Football: London reported that seven Arsenal academy stars had already been made available for loan moves in January.
Folarin Balogun, Omar Ricick, Tim Akinola, Zach Swanson, James Olinka, Ben Cottrell, and Ryan Alibioso all make the list, and there aren’t many surprises, really.
Starting in Balogun, we’ve already heard academy director Per Mertesacker say the young striker is likely to go on loan, confirming reports from the likes of David Ornstein that a loan is on the table.
There has also been a lot of talk about Rickick in recent weeks, with the Athletic newspaper reporting that Arsenal are planning a loan for him, and Portsmouth chief Danny Cowley speaking out to praise him.
There hasn’t been much in the news about Aquinola lately, but reports in October indicated that Arsenal were planning to activate a one-year contract extension (moving him to 2023) before loaning him.
Swanson and Olinka have both been out on loan before, and it looks like it’s just a matter of finding the right club for them in January. If they get a good offer, there won’t be much doubt that they will accept it.
Cottrell also appears to be in need of a loan, but his biggest problem was getting one. The 20-year-old has only played once this season, but has recently returned to training after recovering from his latest setback.
That leaves Alibiuso, who we know came close to joining Sunderland over the summer. Although that didn’t work out, it’s clearly back in the market again next month.
None of these potential January departures make sense, as they are all senior members of Kevin Betsy’s under-23 squad, and none of them get consistent first-team minutes at Arsenal.
It is now largely out of Arsenal’s control. All they can do is wait for the offers to arrive. Perhaps this is unlike the Balogun, where they should already have a lot of interest.