How Did They Do? The Arsenal Loan Review

Arsenal loan review
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Karl Jenkinson of Birmingham City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Birmingham City at Villa Park on February 11, 2018 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

Last August, nine Arsenal players left the Emirates in search of more playing time. Then, in January, two more joined their ranks. Just how did they do on loan? Here is the end of season Arsenal loan review to whet your appetite.

2017-2018 Arsenal Loan Review

Lucas Perez

The Spanish striker came to north London from Deportivo de la Coruña in August 2016. However, Perez could not make an impact here in the Premier League and, after one season of bit-part action, decided to return to Spain. But, he found this past season difficult as well.

He finished the league campaign with 31 starts, four substitute appearances, eight goals and six assists. In the Copa del Rey, Lucas Perez and Deportivo played just the one tie, being eliminated 7-3 by Las Palmas over the two legs. This is despite the on-loan Arsenal man contributing one goal and two assists in the cup.

What is probably the most disappointing part of Lucas’ Deportivo return is the fact the team are relegated. They will fall back into the Spanish second division after an 18th-place finish in the table, 14 points below safety.

So, Deportivo will likely not have the funds available to make the move permanent. Plus, Lucas Perez didn’t really set the world on fire back in La Liga. He may get another chance in the team with the new manager, but then again, may find life difficult upon his return.

Joel Campbell

The Costa Rican joined Arsenal in 2011 as a promising young winger. He looked a typical Wenger signing; Campbell has pace, strength and a wicked left foot. There was speculation he would become the next great Arsenal striker.

However, seven years later, his time in the Premier League may be coming to an end. This season he played for Real Betis, for the second time, on loan away from north London for the sixth time.

His injury record is also impressive, even for an Arsenal man. For example, he went off in the CONCACAF Gold Cup last summer with a knee injury while playing for Costa Rica. Then, just after his return in October, he went and got himself hurt again, going down until March.

Joel Campbell only got two starts in La Liga this season, to go with six substitute appearances. He adds a cameo from the bench in the Copa del Rey to this total. In what little playing time he got, Campbell did post a decent return, scoring twice and making an assist.

Real Betis as a whole had a very successful year, finishing sixth in La Liga, good enough for a place in the Europa League group stage next season.

Emiliano Martinez

The Argentine is Arsenal’s long-time number three goalkeeper. However, this season was judged to be in need of a loan to improve his skills and, hopefully, take the next step in his career. Sadly, Emi Martinez has not found his loan to be fruitful.

Going into the new year, he had only played two matches for Getafe, both in the Copa del Rey. Alaves came out winners over the course of the two legs, scoring four unanswered goals. Martinez did not find any joy in the league, either, as he made just five starts.

On top of that, the on-loan Arsenal man could not keep a clean sheet all season long. With Matt Macey developing behind Martinez, and both Cech and Ospina firmly entrenched above him, we may not see Martinez back at the Emirates.

Carl Jenkinson

The man who grew up with an Arsenal poster over his bed. Sadly, it would seem that the full-back’s career in general, let alone in north London, is not going according to plan.

Since his successful loan at West Ham, Jenkinson just hasn’t gotten back into the swing of things. He got shipped off to Birmingham City on loan in August, alongside another Arsenal man, but has suffered almost the entire season.

His debut for the Blues came in the Championship on August 26 but lasted just 32 minutes before going down injured. Jenkinson sat out until after the new year when Birmingham faced Huddersfield in the FA Cup.

The Arsenal man played out the entire 1-1 draw, as well as the 4-1 replay loss. Jenkinson then started six more games until the end of the campaign, finishing with nine matches in all competitions as Birmingham City finished in 19th in the table, just three points out of the drop zone.

Hector Bellerin is the undisputed first-choice at right-back right now, plus Ainsley Maitland-Niles is coming off a breakthrough season. So, do not expect to see Carl Jenkinson in Arsenal red anytime soon.

Cohen Bramall

The other on-loan Gunner spending his season in the second city. Bramall also found it difficult to break into the Birmingham first-team, although not because of injuries. It would seem that both managers – Harry Redknapp and Steve Cotterill – simply did not fancy the young man.

His first two games came quickly, a league match and Carabao Cup tie in August, before riding the bench almost until Christmas. The season’s second half was slightly more kind to Bramall, getting minutes in the FA Cup as well as the Championship.

Overall, he finishes the year with six starts and two substitute appearances for Birmingham. As he is still just 22, it may be foolish to call his Arsenal career over already. However, he will have to improve greatly to make an impact on the first-team one day.

Takuma Asano

The Japanese winger signed for Arsenal in 2016, but could not obtain a work permit in England. So, the decision was made to send Asano out on loan to develop his game. In August 2016, Stuttgart, then playing in the Bundesliga 2, agreed to take the Arsenal man on loan.

Since then, the club gained promotion to the Bundesliga and survived their first campaign. Even more impressively, Stuttgart finished in seventh place, just two points shy of the final Europa League place.

Takuma Asano started nine matches in all competitions, adding a further nine from the bench. However, he only contributed with one league goal and no assists in all competitions.

While the player is 23, his aspirations of making the Arsenal first-team are not gone yet. He is part of the provisional Japan squad for the 2018 World Cup, with final rosters due on June 4. Asano will also return to the Emirates this summer, where his uncertain future will be down to the new manager.

Kelechi Nwakali

The attacking midfielder spent last season on loan in the Netherlands with MVV Maastricht in the Eerste Division (second division). He then began this campaign in the Eredivisie, the Dutch top flight, with VVV Venlo, who themselves were newly-promoted.

The young Nigerian started his career with a bang, scoring the equalizer to earn Venlo a point in his debut against Groningen in September. Between the league and cup, Nwakali got just five starts and seven substitute appearances at the Dutch club.

In order to help his development, Arsenal arranged his recall and reassignment in January. Kelechi Nwakali then rejoined Maastricht for the remainder of the Eerste Division season. The midfielder enjoyed 16 starts in the second tier, netting four goals as his loan club finished tenth in the league.

He is still just 19, so Nwakali has time to develop. Perhaps we will see him in the first-team one day, next to his countryman Alex Iwobi.

Marc Bola

Bola is a promising young left-back who spent this season in League One with Bristol Rovers. His loan club has given the defender a number of opportunities this season, both in the league and in the cups.

Marc Bola got 15 starts and three substitute appearances in League One, plus two matches in the League Cup and three in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Bristol finished in 13th in the table, safe from the drop yet not competing for promotion.

The academy product is still only 20, so there is still time for him to develop, even if there is a lot of competition at his position.

Stephy Mavididi

The 19-year-old began his season with the other Invincibles, Preston North End in the Championship. The striker played 11 times for Preston, before his recall in January.

No official word as to why this move was made, but either way, Mavididi got another loan move straight away, this time to League One. Charlton Athletic took the man on loan last season, handing him five matches, and took him again in January. He helped his loan club to sixth place and to the playoffs, where they lost out to Shrewsbury Town.

He got eight matches for Charlton this time around, scoring twice but not creating any assists. Like many others on this list, he is still very young and should get a chance to prove himself at Arsenal.

Chuba Akpom

The striker who just can’t make the grade in north London. Akpom has been a Gunner since 2013, but with the arrivals of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, does not seem likely to break into the first-team as a regular.

So, the club decided to send him out on loan yet again in January, this time to Sint-Truidense of the Belgian First Division. He could not help them finish in the top half of the table, however, as they entered the final phase of the league in the Europa League playoffs.

Overall, Chuba Akpom made 13 starts and three substitute appearances for the club, netting six goals. However, the striker’s current deal expires in 2019. Plus, his parent club is stacked at number nine.

Expect to see Akpom on the chopping block this summer.

Krystian Bielik

Bielik began his career as a defensive midfielder at Legia Warszawa before signing for Arsenal in 2015. He has two senior appearances, both in the league cup, for the north London club. In an attempt at getting him more minutes, the Gunners sent him on loan in January to League One club Walsall.

However, the move has not gone to plan. In fact, the converted center-back did not make one single appearance for Walsall this season. He suffered a second injury of the campaign in January, just after joining the club on loan, precluding him from first-team action.

With the addition of Mavropanos in the last transfer window, perhaps Bielik has cause for concern over his Arsenal career.

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