Arsène Wenger admitted he expects Arsenal to be busy with loans this January. But which players could the Gunners give temporary moves away to?
A number of youth players have played for the first team so far this season. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is the most prominent example, but I’d expect him to stick around. Right now, it seems like he’s fighting for first-choice at left-back, so I doubt Wenger will let him leave.
Reiss Nelson is another I’d expect to stay. The wide-forward has only just turned 18 years old, but already looks comfortable with the senior side. I think Wenger will continue to try and give him first-team opportunities. Especially if Theo Walcott ends up leaving. Plus, if it doesn’t work out, Nelson’s still young enough to go on loan next season.
Plus, even after his two-goal heroics against Norwich City, Nketiah still isn’t getting first-team starts with the Gunners. The Charlton manager has already expressed an interest in the 18-year-old.
Rob Holding might move as well. There’s no reason to sell the 22-year-old, especially since Arsenal are guaranteed to lose at least one centre-back this summer – Mertesacker. But he’s not playing regularly, and that might be the case even more when the League Cup games are over.
Calum Chambers is ahead of the former Bolton man after his positive loan spell, for me, so maybe it’s Holding’s turn to have some time away.
Joe Willock, Ben Sheaf and Josh Dasilva are probably the next most likely. All three have made their first-team debuts this season, and Willock started the League Cup quarter-final against West Ham.
But again, when the League Cup matches are over, there may not be many more opportunities to play. At 18 or 19 years old, they’re at the perfect age to get some senior experience.
It’s just about finding the right clubs now. Marc Bola, Stephy Mavididi and Cohen Bramall all got loans in England in the summer, but none of them are starting regularly. The sad reality is they probably would’ve played more if they’d stayed at Arsenal.
But as long as there are clubs who can guarantee some game time, it’d be good to see some of these players get proper opportunities. The rumour mill should kick off again when the window opens in a few days’ time.