In the final few hours of transfer deadline day, there were more departures from the club’s Academy.
19-year-old fullback Marc Bola and imposing goalkeeper Matt Macey, 22, sealed moves to respective clubs in League Two.
Bola, who hadn’t featured for Arsenal u23s since their 3-2 defeat against Liverpool in the middle of December, joined Notts County. The teenager has impressed with assuring defensive displays but with the arrival of Cohen Bramall from non-league side Hednesford Town, it seemed increasingly likely that Bola would depart in search of regular minutes at senior level.
He will wear the number 16 under manager Kevin Nolan and revealed his excitement at completing the move itself.
On playing under the former West Ham midfielder, he said: “It’s a pleasure, seeing him at West Ham, scoring goals… he believes in young players, he’s experienced and Notts County is a massive club. I’m just buzzing to get playing.”
It’s a refreshing attitude to have, not least for someone that is joining a team in Notts County’s predicament at present. Their 2-1 win over Crawley Town over the weekend was their first in 2017, and they hadn’t won a league match since a surprise 2-1 away victory against Portsmouth in late October.
As for Macey, he’ll be hoping for more minutes than his younger teammate Ryan Huddart got at Eastleigh earlier on in the season in the remainder of the campaign at Luton Town. They’re in a completely different situation to the one over at Notts County, and sit in the play-off places (5th place) despite a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Cheltenham in yesterday’s round of league fixtures.
At 22-years-old, it’s important that he does start playing competitive matches with more regularity and is given an opportunity to assert consistency in the same manner he has done at u23 level. Otherwise, he could quickly see chances of maintaining a long-term future at Arsenal gradually become more unlikely, despite the club’s high hopes for him going forward.