James Olayinka joined Northampton Town on loan earlier today, after some strong performances for the Arsenal u23s lately.

James Olayinka with Northampton Town (Photo via NTFC.co.uk)
James Olayinka with Northampton Town (Photo via NTFC.co.uk)

Northampton Town confirmed their loan move for James Olayinka on their website on Monday. They’re taking the u23 midfielder until the end of the season.

Northampton boss Keith Curle explains the youngster caught their eye in the EFL Trophy, when he actually scored against their side for the Arsenal u23s.

“James is a dynamic midfielder who we saw play well against us earlier in the season,” Curle said. “We have tracked him closely and seen him play in a number of under 23 games and he has always impressed us.

“He is box-to-box, he has a lot of energy, he creates chances, he scores goals and he doesn’t mind a tackle either. He can hunt the ball down and he enjoys the competitive side of the game.”

As for Olayinka, he told the Northampton website he’s ready to start playing some senior football.

“I’m excited to play some football and get a taste of playing in the league and gain more experience,” the Arsenal loanee said.

“Northampton are a good team and are doing well in the league. The manager wants to play attacking football and score lots of goals so hopefully, I can help with that.”

How has Olayinka’s season gone so far?

James Olayinka with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via Twitter)
James Olayinka with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via Twitter)

After his impressive performances with the first team in pre-season, things didn’t exactly go to plan for Olayinka.

Unfortunately, he had injury problems in the early months of the campaign, only playing two games before the 5th of November. Funnily enough, one of those two games was the Northampton match, when he scored Arsenal’s goal.

Eventually, he returned to the pitch again, featuring in a penalty shootout win over Cambridge United.

After that, he quickly regained his starting spot in the u23 team and found a rich vein of form. He leaves Arsenal having scored three goals and assisted one in his last four games, probably the best run he’s had in the team.

Olayinka’s workrate is always good, and he doesn’t seem too daunted by the prospect of playing with or against senior players. He made Arsenal’s senior squad against Standard Liege in December but didn’t come off the bench.

He needed a loan though, both for his fitness and to push on to the next level. U23 football is neither competitive nor regular enough for him right now.