Harry Clarke joined Oldham Athletic on loan on EFL transfer deadline day, signing on with the League Two side until January.

Harry Clarke with the Arsenal academy (Photo via Clarke on Twitter)
Harry Clarke with the Arsenal academy (Photo via Clarke on Twitter)

Oldham Athletic and Arsenal announced Harry Clarke’s loan move between the clubs on deadline day on Friday. In keeping with a number of recent loan moves away, the temporary transfer will expire in January – January 20th in this case.

The deal got over the line a little too late for Clarke to feature for Oldham this weekend. His new club wrote that he’s “expected to make his debut next week”. Oldham’s next fixture is at home to Carlisle United on Tuesday at 19:00 BST.

The centre-back leaves with 19 u23 appearances under his belt, all of which came from August 2019 onwards. After just one full u23 campaign, Arsenal aren’t hanging around in giving him some senior football.

So many of Arsenal’s recent loans are to January that it’s clearly a change in strategy. Presumably, the club are thinking that they can assess and re-loan in the winter window, rather than committing to one club all season.

If things go well, the player can always just go back to the same club until the summer. If they go really well, perhaps they can even step up to a new loan club in a higher league, or return to Arsenal for games. If they go badly, there’s no obligation to leave them there.

Of course, you’re risking the possibility that the loan is really helping the player but the club decides they’d rather spend their money elsewhere for the remainder of the season. But it’s probably worth that risk to ensure a little more control for Arsenal.