The 17 Arsenal players hoping to catch Mikel Arteta’s eye on loan in 2020-21

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Mikel Arteta already has a crop of exciting young players in the Arsenal first team – and a number of hot prospects will be hoping to catch his eye while out on loan in 2020-21.

Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah have become first-team regulars under Arteta, complimenting the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Granit Xhaka and David Luiz.

Here, we’ve taken a look at the 17 players sent out on loan who have the chance to prove they belong in Arsenal’s first team next season.

Konstantinos Mavropanos

Mavropanos arrived from Greek outfit PAS Giannina for around £1.8million in January 2018. Injuries have sadly halted his progress, limiting him to just eight first-team appearances.

After a brief loan spell at FC Nurnberg, the centre-back returned to Germany and joined Stuttgart on loan ahead of the 2020–21 season, reuniting with Arsenal‘s former head of recruitment Sven Mislintat.

Unfortunately it is the same old story; he made one appearance for the Bundesliga side before suffering a torn meniscus and now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Matteo Guendouzi

Despite being the all-round b*stard the club has been crying out for, Guendouzi also proved too much of a b*stard with Mikel Arteta and was frozen out of the first team disciplinary issues.

The France Under-21 international joined Hertha Berlin on a season-long loan deal and will try to get his career back on track in the Bundesliga.

“I just really needed to play this year, a new challenge,” Guendouzi said in October 2020. “That was the most important thing for me. I am still young, I am only 21, so playing time was the top priority for me.

“So Hertha Berlin, I know that I will be able to express myself in a magnificent league. They are a very good club with big ambitions. So, I have left to go on loan there for a year, so I will give everything I can for this club.

“I needed playing time, I need to play, I needed to enjoy myself on the pitch and that is what I am going to do this year.”

READ: Six players Mikel Arteta has laid down the law to since joining Arsenal

Lucas Torreira

After a promising debut season at Arsenal, Torreira fell down the pecking order under Arteta in 2019-20.

The midfielder sealed his loan move to Atletico Madrid on deadline day, while Arsenal signed Thomas Partey in a £45million deal from the Spanish club.

“He is a very hard-working boy, we are going to need him,” Diego Simeone said after Torreira’s debut against Celta Vigo.

“He competes very well, he will give us a lot of strength there in the middle of the court, when he obviously picks up the pace of the game.

“His speed characteristics, going out quickly in the circulation of the ball in the middle will generate more speed in that part of the middle of the pitch and well, hopefully, he will find the best form.”

Zech Medley

Having joined Arsenal from Chelsea in 2016, Medley’s been a regular for their Under-23s and has made eight appearances for their first team.

The 20-year-old is spending the 2020-21 season on loan at League One club Gillingham and has already matched his Arsenal appearance tally.

Trae Coyle

Coyle reunited with Medley at Gillingham and has made an impressive start to the season, scoring two goals in his first eight appearances.

“He is a smashing lad and his ability at times is scary. We are working with him to adapt his game slightly from what he did at the Arsenal, but he is putting the work in,” Steve Evans told the Gillingham’s official website in September 2020.

“Wherever he plays in the future he will always remember his first-ever league goal. This boy can be magical but only if he does the ugly side of the game, one side is not enough in the modern game.”

Zak Swanson

Swanson is undertaking his first spell away from Arsenal, having signed a season-long loan deal with Dutch side MVV Maastricht.

The right-back had a debut to forget, however, starting in a 7-1 defeat against SC Cambuur in the Eerste Divisie.

Matt Smith

Smith is yet to make his senior debut for Arsenal but has been involved with the squad as a substitute, including the 2020 FA Cup final.

The 20-year-old is getting his first taste of senior football on loan at Swindon Town and scored on his League One debut against Rochdale.

Jordi Osei-Tutu

After an impressive loan spell at German second-tier side VfL Bochum in 2019-20, Osei-Tutu is spending this season in the Championship with Cardiff City.

“I came here because it is a big club giving me a big platform,” Osei-Tutu told Cardiff’s club website.

“I thank the manager for having the belief to bring me to such a wonderful club and all I want to do is repay him. I’ll do that by showing what I can do, helping the team win games and hopefully pushing for promotion.

The 22-year-old can play in defence or attack and will be hoping to get more first-team experience under his belt.

Ben Sheaf

Sheaf joined the Gunners’ youth ranks from West Ham in 2014 and was tipped to make a big impact in the game by Arsene Wenger.

But he has made just three first-team appearances for Arsenal and joined newly-promoted Championship side Coventry City ahead of the 2020-21 season.

The Sky Blues also have the option to make the deal permanent for £750,000 at the end of the season.

READ: Where are they now? The last 10 Arsenal starlets Wenger gave debuts

Tyreece John-Jules

John-Jules is yet to make his Arsenal debut but has already caught the eye of Mikel Arteta after starring for their Under-23s.

“He can do everything,” Arteta said in January 2020. “He links really well on the ball every time he’s out of the number nine position. He’s got a really good ability to do that.

“He reads situations earlier than others and he’s a good finisher as well. Physically he’s developed in a really good shape. I think he’s a very complete player.”

The striker is currently on loan at League One side Doncaster Rovers, scoring his first goal for the club in a 3-1 win against Charlton. 

Watch: Arsenal loanee John-Jules scores stunning solo goal for Doncaster

Mark McGuinness

Yet to make his competitive first-team debut, although he did score in a pre-season friendly against MK Dons this summer, McGuinness has been on the books at Arsenal since the age of 10.

The 19-year-old centre-back is spending the 2020-21 season at Ipswich Town but has yet to make an appearance for the League One outfit.

Daniel Ballard

Ballard was meant to spend last season on loan at Swindon Town but was restricted to just three appearances before suffering a serious injury and returning to Arsenal. He did score against Chelsea’s Under-21s in the EFL Trophy during those three games, so he’s a proper Gooner at least.

This month, he joined Blackpool on loan for the season but has been unavailable to date due to international commitments with Northern Ireland, for whom he has already won three caps.

Dejan Iliev

“I really hope that this will happen and I’m working hard to get this chance,” Iliev told Goal earlier this year. “I’m not going to give up, I still believe that I can make it.”

The goalkeeper has had to stay patient at Arsenal. Having joined the academy in 2012, Iliev is one of the Arsenal’s longest-serving players, albeit without making a single senior appearance.

Now 25, Iliev had spells on loan in Slovakia and Poland last term but has stayed closer to home in 2020-21, joining Shrewsbury Town until the end of January, keeping a clean sheet on his debut for the League One side.

READ: An Xl of Arsenal academy graduates still playing elsewhere: Gnabry, Malen…

Tolaji Bola

A local lad, Bola joined Arsenal at Under-9 level. Now 21, the left-back will finally get to taste senior football with a loan switch to Rochdale.

Well, in theory at least, he’s not actually played for them yet…

Harry Clarke

Signed from Ipswich Town’s academy in 2015, Clarke has taken the brave step of making his first foray into senior football at League Two strugglers Oldham Athletic, managed by Harry Kewell.

The 19-year-old was originally a midfielder when he joined the Gunners but has been converted into a ball-playing centre-back. His loan at Boundary Park only runs until January as things stand, so it’s worth keeping an eye on whether it gets extended.

James Olayinka

Scorer of a terrific goal for Arsenal’s first team in the pre-season leading up to 2019-20, Olayinka was later sent out on loan to League Two’s Northampton Town.

The midfielder played just once before football’s postponement but was involved in Northampton’s subsequent play-off success to earn promotion to League One.

Olayinka has now returned to the fourth tier by joining Southend, much to the delight of manager Mark Molesley, who told the Southend Echo: “Coming out of Arsenal he’s going to be technically good but definitely his work ethic, energy and athleticism stuck out to us straight away.”

Tom Smith

Last December, Smith signed his first professional contract with Arsenal, having previously helped the Under-18s side win their respective title, even captaining the team on occasion.

Still just 18, the goalkeeper joined Salisbury on loan last season only for injury to cut short his temporary spell, and he has now joined National League side Dover Athletic, managed by former Watford and Gillingham hero Andy Hessenthaler.


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