Mikel Arteta has already shown that players can return from loan to play a part in Arsenal‘s first team – so how are their current loanees faring elsewhere?
Eddie Nketiah returned from a loan spell at Leeds United in January and was expected to be sent out once more, only to fight his way into Arteta’s starting XI.
We’ve taken a closer look at the 12 Arsenal players currently out on loan to see who may be best placed to follow in Nketiah’s footsteps.
Twenty-one-year-old Osei-Tutu has been in and out of Bochum’s side this season, appearing both at right-back and on the right wing in the second tier of German football.
His pre-season with the club was marred after being racially abused by St Gallen defender Sliman Kchouk.
“Moise Kean reached out to me, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang had seen it, Alex Iwobi, loads of people reached out,” Osei-Tutu told football.london in November when addressing the incident.
This is horrible man, Jordi Osei-Tutu looks distraught. Looks like the opposition player has said something that’s really bothered him.
Whatever happened, whether it was racist or not, there’s 100% no place for it.
Credit to JOT, he calmed down and continued playing. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Q7m2Boto6e
— T (@afcTB) July 9, 2019
Ballard is still technically on loan at Swindon but has not appeared since suffering a serious knee injury in August, returning to Arsenal for treatment.
Sheaf, who made his solitary appearance for Arsenal three years, joined Doncaster Rovers on a six-month loan deal in the summer and impressed sufficiently enough to see that extended until the end of the season.
The 22-year-old has been converted from centre-back to midfield and has been a mainstay in Doncaster’s side, making 38 appearances in all competitions.
“Now I almost can’t see myself going back [to centre-half]. It’s strange,” Sheaf said in January.
“I’m really enjoying being a bit further up the pitch. I’ve found myself quite high up this season but also deep at times too.”
Absolute beauty from Ben Sheaf yesterday. https://t.co/BunUNykbyC
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) February 16, 2020
Goalkeeper Iliev spent the first half of the season on loan at Slovakian outfit SKF Sered before switching to Jagiellonia in January.
The 25-year-old appeared three times but was dropped after those games featured 3-0 and 4-0 defeats.
Saliba’s form for Saint-Etienne earlier in the season had some reports suggesting Real Madrid were keeping tabs on the centre-back, who joined Arsenal last summer before being immediately loaned back to the French outfit.
Injuries have restricted the 18-year-old to 17 appearances in all competitions this term, but former Arsenal and Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre has tipped Saliba to make a big impact upon his return next season.
“William Saliba will start from the get-go when he joins Arsenal next season,” Silvestre told Bet Pennsylvania.
“He’s currently playing for a struggling Saint-Etienne side, but his performances have been good and he’s been consistent.”
Elneny has made 28 appearances in all competitions for Besiktas, although we’re more interested in the story of him almost getting catfished on Instagram.
Reports suggest Arsenal are in talks with Roma over a permanent sale of Mkhitaryan, who has scored six goals and provided four assists in 20 appearances in all competitions this season.
Hot take: that swap deal for Alexis Sanchez didn’t really work out for anybody.
“Don’t be surprised you see him as Arsenal’s number nine in the future,” was the verdict of Michael Appleton, John-Jules’ manager while on loan at Lincoln City, upon signing the striker on loan in January.
The 19-year-old scored once in seven appearances for the Imps before suffering a season-ending injury in March and returning to the Gunners.
Hopes are high for Smith Rowe at Arsenal, with the midfielder having already scored three times in 10 appearances for the club’s first team.
A loan move to RB Leipzig for the second half of last season was disrupted by injury and the 19-year-old joined Huddersfield Town for the second half of 2019-20, providing a goal and two assists in 10 appearances for the Championship struggles.
Having initially impressed after being thrown into the first team at Arsenal, injuries stunted Mavraponas’ progress and he was sent on loan to Nuremberg in January.
It has been a familiar tale in Germany’s second tier, starting brightly with two Man of the Match awards in his first three appearances before picking up an injury in his fifth.
Olayinka caught the eye with a stunning goal in Arsenal’s pre-season victory over Colorado Rapids in the summer, but he remains waiting for his competitive debut for the Gunners.
A loan move to Northampton Town was agreed in January, but the midfielder has appeared just once in League Two.
“I've been here for 12 years now, so to finally score for the first team is a great feeling. I'm sure everyone at home is happy and hopefully there are many more to come.”
— Gunners.com (@Gunnersc0m) July 16, 2019
We’re not going to completely write off Olowu’s first-team chances at Arsenal, but the 20-year-old defender is currently on loan at Cork City, losing in four of his five appearances to date.