players.
It will be interesting to see how this situation develops and to assess the impact that it has on the progress of both players. If all goes well then it could perhaps spark a trend for other youngsters to follow.
In any case both players will get more playing time, at U21 level at least, than if they had stayed at Arsenal. There is also the potential of alerting other clubs to their ability ahead of a possible move elsewhere, while their temporary departures will create space for other youngsters in Arsenal’s U21 squad.