James Olayinka is joining Southend United on loan until January, in a very late move not fully confirmed until after deadline day.

James Olayinka in training with Arsenal (Photo via Olayinka on Instagram)
James Olayinka in training with Arsenal (Photo via Olayinka on Instagram)

Southend United confirmed on Saturday that James Olayinka is signing for the League Two club until the January window. Specifically, he’s on board until 27th January, returning to the league where he was with Northampton Town last season.

It was certainly surprising to see the transfer deadline seemingly pass without a move for Olayinka. Arsenal clearly wanted him to get some senior experience with that last loan in January, but he only made four appearances due to an injury and coronavirus.

So it only made sense for him to go back on loan again now, rather than returning to the u23s. He needs regular football, both to try and overcome those niggling injuries last season and to push on with his development at senior level.

Southend boss Mark Molesley certainly seems to be a fan, suggesting Olayinka was one of their key targets for the window.

“We’re really pleased to bring James in,” Molesley said. “He’s been on our shortlist for some time and we’ve had him watched a number of times.

“He’s been well identified to us from our recruitment [team] and comes well recommended from people in and around Arsenal. He’s had a very good education at Arsenal and we’re indebted to them for trusting us with one of their young talents.”