The Loan System: A Per-fect Moment

In tonight’s programme, Per Mertesacker declares the loan system is ready to serve Arsenal well in the future. According to the Evening Standard, the BFG says:

The loan system should work brilliantly for us.

It’s difficult to manage and I’m really pleased and glad that it’s worked right now for him. We have other prospects we really need to think about. What’s their best path towards making an impact for our first team? There are different ways, different challenges.

Naturally, this all comes off the back of the outstanding spell at Hoffenheim Reiss Nelson is enjoying. Beyond that, you wouldn’t say the loan system has been a resounding success for the club in terms of producing first team players.

Typically, several youngsters each season go to other clubs but it’s worth noting that of the current first XI in the Premier League, only Hector Bellerin went on loan as part of his development. Aaron Ramsey’s spell at Forest was rehab and anything else was just a no, no, no.

Previously, we’ve seen players go on loan with the likes of Wilshere, Bendtner and Szczesny being the most successful in terms of developmental loans.

We have other loans as well. The infamous signings of players who can’t get work permits so we shove them to benevolent clubs on the continent but has any of those players proved worth the effort? I don’t think so; at best, the pursuit of Campbell and signings of Myachi, Wellington and most recently Asano, were foolhardy at best.

As a dumping ground for those we want shot of, the loan system sort of works. Jenkinson is a boomerang but Szczesny and Ospina finished their Arsenal careers with the door swinging extra hard to catch them on the arse to make sure they left.

Youngsters Set for Greta Moments

So when we talk of success with the loan system, it’s a pretty low bar. No wonder Mertesacker is clinging on to the hope Reiss Nelson continues his extraordinary form:

Some Bundesliga clubs are very interesting for us and the way [Reiss Nelson] could make an impact at Hoffenheim was by starting on the bench but then scoring immediately. 

Through scoring those goals, he gained trust from the coach, from the fans, by learning some German and earning the right to start and make an impact.

I think he has done a brilliant job but that all fell into place because he wanted to go. He had a great opportunity but you need to take these opportunities and make sure you learn from those moments. Instead of being a first-team player between the under-23s and the first team, this is something different.

There are some, quite rightly, that the club doesn’t want to loan. Smith Rowe, Nketiah; the immediate future of the first team, sitting on the bench and trusted to perform in the XI when minor cup competitions come a-calling. Preparations for a bigger part, if needed, later in the season and definitely in the future.

But Arsenal aren’t alone in the sense that loan spells are notoriously difficult to manage successfully. Chelsea and Manchester City between them have something like 75 players on loan at mainly European clubs. New loan rules will screw them over but that’s their problem.

However, how many of those loan spells are successful in producing first XI players. Few and far between. It’s more important for the big clubs to sell starlets on; make the academies self-financing to a large extent. The philosophical and moral questions regarding the ethics are for another day.

One Louder

Qarabag will no doubt face the three I’ve mentioned and if speculation from the Telegraph is correct – they took their eye off reorganising the Premiership and Brexit – Laurent Koscielny.

Based on a spurious logic, the Torygraph thinks Emery is concerned about Koscielny adapting to his tactics. As if his fitness isn’t enough of a worry, now the coach doesn’t think he can play in a back three with a pressing game at its’ heart. So, Stephan and Nacho will form a central defensive pairing in a back four.

And we thought the banter era was over. Unai, in those circumstances, would be turning it to eleven.

’til Tomorrow.

13 thoughts on “The Loan System: A Per-fect Moment

  1. Agree with you YW. The loan system is a sham. It’s a good way of top teams hoarding talent with a view to making a few quid down the line.

    Nelson is one of the few Arsenal players to make it work and I hope he can cement a place in the first team next season off the back of his stint abroad.

  2. Good to see Ospina reminding us what we’re missing with a ‘ghost dive’ over Salah’s winning goal last night.

    Not quite Almunia but right up there with the Golden Wengers.

  3. There are a couple of players currently on loan that are gettijg rave reviews: Matt Macey and Bielik. Bielik, now fully fit and over his injury hell of last year, is looking like quite a ball playing CB who is also very strong defensively. Some of the saves Macey has made has been a joy to watch. The big thing for both will be taking the next step.

    Moving forward, I wonder who Emery keeps: Martinez or Macey…

  4. Pete the Thirst,

    Ospina made and has made some very good saves for Napoli this season and ia much better than Almunia.

    Wonder how that match would have played out if the ref gave vanDijk the straight red his tackle deserved….

  5. Nice one YW

    Just a thought, but might we be looking at loaning an old(er) CB or two in the next few weeks?

    Anyone out of contract that we can offer a year to, to top the pension up, so to speak?

  6. Damon,

    He might not be old(er) but Rugani of Juve could be a CB that we should potentially be looking at on a loan move. If not Rugani, then in that old(er) mold, his Juve teammate Benatia especially with Juve bringing back Bonnucci.

  7. Great post Yogi

    We have talked about the loan system extensively in the past. The fact that very few players have come from the loan system and become impact players in the first team is not an indictment of the loan system because the reality is that very few homegrown younger players make the first team no matter how you try to develop them. There are occasional exceptions but big teams don’t use high leverage first team minutes trying to develop young players because the vast majority of those players will never live up to their hype and big teams can’t afford to drop points for the sake of trying to develop a player who probably won’t make an impact with the first team anyway. Big teams can buy players who have already been test driven somewhere else and have a much better chance to succeed. In the case of Arsenal the loan system has been mainly used as a way to offload players we did not think were going to make it and our main method for trying to develop younger players has been to keep them around the first team and use them in low leverage cup games such as the league cup or we have thrown them into the first team long before they were ready such as Ox or Iwobe. That strategy has been a complete bust. Of all of the hundreds of heavily hyped youth players that have come and gone thru our academy the only 2 that I wish we had back right now are Wojo and Gnabry and both were unsuccessful playing for our first team and they made their developmental leap while maturing on a loan spell. Sometimes the first loan spell does not work if the player is still not ready but if a player is good enough he should eventually mature and demonstrate his ability.

  8. There is certainly a feel good factor that comes from developing your own homegrown players that you don’t get when you buy a player. We could have tried to develop Maitland-Niles instead of buying Torriera or develop Chuba Akpom instead of buying PEA but the ultimate objective has to be taking as many points as possible and finish as high as you can in the table. If we want to compete with teams like Man City we have to fill our line up with players like Torriera. We can’t spend 5 years using high leverage minutes to try and develop players like Ox, Wojo, Bendtner, Alex Song, Iwobe etc etc all of whom we’re ultimately for the most part unsuccessful. That costs us points we can’t afford to give up.

  9. Ainsley to Ipswich worked for him I heard.
    And The Coq of corse. Not all disasters. Though I have to concede that le Coqs loan was probably initiated as a Trial of separation.

    Be good to see Medley given a chance, and even Bielik to be recalled . The new Coq.

  10. Bill:
    There is certainly a feel good factor that comes from developing your own homegrown players that you don’t get when you buy a player. We could have tried to develop Maitland-Niles instead of buying Torriera or develop Chuba Akpom instead of buying PEA but the ultimate objective has to be taking as many points as possible and finish as high as you can in the table. If we want to compete with teams like Man City we have to fill our line up with players like Torriera. We can’t spend 5 years using high leverage minutes to try and develop players like Ox, Wojo, Bendtner, Alex Song, Iwobe etc etc all of whom we’re ultimately for the most part unsuccessful. That costs us points we can’t afford to give up.

    Spot on Bill

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