Arsenal have handed a number of young players a chance in the first team this season, but some have had to try to catch Mikel Arteta’s eye while on loan elsewhere.
Arteta has given the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Folarin Balogun a chance to impress in their senior side, and some loanees may now wish they had stayed at the Emirates.
We’ve taken a look at the 17 Arsenal players currently out on loan and how they’ve fared to date. Note: we’ve not included Sead Kolasinac or William Saliba, who’ve left during the January transfer window.
Mavropanos signed a new contract with the Gunners before joining Stuttgart on loan in the summer, reuniting with Arsenal‘s former head of recruitment Sven Mislintat.
The centre-back had a frustrating start to the season, suffering a torn meniscus which required surgery and ruled him out for six weeks.
He has made five Bundesliga appearances since returning to full fitness in November and impressed during their 5-1 win over Borussia Dortmund.
After falling down the pecking order under Mikel Arteta, Gunedouzi decided to join Hertha Berlin in search of regular first-team football.
The France Under-21 international has rediscovered his best form in Germany, becoming one of the first names on the teamsheet under Bruno Labbadia.
Despite failing to score in the Premier League, he already has two Bundesliga goals, including a sensational strike against Borussia Monchengladbach.
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After Thomas Partey joined Arsenal from Atletico Madrid, Torreira moved in the opposite direction on a temporary deal until the end of the season.
He scored after coming off the bench against Osasuna but has started just three matches in all competitions since arriving in Spain.
The Gunners are reportedly ready to recall the Uruguay international before sending him back out on loan to Serie A side Fiorentina.
Medley is undertaking his first spell away from Arsenal, having signed a season-long loan deal with League One club Gillingham.
The centre-back has made 18 appearances in all competitions in 2020-21, including a start against Arsenal’s Under-21s in the EFL Trophy.
But he has failed to make the matchday squad for their last three games and could be sent back to Arsenal during the January transfer window.
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Coyle joined Medley at Gillingham and made a brilliant start to his loan spell, netting two goals in his first five appearances in all competitions.
“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.”
The 19-year-old also scored an equaliser against his parent club in the EFL Cup but has started just three League One games for the Gills.
It’s fair to say that Swanson’s loan spell at Dutch side MVV Maastricht didn’t go to plan.
After making his debut in a 7-1 defeat against SC Cambuur, he made just two more appearances for the club and was recalled by Arsenal in December.
Playing every minute of Swindon Town’s 20 league games so far, Smith has been one of their standout performers in a difficult season.
The midfielder has two goals and four assists in all competitions, but it’s his incredible pre-assist against Darlington that really caught our attention.
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Osei-Tutu joined Cardiff City and impressed in his first six Championship appearances but has been sidelined with a hamstring problem since the end of October.
Having spent last season on loan in League One with Doncaster Rovers, Sheaf has made the step up to the Championship with Coventry City.
The midfielder has made 21 appearances in all competitions and could join the Sky Blues on a permanent deal for £750,000 at the end of the season.
“I am really enjoying myself; it is a better level than I was playing at last year and I am learning each game I play. I just want to keep playing and improving,” Sheaf said in December 2020.
Despite struggling with injury problems, John-Jules has still been able to show why he’s so highly rated during his loan spell at Doncaster Rovers.
The striker has three goals and two assists in 10 League Two appearances, including a stunning solo goal in their 3-1 win against Charlton.
McGuinness, who joined the Gunners aged 10, is yet to make his first-team debut for Arsenal and is spending the 2020-21 season at Ipswich Town.
After having to wait to break into the team, the centre-back has now established himself as a key player, helping his new club keep three clean sheets in 10 League One appearances.
“My aim is to eventually play at the highest level possible, whether that turns out to be Arsenal or somewhere else, just the top level,” McGuinness said in October 2020.
“My dad was always an Arsenal fan and he was chuffed when I joined them at a young age. I definitely want to play for the first team – that’s my goal – and this move is a good stepping-stone to reaching the highest level.
“But for now I am only focused on Ipswich and helping them to win promotion this season.”
— Ipswich Town FC (@IpswichTown) December 16, 2020
Ballard enjoyed a dream start to his loan spell at Blackpool, winning the man of the match award in his first two appearances for the League One outfit.
“We don’t want to get too carried away with Dan but I think he’s been outstanding in both games and rightly man of the match,” Blackpool manager Neil Critchley told the club’s YouTube channel in October 2020.
“He played like a man out there today. Really assured, [his] defending was outstanding up against good strikers, some experienced strikers. He kept them all quiet today, really pleased with Dan and he’s had a real good start to his Blackpool career.”
The Northern Ireland international has made another six appearances and will be hoping to work his way into Mikel Arteta’s plans when his loan deal expires at the end of January.
Despite keeping a clean sheet on his debut for Shrewsbury Town, Iliev has made just two more appearances for the League One side.
Bola joined Arsenal at Under-9 level and the 22-year-old is currently learning his trade on loan at Rochdale in League One.
The left-back has made 12 appearances in all competitions but has been on the winning side on just three occasions so far this season.
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 centre-back has helped fix their leaky defence in his first 16 appearances and also scored a late winner against Cheltenham.
“He’s been a revelation and he’s loving it,” Kewell told Optus Sport in November 2020. “I spoke to him and said as much as you can be the next big thing, if you got 100 games behind you, that will only help.
“Harry Kane is a great example – he’s incredible, recently scored his 200th Tottenham goal. He went out on loan.
“It wasn’t until 22 or 23 he exploded at Spurs. He got men’s football (under his belt) and it gave him an opportunity to go back and be ready for his chance.
“It’s not always about going to, or staying at, big clubs. To break through sometimes you need to go to smaller clubs.”
After a brief spell in League Two with Northampton Town in 2019-20, Olayinka returned to the fourth tier by joining Southend on loan.
While the Shrimpers are currently bottom of the league, he has still been able to impress, scoring four goals in 14 appearances in all competitions.
— AFC LoanWatch (@AFC_Loanwatch) November 7, 2020
The goalkeeper joined National League side Dover Athletic on a short-term loan deal but has made just three appearances for the club, conceding eight goals.
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