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June 2021

Now it’s over, how did our players out on loan do?

By Tony Attwood

As always Arsenal had a number of players out on loan through the year, and it has become quite common across the years for one or two of the loan players to come back to the club and make something of an impact.

This time round the player who is being tipped for a big return is Wojciech Szczesny who has been with Roma.  He’s now 27, a good age for a keeper to come to his prime, and apparently Per Mertesacker recently got in touch invite him to the FA Cup final and the end‑of‑season player events.

Those who have watched him say that his reckless streak has gone and his now totally controlled.  Speaking of this he said, “The biggest thing I have taken away from these two years at Roma is the fact I grew as a goalkeeper. It’s just raising your levels, your standards. I absorbed a bigger knowledge of football, the tactical side of the game. You don’t see me with that rush of blood that I used to have as a younger keeper. It’s not that I don’t feel that rush of blood but tactically you are more aware of when to be involved, when to let the defenders recover.”

The question is what we will do with our current first choice keeper.  I can’t see Szczesny coming back to be number 2, (which might be possible if Ospina goes).  Judging from the massive plaudits he has received in Rome, he is ready to step up as number one.

Joel Campbell has played 18 times for Sporting Lisbon with three goals, and that doesn’t seem to me to be the sort of numbers that suggest he has dominated in Portugal.  Back in March he claimed he would not sign​ with Sporting CP this summer, and has denied that the Portuguese side have an option to buy him permanently.  But it is unclear if there is any future for him at Arsenal.

Krystian Bielik joined Birmingham on 31 January 2017, and made his debut in the starting eleven for the visit to Preston North End on 14 February.  Reports have been very positive, although Birmingham struggled and ended the season just two points above relegation.  The club has been in turmoil since the new owners announced they were bringing in a top manager in Zola, who they then dismissed just before the end of the season, and replaced with Redknapp.  He might be ready to join Arsenal’s defensive team next season, but I suspect one more loan spell is in order.

Calum Chambers (Middlesbrough), played 23 times on loan and generally got good notices, but was highly criticised in his last game.  Prior to the loan spell he seemed to be destined to make an impact at Arsenal, but now it could be that Bielik is a step ahead of him.  It is hard to recall that he has been picked a couple of times for the England squad.

Jack Wilshere.  Jack made 22 starts at Bournemouth and seemed slowly to be getting his old form back before yet another injury struck him down.  He had been brilliant on occasions, but whether we can give him a place in the 25 knowing that he’s only going to be there for part of a season, and not knowing if the brilliance will return… I am not sure.

Takuma Asano played 26 times for Stuttgart in the German second division and scored four goals as his side were promoted to the first division.  There is an option on him staying on for a second year, which I guess will happen.

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Chuba Akpom played ten times for Brighton and Hove Albion after joining them in January.  That does not suggest to me that he did enough to earn more time with Arsenal.

Jon Toral apparently had a rotten time at Granada in the first half of the season and so moved on to Rangers for the second half, and played for them 12 times in all (nine in the league) scoring three goals.  After 36 games for Birmingham the season before the limited number of games does not suggest his career has progressed as some of us thought it might be doing.

Gedion Zelalem.  Zelalem seemed to be so brilliant at first, and then somehow went backwards.  There appeared to be a spot of progress again at Rangers, but then….  in January two things happened.  He signed a contract extension with Arsenal and went on loan to the Dutch second division team VVV-Venlo, for whom he played nine times.  The new contract suggests some hope for him, but perhaps not yet.

Daniel Crowley is still only 19, and so presumably destined for at least one more loan spell.  This season he got ten games with Go Ahead Eagles following a loan to Oxford United where he had six games.

Stefan O’Connor.    On 5 July 2016, O’Connor joined MVV Maastricht on loan for the whole season, but only made four appearances and returned to Arsenal on 14 April 2017.

So it looks like Wojciech Szczesny is the man to come back, if any do return to make the breakthrough.  No one else seems really that close.

Get out of our club, get out of our club, Stan Kroenke, get out of our club – and Ferguson weighs in with support!

By refusing to focus on Kroenke and by refusing to pursue a boycott, fans who want change are ensuring continuity.

Tony Adams does himself no favours as the Wenger, Wenger, Wenger fixation goes on.



11 comments to Now it’s over, how did our players out on loan do?

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Bielik is interesting – prior to joining us he played almost exclusively as a defensive midfielder. For the last couple of years he has switched to CB a transition he seemed to struggle with at first. I have a hunch that in time he will revert to the midfield role now he seems to have learned the CB duties. I’m sure that he will feature in pre-season and has a real chance of progression at Arsenal if he puts in some good performances.

    Szczesney should also get a chance in pre-season and is quite capable of regaining the No1 goalkeeping slot. I am not at all sure that we should rely on Cech as our main keeper next season.

    Chambers future depends entirely on what happens with our other Centre Halves. Currently I would say that Kos, Mustafa and Holding are our best three. Gabriel is an adequate cover and Mertesacker and Monreal are backup options when needed. Depending on the extent of Mustafi’s injury and if it is knee ligaments then he will be out for the first half of next season, then there may well be a place for him next season. He has been used to playing with Holding for the England U21 team this year. Middlesbrough have been so dire that we shouldn’t read too much into his recent performances there.

    For the rest I agree with you and don’t think we should expect too much from them next year. I haven’t givEn up on Asano yet but don’t think he is yet eligible for a work permit so he will have to stay on loan as will our young Nigerian Kelechi Nwkali

  • OlegYch

    Crowley had 16 games with Eagles and apparently had large impact whenever he was fit, i wouldn’t be surprised to see him in pre-season
    Nwakali have been ever present for Maastricht and helped them to play-off final (to be played on 25 and 28th) with a goal and assist in semi-final
    Bennacer have also impressed for Tours and contributed to their unbeaten run to avoid relegation
    i’m sad to see Campbell not getting much time with Sporting, always liked him as a player and he seemed impressive whenever he played for Arsenal or Sporting
    the loan has been a disaster for Julio Pleguezuelo, who only started getting match time when Mallorka was on brinks of relegation, after his inclusion they lost only two games in 6 but that wasn’t enough
    i’m glad Toral escaped from what seemed like another disastrous loan, hope he was able to recover from that with Rangers
    if only we pulled Gnabry earlier from Pullis claws, that loan is still driving me mad

  • locomotif

    Look at Cech for last 8 games this guy is a monster in goal back to his best no doubt at all. Somehow managed to fine tune focus to the Cech of old , very very crucial to the team setup, backbone. Szczesney should realize this and wait for 1-2 more years when Cech retires, If his heart is in Arsenal.

  • Josif

    As for Chambers, he was the highest rated Middlesbrough player according to before the last game of the season. The partnership of Holding and Chambers might become a special one in the forthcoming yeaes even if their opening match v Liverpool wasn’t that good. In fact, Chambers played 3 league games v Liverpool, lost all three while his teams conceded 10 goals in the process. I have always seen Chambers as a new Per and I’d like to see Per taking CC21 under his wing.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: we dropped five points in the opening two games, including very expensive three v Liverpool. The main reason for losing the first game of the season was lack of senior central defenders as we had Koscielny, Gabriel and Mertesacker out while Mustafi was still at Valencia. Two youngsters Holding and Chambers couldn’t do much to stop rampant Liverpool side between 45th and 60th minute.

    Szczesny… Now, he had a strong competition in Alisson Becker, the Brazilian keeper. Chez had his moments of brilliance and my Roma mates would love to keep him. I’d keep Cech as No. 1 as his performances following the switch to back three were top level but Chez deserves a chance to shine as well. Europa League might be the right stage for Chez to make a string of decisive performances as he didn’t give a spectacular contribution to our FA Cup glory 2014-15 while he didn’t feature at all in FA Cup glory 2013-14.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I remember Arsène being asked about Bennacer earlier n the season and his response was that he wasn’t spectacular but once you put him in the team you didn’t take him out. He will be vying for a starting place with Maitland-Niles I think but probably not next year.

    The youngster I have the highest hopes for is Eddie Nketiah. Came to us fromChelsea at 14 and has scored lots of goals every year since. He will be 19 next year and will be looking to be the main goal threat for the U23s and break through into first team contention. My money is on him being the goalscorer who finally makes it to the first team. Not big but knows where the goal is and rarely misses.

  • Leon

    How many of our loan players return as successes? Wilshire & who else? We’ve been lucky inasmuch as we’ve been able to sell decent loan players on, but I can’t think of any returnees who been a success.
    I have hopes for Chambers, but the rest don’t look that great to me.

  • Gord

    OT: medja Referee Summary articles

    A few medja summaries of officiating have begun to appear. What they do, is to present summary numbers. By and large, there is _NO_ analysis of these numbers. Most certainly, there is no critical appraisal.

    The article starts with, the observation (there is no analysis, remember) that Barcelona did not concede a penalty this season. It then goes on to mention this is the 4th time this has happened, and it presents a table of teams with similar types of numbers.

    The question is, did Barcelona foul opponents in a manner that should have resulted in a penalty, but for some reasons didn’t?

  • Leon

    Szczesny of course. Forgot him.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    If Le Prof stays on or not, I strongly suggest Mertesacker for his becoming abjectly slow and lacking defending pace but relying mostly on his good sense of positioning which is not enough to become a PL title winning CB, should be discharged by Arsenal in the Summer or loan him out to make room for Bielik and Chambers to return to the defense-line since Mustafi will likely be out in the first half of next season. There is no need for Arsenal to sign a new CB in the Summer with Holding, Chambers and Bielik available to mann the position while Mustafi joins them in the winter. Already Kolasniac will arrive to join Monreal, Gibbs and the understudy Bramal at LB while Bellerin and Paulista keep on manning the RB with one top quality RB needed to be signed to make them three in that position as Jenkinson and Debuchy may likely to be discharged, loaned out or sold.

    In the midfield, we need a very good Cazorla kind midfield player signing in the Summer since he may still be out in the early part of next season if he hasn’t fully recovered from his foot injury couple with his constantly missing for Arsenal for long due to injury during a season campaign. I am not sure if Elneny is of Arsenal quality. Maybe Le Prof needs to take a look at him again and if he’s not, he should either be sold or loaned out to make room for Nwakali to come in or a top quality midfielder be signed to replace him.

    Of course, Ozil, Sanchez, Coquelin Ramsey, Chamberlain and Xhaka MUST all be retained as Le Prof, if he remains, embarked on rebuilding or strengthening the squad.

    A top top quality striker of a 30 PL per season goals of Harry Kane consitent seasons goalscoring caliber MUST be signed in the summer by Arsenal in addition to keeping Giroud and Walcott but sell Welbeck in the Summer. But will Le Prof agree? But if he buys a top top goals notcher in the Summer, he has to let one of Welbeck, Giroud and Walcott go to recoup some money he spent in bringing in the new top top striker and also makes room for the incoming top top striker. Or will his axe falls on Yaya Sanogo? Nonetheless, Eddie Nketiah MUST be give a chance in the first team to start playing for Arsenal in the PL as from next season to see if he’ll become our own Mbappe of Monaco for us.

    And I totally agree Szczesny MUST be retained in the summer to start with him first in our next season’s campaign and see how far he has improved in his two loan spells at Roma. If he’s convincing, we’ll continue with him as our number one goalkeeper with Cech and Ospina becoming number 2 & 3 respectively. But it’s all depend of what Le Prof decides.

  • para

    David Dein is “on loan” too, well you know what i mean.

    Arsenal should do all it takes(sort it out maan) to get our dynamic duo(DD and AW) back functioning as a team at Arsenal. 🙂

  • Leon


    It would be a rather geriatric Dynamic Duo though wouldn’t it.
    Gazidis has been the complete Dein antithesis, but I think that has been by design.