Arsenal’s 19-year-old goalkeeper Ryan Huddart has agreed a deal to join National League side Eastleigh on a season-long loan deal ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.
In a surprising move given the current goalkeeping situation, the talented youngster has opted for a move away from the Emirates as he seeks regular first-team football, which is fair enough given his ability and potential to continue developing at a competitive level.
Having been a mainstay at u21 level last term, it was rumoured that Matt Macey (21) would be the goalkeeper to seek a loan away from the club, but Ryan – two years his junior – has made the decision swiftly and with no fuss.
Talking about the move itself, Huddart said he was “really pleased” to join Eastleigh and is “looking forward to the challenge” of fighting for promotion to League Two next term.
As quoted by Eastleigh’s CEO Mark Jewell, they are “extremely pleased” to welcome Ryan at the club – someone who is both a “genuinely nice guy” but equally “fiercely competitive.”
“I know his presence at the club is going to raise the bar. Although he is a young man, he brings with him great professionalism due to the experience gained at his time with Arsenal FC.”
The Spitfires finished five points off the promotion places last season, and will be hoping to improve as they continue to strengthen in depth with a number of summer acquisitions.
As a result of Huddart’s departure, Macey is more likely to be involved with the first-team squad next season as David Ospina and Wojciech Szczesny’s respective futures at the club are both uncertain.
In addition to this, Emiliano Martinez has an important decision to make too: does he remain on-loan after a positive spell with Wolves in the Championship, or fight for Wenger’s attention in the senior squad?
And, as expected, if the club sell Ospina and send Szczesny out on loan, can they really afford to lose a minimum of three keepers from the club without replacing any of them?
It wouldn’t seem likely.