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The revolving doors of the maybe and maybe not.

By Tony Attwood in Oz

We all know about Hector Bellerin who has made a breakthrough into the squad this year.    Also coming through (but currently injured for about six weeks) is Isaac Hayden, along with Gedion Zelamem, Serge Gnabry (who of course made his break through last season before being injured) plus Chuba Akpom who has been given a first team squad number.

Trying to make sense of who else might be coming through or indeed travelling in the opposite direction is tough and as we have learned in recent years very few actually do make it to the top.  

I took it that Francis Coquelin’s last unhappy loan spell could mean the end for him at Arsenal.  Then he turned up regularly on the bench in the early games, until on 3 November Francis Coquelin joined Charlton on a month’s loan and a day later came on as a sub in an away match against Leeds.  The game ended in a 2-2 draw.  

Maybe (and here’s a scenario I’ve just made up) a deal has been struck to bring in another player in January, meaning that Francis is now going to be moved on.  Maybe (another invention) he is considered to have what it takes but just needs some games.  Hence the one month loan.

Carl Jenkinson continues to play for WHU, getting mixed reviews.  But someone whose reviews are anything but mixed is Benik Afobe, who plays for MK Dons.  Apparently he is getting better and better.

Although his career has been interrupted by injury, he’s still managed loan spells with Huddersfield, Reading, Bolton, Millwall, Sheffield W, and now the MK Dons, scoring all the way, including two against Man U as MK Dons knocked them out of the league cup.  He’s 21, so if he is coming back to Arsenal I guess it will be next summer or never.

Ryo‘s time for Arsenal does seem to be over with him now being on a season long loan with FC Twente.   He played 66 minutes in their last game, as they beat Heerenveen 2-0.

And then there is Wellington who has played here and there, and never been able to get a work permit, until now.  He has gained a Spanish passport which means he can play for us whenever he’s wanted.  He came with astonishingly high hopes expressed about him, but they faded although he now seems to be back in favour having been called into the Brazil under 21 squad.    He did play 38 times for Murcia last season and has played 7 times for Almeria this season, so maybe there is hope.  His Arsenal contract runs until 2016.

Julio Pleguezuelo plays centre back and he has been out with an injury. We saw him against Boreham Wood and he trained with the first team prior to the game against Burnley.   He signed from Barcelona and is very highly praised at the moment.

But in terms of who else might move on it looks like Joel Campbell, who is not getting a chance on the bench always, at the moment, could go.  AC Milan, Olympiakos and Galatasaray are top of the lists that journalists who focus on such things have made up.

Jon Toral is on loan at Brentford for whom he has played eight and scored two.  

And that’s about it for the list of those who might make it with us in the next year or two.  Unless I’ve missed someone, in which case it isn’t.

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12 comments to The revolving doors of the maybe and maybe not.

  • Hisham Hashim

    It feels like an Interlull article, but interesting nevertheless.

    I think we have several young goalkeepers that you might mention whose on the cusps of things. Iliev was rumoured to have left the club last summer, but is listed amongst the Reserves. Then there seems to be a duel between Macey and Huddart, the latter being on the bench away to Anderlecht when the top two keepers were absent.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hope we have not been premature in sending le coq out, he can play dm…and full back, with Arteta injured constantly, the former could be a problem position. But as you indicate…surely…surely, this means someone is coming in?
    The same with Jenks, a versatile player, in hindsight, maybe we should have kept him with TV going, and with what was reportedly know about Kos even last summer. I still believe they thought they could get another defender in, but for whatever reason did not materialise.
    Gnabry…..would be interested to learn the nature of his injury, in that absence, some pretty outlandish and unpleasant claims appearing out there….similar to what trolls were posting about Jack. Sometimes there is good reason for silence, other times it may not be for the best! Still great to see him coming back.
    We now have a top class attack and MF, and some great defenders, but now is the time to bring our defending up to scratch, through recruits, or great coaching of who we have. We have been found wanting at times for a while defense wise….not at all times, but sometimes, at vital times. High time for the club to get to grips with this, attacking philosophy or not so we can really move forward. Let’s make defence as strong, as stocked, and as much attention paid to as our attack.

  • Gerry

    The Coquelin move seems strange … with hindsight, as Arteta returning from injury could have been expected to have a bit of a clear run?
    I also thought that Coquelin’s last game, playing out of position, was one that showed signs of his early promise. His long range passing looked to be back and I was looking forward to him getting a shot at his midfield place, with several candidates ruled out at the time. It was not to be. But being available for the TW in January does not look hopeful for his future with us?
    I also think both Afobe and Jenkinson should think carefully about their options if they get offers from their current clubs? Neither would get regular playing time if they return?
    The first four you mention are the ‘most likely’ to come good, although Akpom and Zelalem will both be kept back until next season, and ‘breakthrough’s’ will be down to how will they cope with their opportunities?
    I still have hopes for Toral, especially if he can now establish himself at Brentford. This is harder than many realise, as they, being on loan may only be temporary, so they have to displace the player who will be their future regular?
    Two names I could add, apart from Matt Macey named above, who I think will come good in time as he has the imposing frame of a top goalkeeper. They are Semi Ajayi who has been training with the first team squad, and given we are one injury away from needing a solid CB, his number could be called, if only from the bench in the very near future(Sunday?). Still very raw, but could bring that extra muscle and height … which begs the question why he was not on the bench on Tuesday? The other is a long time favourite of mine, Ormonde-Ottewill. I thought his development time scale was a perfect match for when Monreal would move on. But if Nacho falls out of favour and is replaced in the summer, the B54 will be in the same position as Hector Bellerin when Debuchy is fit again?
    For now it will be Hayden and Gnabry to establish themselves before the season ends, in my opinion.

  • Usama

    Coquelin has good ball control for a central midfielder and good ability to pressurize the opponent quickly and has great stamina.

    But in many of his games that I have seen over the past years, his problem is that many times he gets carried away by dribbling through the midfield and loses the ball cheaply giving away possesion.

    Sometimes he gives the ball away by playing a very fast pass to his nearest plaer, thus causing both players to lose composure.

    He is still young and can develop.

  • insideright

    Dan Crowley is the most obvious omission from your list Tony. He may be the youngest of the lot but, having got over his injury of last year, he’s by for and away the brightest prospect we have currently.
    Holes will need to be filled in the first team squad as players depart over the next year or two and he could certainly fill one of them.

  • Nicky

    With hindsight (what a lovely word) Jenks should never have gone out on loan.
    With our injury record, he was bound to be needed sooner rather than later.
    I advised Arsene at the time to persevere with him as Sagna’s replacement but he took no notice.
    Now, we should recall him asap from WHU.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Yes insideright, Crowley sure is the one that I have high hopes for. Whenever I got the chance to see the U21-U19 he was the one that was stood out. Even with his small stature he was a giant.
    It was in a way frightening to see how much he carried the U19 team in the last matches. Because when he got kicked to shit and was hampered by injury I felt the whole team couldn’t react any more. The difference was immense as far as I could see between the team having him fit and running things and him being injured and having no more influence.

    He also can score rather easy and at that age that is already a huge step in the right direction.

    In the days of Wilshere we pushed them to the big boys (maybe too fast??) but nowadays with players like Cazorla, Ozil, Alexis(closes to Crowley maybe?), and Jack and Aaron we don’t need to push them to the first team too soon and can let them develop a bit slower. It might help them in the long run and let them be stronger for the time when they will be kicked to shit.
    For the English Untold readers just think of Crowley being a first team player at Arsenal and then he will be called up immediately for the English team. That could mean that Arsenal would have 7 players in the English national team! Could? No it will be!

  • Mandy Dodd

    agree Nicky, we should recall Jenks, but seems we never do in such circumstances, in fact, the club says they won’t recall him. In fairness, he does need games, but may well be getting them with us at the moment.
    The press reporting we are in for Smalling in Jan, not quite sure what to make of that….probably best to just ignore.
    Kos is becoming a real worry

  • Nicky

    @Mandy D,
    The trouble with the achilles is that it won’t get better other than via surgery. Rest and some Vick will alleviate but merely delays the evil day.
    All clubs seeking success are quite selfish in that they administer temporary pain relief purely to keep an injured player on the field
    match by match.
    It’s better for the club than losing him for surgery and rehabilitation.

  • Mandy Dodd

    If he does eventually need surgery Nicky, and lets face, we have to fear the worst with our players injury records, then Wenger may have no alternative but to bite the bullett, and take whatever steps to clear up what ails him, which will mean bringing in a replacement, going to the end of the season with what we have would be negligent, and I am sure Wenger will have something up his sleeve.
    Still hope for the best with Kos, but maybe hoping against hope.
    Just hope we get to Jan intact at the back!

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Tony, insideright and Walter,

    I also wish to vote for Crowley. I have watched both of the home U19s games in the Champions League and without doubt he has been the stand out player for Arsenal in both games. Zelalem also played in both games but, in comparison, was not in the same league as Crowley. He looked disinterested and was, frankly, lazy.

    Having scored all three Arsenal goals against Anderlecht in Belgium they clearly had a gage plan to nullify him at Boreham Wood – they rotation ally kicked the s–t out of his lower legs every time they could get close enough to him. The referee awarded most of the free kicks but the damage was done.

    I never expected him to come out for the second half and, with hindsight it would probably have been better had he been substituted. Maybe then Zelalem would have stepped up and taken over the creative load for the team. He was the biggest single disappointment in our performance.

    For the Dortmund U19s game we also need a much louder crowd – Maria did her best with support from me and a few others but we could do with far more people making lots of noise. The game will be free so please come along if you can.. It takes about an hour by public transport to get to the Emirates for the main event in the evening which allows plenty of time for food and drink .

  • Gerry

    Andy Kershaw – To be fair to Zelalem, he was playing in a deeper position. He is still learning how to tackle and win the ball back, not do the clever passing thing he can do already. It is wrong to think that a player is lazy or disinterested just because he doesn’t run around like a bull in a china shop? Same simplistic view in the Ozil v Wilshere debate?
    I agree with Walter, we can give the youngsters more time, especially in midfield? If Crowley gets kicked around now by bigger kids slightly older than himself, then he will have no chance of surviving at the top level, at least, not until he learns when and where he puts his body on the line. Wilshere alone is testament to that?