Wednesday, April 17, 2024

CL final thoughts + assessing our loan players

So, the world was spared a Champions League final from hell last night when Juventus beat Real Madrid at the Bernebeu.

Some might say that the two best teams in Spain fighting for European football’s most prestigious prize is exactly the showcase we all want to see, and I get that. The two best players in the world, an intense rivalry, genuine quality in both sides, teams that love to attack.

These are all things that will become irrelevant as each of them tries its hardest to get one of the opposition sent off through cheating, faking, diving, and as much general flimflammery as they can muster, at the expense of the football.

Plus we get to see a final between two teams from separate leagues which is always more interesting – unless, of course, it results in something like this, in which case the actual winner becomes irrelevant and the pointing and laughing will resound through the ages. Let us all pause for a moment and laugh at that.


I’ll carry on but if you feel like continuing to laugh nobody would judge you.

Anyway, as it is quiet, and as I touched on the squad yesterday, I thought I’d take a look at the players we have out on loan this season and rate their Arsenal futures. Will they come back to make the grade, following in the lead of The Coq, or be shunted elsewhere like, well, almost everyone else that goes out on loan? Here we go, starting with:

Lukas Podolski

One goal in 20 Inter Milan games, or whatever it is, is hardly enough for him to give Arsene Wenger pause for thought. Had Giroud not been injured earlier in the season, chances are he’d have gone on a permanent deal somewhere last August. As it was, he had to stay, but spent most of the first half of the season on the bench. Why would it be any different next season?

What the future holds: #slim #just #left #town

Joel Campbell

Although he just signed a new deal before he went to Villarreal on loan, I suspect that has more to do with protecting the club’s investment and getting as much money for him when we decide to sell. He just got his first goal for the Spanish side the other day so, like Podolski, it’s not as if he’s been banging them in to show the manager what he’s made of.

What the future holds: Another loan move wouldn’t be a surprise, but if Arsene Wenger is looking for another 15 goal a season player, Campbell’s spell in Spain has done nothing to suggest he’s the man.

Yaya Sanogo

He’s made 11 appearances for Palace since his loan began, but hasn’t started a game since Feb 11th due to a combination of injury, other players playing well, and him not really being any good at scoring goals and that. He got one in the cup on January 24th, but that’s it. Like the other two forwards sent out in January, we haven’t missed him one single bit, and as with Campbell if the focus is on improving our striking options, it’s very difficult to make any kind of case for him.

What the future holds: Another loan spell is my guess, I don’t think Wenger is ready to discard him just yet. It’s clear the manager sees something in him that not many others can, a bit like that time when I was tripping and I saw George Peppard behind me in the mirror but when I turned around it was a house plant and not the leader of the A-Team.

Carl Jenkinson

The boss spoke last week about how he wants to keep him and maybe send him on loan again next season, but it’s very rare that a player you loan out two seasons in a row is one that you think is going to make the grade in the long-term. If Debuchy’s injury woes continue, the door might just be open for him, and he’d burst through it in his Arsenal onesie if it was.

What the future holds: As it stands he’s third choice right-back and it would take some Coq-tacular for him to come back and play regular first team football. I guess we can’t rule it out completely, but it’d still be something of a surprise.

Emi Martinez

The young keeper had a very positive loan spell at Rotherham (certainly well thought of by the fans there), and with the goalkeeping situation at the club somewhat up in the air, he could step up next season to a regular place on the bench if certain rumours have any credence.

What the future holds: He’s not the ‘world class’ stopper that everybody wants us to sign, but could play a part in the squad. Most likely another loan move is on the horizon though as he’s at an age where he really needs to play otherwise Stuart Taylor Stuart Taylor Stuart Taylor in his Stuart Taylor.

Ryo Miyaichi

10 Eredivisie appearances all season, 0 goals, but he is very, very fast.

What the future holds: He will remain very fast until he gets older and slows down.

Wellington Silva

Finally got himself a Spanish passport, and after scratching around in the Spanish Segunda for a few seasons, last month made Marca’s team of the week for display for Almeria in La Liga. Has appeared 33 times for the Spanish side this season, scored 0 goals.

What the future holds: No idea, but if it’s at Arsenal I will eat my hat. And your hat. And Mr Hat’s hat.

There are other players who have had loan spells like Jon Toral and Chuba Akpom, but they have time on their side at this point. The former is reportedly set for a contract extension after impressing at Brentford, while Akpom is likely to go somewhere for the duration of next season. The decisions on them don’t have to be made yet.

Still, it’s interesting to look at the ‘first team’ loanees and not see a way into the first team for most of them. Especially when you look at certain players in the squad right now, thinking in particular of Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby and Mathieu Flamini, who could well move on this summer.

Suddenly the depth doesn’t become so deep. Which is pretty deep. Something to ponder out throughout the day.

More from me tomorrow with an Arsecast. Until then.

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