Arsenal Midseason Loan Review
Reiss Nelson impressed in his limited first-team capacity last season. The winger made 16 appearances across all competitions, including eight in the Europa League, making him one of the most promising Arsenal youth products in years.
After signing a new contract in August, Nelson joined Hoffenheim on a season-long loan deal. He cited Julian Nagelsmann as a key factor in his decision and has impressed for Die Kraichgauer thus far.
In the first half of the campaign, Nelson netted six Bundesliga goals from 13 appearances. What is more impressive about this ratio is the fact that the player only started five of those matches, playing just 492 minutes in total.
That works out to a goal scored every 82 minutes on the pitch. his main asset is his technical ability, although he has received praise for his pace as well.
Nagelsmann said: “What he brings is his tempo and his one-on-one ability.”
Arsenal will hope Nelson can continue his development in Germany and return ready to play first-team minutes in north London.
The diminutive Colombian shot-stopper is spending this season on loan at Napoli. Ospina joined Arsenal from Nice in 2014 for a rumoured £3 million. It is safe to say that the Gunners have gotten their money’s worth.
While only first-choice at the club for a brief time in early 2015, David Ospina has played some key minutes for Arsenal, not the least of which was the 2017 FA Cup final.
The keeper has played in nine of 19 Serie A matches for Napoli this season, plus another six in the Champions League. Ospina has also kept four clean sheets across all competitions.
While his Arsenal contract extends until 2020, there are plenty of rumours linking the player to a permanent transfer to Napoli. The move seems likely as David Ospina seems to love working with Carlo Ancelotti.
He said: “I am very happy to be at the side of a coach like Carlo Ancelotti, who has given me the confidence and I am taking full advantage of it since perseverance allows you to improve every day and that helps you to be in top condition.”
The shot-stopper has likely played his last match in an Arsenal kit.
The Southampton youth product moved to the Emirates in 2014 in a big-money move at the tender age of 19. At the time he was a right-back with just over 20 Premier League appearances to his name.
Things have really changed for the now 23-year-old. Chambers’ preferred position is now centre-back, though he has been played in midfield at times this season. He’s also racked up 88 matches in the Premier League in the last four seasons.
Having already gone out on loan to Middlesbrough in the 2015/16 season, Chambers is again spending the season away from Arsenal, this time with Fulham at Craven Cottage. And, just like in his last loan spell, he may suffer relegation.
Fulham are sitting in the drop zone, five points from safety, despite some decent performances from Calum Chambers. He’s averaging 2.2 tackles and 2.8 interceptions per 90 minutes, which outpaces the talented Virgil van Dijk, who averages one tackle and 1.1 interceptions each outing.
The player may not be the finished product yet but, should his form hold, Chambers may be able to contribute positively at Arsenal next season.
Goalkeepers can sometimes take a long time to develop and Matt Macey certainly belongs in that category. Having joined Arsenal in 2014, Macey only has two senior appearances to his name, one in the League Cup and the other in the Europa League, with both coming last season.
This campaign saw the shot-stopper go out on loan to League One side Plymouth Argyle. While Macey has featured heavily, gaining valuable experience, he has been unable to prevent his loan club from slipping into the relegation zone.
They currently sit in 23rd place, though they are just one point from safety. Through 28 appearances across all competitions, Macey has kept four clean sheets but conceded 51 goals.
The keeper is 24-years-old, so time is still on his side. However, in order to kick-start his Arsenal career, the player will have to put in some impressive displays.
The 21-year-old Pole joined Arsenal in January 2015 from Legia Warszawa. At the time, he played as a defensive midfielder, but Arsene Wenger went on record stating he wanted Bielik to convert to a centre-back.
Playing mainly for the youth and reserve teams, Bielik has found opportunities few and far between in north London. Two previous loans, to Birmingham and Walsall, also proved unsuccessful, but the player is finally getting some minutes this season with League One Charlton Athletic.
While Bielik has played in the heart of defence for the Addicks, he’s more often spotted in midfield. Through 20 matches, the player has impressed with his tackling and, to a lesser extent, his quality on the ball.
However, Krystian Bielik has already picked up seven yellow cards this season. He may yet get a chance for the Arsenal first team but will have to play far beyond a League One level.
Wenger signed the promising Japanese youngster in 2016, stating he was very much one for the future. However, issues obtaining a work permit lead to some complications.
Takuma Asano had to spend a year on loan, with Stuttgart happy to take a chance on the player. The move proved fruitful for both player and club as both gained promotion into the Bundesliga.
Stuttgart were so impressed, they exercised their option to extend the loan an additional year. Across the two seasons, Asano played 45 matches and scored five goals in all competitions.
At the start of the current campaign, it was Hannover who decided to take the winger on loan for the season. He’s found life a bit more difficult than at Stuttgart, having played just nine matches as of the time of writing.
Takuma Asano is already 24, which may not be old but it is the stage of a footballer’s career in which they will show whether or not they can play at the highest level. Unfortunately, Asano doesn’t look like he will fit into the club’s long-term plans.
The 20-year-old Nigerian is another player who has yet to make his Arsenal debut, despite having signed for the club in 2016. Kelechi Nwakali is a winger who can also play as an attacking midfielder.
Through nine appearances for Porto B this season, he has yet to get on the score sheet with either a goal or an assist. His game time has also been spotty at best, playing the full 90 minutes just twice this season.
Nwakali also saw himself relegated to a bench role from early September until early January when he didn’t start a single match.
This season seems a step back for the player, who had impressed in the Dutch second division with MVV Maastricht in two previous loan spells. The player is still young, however, don’t expect to see him break into the first team any time soon.
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