Daniel Ballard is close to sealing a loan move to the Championship for next season, holding talks with several sides in the division.

Daniel Ballard (R) celebrates a goal in Blackpool's play-off semi-final (Photo via BlackpoolFC.co.uk)
Daniel Ballard (R) celebrates a goal in Blackpool’s play-off semi-final (Photo via BlackpoolFC.co.uk)

After helping Blackpool up into the Championship with an impressive loan spell this season, Daniel Ballard was always likely to make his own step up to the Championship this campaign.

According to Football.London, that move is now close. Ballard is in talks with several established Championship sides, with Blackpool also keen to bring him back. A return to Blackpool is described as a ‘possibility’, but just one of a number of options right now.

Arsenal and Ballard obviously need to make the best decision for his future. If that’s returning to Blackpool, where he already has a place in the team and a relationship with the players and the coaching staff, then great.

But if they decide the best next step is for him to play for a side more likely to compete for promotion, for example, then they can’t let the sentimentality of a comeback get in the way.

Ballard’s young career is heading in the right direction with each passing year. From the u18s in 2017/18, to the u23s the next year, then a loan to League Two, followed by League One (and a Northern Ireland call-up), and now the Championship.

If he does well, there’s no reason we should rule out advancing to the Premier League afterwards. The full focus right now will be on ensuring he finds the right Championship club to get plans for the next season sorted as soon as possible.

Ballard has a contract with Arsenal until 2023, so you wonder if the club might look to extend it by a year or two before loaning him out.