Just weeks after saying Chuba Akpom wouldn’t be loaned out, Arsène Wenger agreed to send him out on loan to Championship side Hull City.
Isaac Hayden had already gone out to the club relegated from the Premier League last season and – to the delight of Steve Bruce – was joined by Akpom shortly after.
Akpom has an excellent record at youth level but has outgrown the u21 team with Arsenal in Division Two of the Premier League reserves, now he needs regular football. He is yet to score professionally and faced too much competition at Arsenal to get regular opportunities, so a loan move is ideal for everyone involved.
“There is a moment in your career where you are not anymore for youth level and not ready for the Premier League,” Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger said to Arsenal Player.
“I think in this period in English football, we lose players, because we have nothing really on the competition front to offer them.
“They’ve already played for two or three years in the under-21s and they don’t feel they move forward anymore if they don’t play in the first team.”
There is a real danger of stagnation, and Arsenal are now looking to avoid that with a number of players. With more senior squad members than ever Arsenal are sending a number of players our on loan in order to gain experience at a higher level.
Dan Crowley has moved to Barnsley for a year and Yaya Sanogo will be plying his trade at Ajax. Midfielder Jon Toral, who spent some of last season at Brentford, will also return to the Championship and play for Birmingham City.
“They are ready to play in a senior team,” Wenger said of his young players. “I believe that Championship level is a very good terminal stage of the education of a player.
“Unfortunately we cannot do it for everybody because not everybody can play in the Championship. I think it’s a great experience at the end of the education of a player, before he plays in the Premier League and for Arsenal.”
Arsenal will only benefit from using the Championship as a testing ground more often. very few players have gone on loan spells and then made it in north London but other clubs use the loan system to great effect.
If Arsenal have let talents slip through the cracks by not risking promotion to the first team when youth level is no longer challenging it is the right move to send players to the Championship to develop further.
Hopefully now we will begin to reap the rewards of loaning players out.