With the senior team finally beginning to find their feet in the Premier League after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Stoke City, Arsenal’s loan stars are also making progress for their temporary clubs.
Here’s a look at their development so far this season.
Could any of these players be recalled to compensate for the lack of summer signings as Arsenal look to mount a possible assault on the title?
Wojciech Szczesny – on loan at Roma
After losing his place to David Ospina last season, followed by Petr Cech in the current campaign, Wojciech Szczesny was always going to find it difficult to get first team football for Arsenal in the near future. A loan to Roma quickly materialised after the signing of Cech. The Pole has made three Serie A appearances so far, conceding two goals. Roma won two of those games, drawing the other. One of those victories came against Juventus, a 2-1 in which Szczesny make a couple of superb saves.
Whether or not Szczesny will ever play for Arsenal again is unclear but Arsene Wenger has said that he will. Cech and Ospina seem comfortable and happy with their roles at the Emirates and that’s expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Szczesny is by no means a bad goalkeeper, but it must be said Cech is a safer pair of hands, despite his shaky debut performance against West Ham.
Yaya Sanogo – on loan at Ajax
Like Szczesny, there was a degree of expectation that Yaya Sanogo would leave Arsenal this summer. The club was believed to be interested in signing a new striker to join Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott up front. As we know, that didn’t happen, but Sanogo still departed, joining Ajax on a season-long loan. With Danny Welbeck ruled out for several months through injury, Arsene Wenger might regret letting Sanogo go, despite the fact he’s arguably not good enough for Arsenal – not yet anyway.
Perhaps a short stay in the Eredivisie will aid his development. The striker has made three substitute appearances in the Dutch top division so far this term, failing to find the net in any of those games. Forty-seven minutes is a difficult amount of time in which to judge a player so it would be best to avoid premature conclusions until Sanogo has started a few games for Ajax.
Chuba Akpom – on loan at Hull City
Another Arsenal striker hoping to impress Wenger from afar is Chuba Akpom. There are high hopes for the 19-year-old among Gunners fans and staff, and his Hull career started well with a debut goal against Huddersfield Town on the opening day of the Championship campaign. Since then, however, Akpom has failed to find the net in the league, but did come off the bench to score the winner against Rochdale in the second round of the Capital One Cup.
In the Tigers’ 1-1 draw with Wolves last month, Akpom was visibly frustrated with teammate Nikica Jelavic after the latter lectured his attacking compatriot over a failed pass. The pair continued to lack communication for the rest of the game – a poor start to a promising potential partnership. Jelavic has since been sold to West Ham; perhaps now Akpom with prosper either on his own or with a different strike partner.
Isaac Hayden – on loan at Hull City
Steve Bruce’s second loan acquisition from Arsenal is defender Isaac Hayden. After making only two senior appearances for the Gunners, a loan was best for all parties this season. Despite having primarily played as a centre back throughout his youth career, Hull have implemented Hayden as a defensive midfielder.
He has played 265 minutes for the Championship club, making three starts and three appearances off the bench. The 20-year-old also started in the League Cup win over Rochdale. If Hayden impresses in his first loan move away from the Emirates, he might work his way into Wenger’s future plans, particularly when the club’s lack of quality in holding midfield is considered.
Carl Jenkinson – on loan at West Ham United
Jenkinson is at West Ham for the second consecutive season and will be hoping to build on his impressive performances in the previous campaign. Hector Bellerin and Mathieu Debuchy are considered better options at right-back for Arsenal, and rightly so.
The 23-year-old was extremely poor in West Ham’s 4-3 home defeat to Bournemouth last month, but so were the hosts’ other defenders. Jenkinson hasn’t started a league game since, although he did come off the bench against Newcastle on Monday night and played reasonably well.
Serge Gnabry – on loan at West Bromwich Albion
It’s tough to judge Gnabry on his current loan spell alone. The attacking midfielder has impressed in fits and starts for Arsenal but is yet to properly break in to the senior set up. He joined West Brom in the summer but has only made one substitute appearance so far.
Thankfully, it was a rather impressive cameo. Gnabry entered the fray with Albion trailing against Chelsea, and injected pace and intent into the home team. A beautiful piece of skill that bewildered Cesc Fabregas in the middle of the park was a particular highlight. Hopefully there’s more to come from the 20-year-old.
Emiliano Martinez – on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers
Goalkeeper Martinez has already impressed Wolves fans since joining the Championship club on loan. After successfully displacing first choice ‘keeper Carl Ikeme, Martinez has made three league appearances and started twice in the Capital One Cup.
The Argentine was named man of the match after Wolves’ 2-1 defeat at Bolton last weekend. Despite losing, Martinez kept his team in the game with a string of impressive saves. He’ll be hoping to gain promotion to the Premier League with Wanderers, which could see him earn a permanent move to the Midlands. Like Szczesny, it will certainly be tough for him to displace Cech in the near future.