Recent reports have confirmed Arsenal defender Stefan O’Connor has returned to the club early, after his loan spell with Dutch side MVV Maastricht was unsurprisingly terminated.

  • O’Connor only featured 4 times for MVV Maastricht
  • 20-year-old has been given permission to trial with other clubs ahead of a summer move
  • Defender played for Arsenal senior team in Champions League

The centre-back only made four senior appearances this season and regularly failed to be included in the matchday squad altogether. In contrast, attacking midfielder Kelechi Nwakali is enjoying his football in the Netherlands. The Nigerian teenager continues to develop his game well at MVV.

It’s frustrating to see for a talented defender, who was once tipped to break into the senior side a few years ago. Having made his Champions League debut during a 4-1 away win over Galatasaray alongside Ainsley Maitland-Niles in 2014, it’s a surprise to see how the pair have differed significantly since then.

Injuries and his position as a defender have been part of the reason why he has struggled to progress as quickly as he would’ve liked. Glen Kamara, Kristopher da Graca and Savvas Mourgos are all players who will likely depart this summer and given his lack of development on-loan, O’Connor is expected to also leave too.

Arsenal have a number of talented youngsters who’ve been loaned out at one point or another this term, with mixed success. Questions have been asked about the suitability of clubs and decisions being made with regards to the player’s short-term future, as O’Connor’s move abroad seems a questionable one in hindsight.

Having featured on four occasions for York City when they were in League Two, that loan spell was only cut short when he sustained an injury which kept him out for the remainder of the 15/16 campaign. With that in mind, why was he not given another opportunity to showcase his ability in England?

Instead he was made to learn a new language abroad, settle in without family and friends and as a result, seems destined to leave the club and trial elsewhere in the coming months.

When you look at it like that, Arsenal’s decision-making here doesn’t look convincing.