Football News

Ranked: Every Arsenal player out on loan in 2022/23

By Harry Edwards

Published: 20:59, 2 February 2023

Arsenal look to be on their way to the Premier League title but away from the first team there are a number of other Gunners thriving.

Given the wealth of quality across the levels at Arsenal, not everyone has the opportunity to get in Mikel Arteta’s team, even with the Gunners playing in four competitions at the start of the season. So, naturally, the loan market is used.

While some teams get a bad rap for their use of the loan system, the new rules mean they cannot completely take advantage of it, with only eight players over the age of 21 (and non club-trained) allowed. Nevertheless, Arsenal have a grand total of 29 players currently out on loan.

Not every loan is a successful one, especially when the players are young and need experience or have moved for game time that they weren’t getting at their parent club. But some loan moves work out well for all parties.

So who falls into which category for Arsenal’s current loanees?

New loanees

The January transfer window saw seven Arsenal players leaving the club on loan for the first time this season, a mixture of youth and senior stars. From the first team Cedric Soares has joined Fulham, Albert Sambi Lokonga switched to Crystal Palace and Marquinhos moved to Norwich City.

There were also loan moves for Taylor Foran (Hartlepool), Kido Taylor-Hart (Derby), Nathan Butler-Oyedeji (Accrington Stanley) and Billy Vigar (Derby).

So naturally we cannot judge these players until they get some playing time.

More to see

The next category are those who haven’t quite got the game time so far this season, whether that’s due to injuries or just not being in favour at their loan club. Being in this category doesn’t necessarily been it’s the player’s fault, sometimes circumstances just don’t work out.

  • Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Southampton) – His 14 games across all competitions for Southampton have brought just 857 minutes, with only five Premier League starts.
  • Mazeed Ogungbo (Crawley) – The 20-year-old has been in and out of the Crawley squad this season due to injury.
  • Marcelo Flores (Real Oviedo) – Has had inconsistent playing time in the Spanish second tier, starting just six of his 12 league appearances.
  • Mika Biereth (RJK Waalwijk) – Injuries have restricted him to just eight appearances across all competitions.
  • Miguel Azeez (Ibiza/Wigan) – Played 11 times with the Spanish side before joining Wigan, already making two appearances in the Championship.
  • Omar Rekik (Sparta Rotterdam/Wigan) – Played just 120 minutes for Sparta, leaving and moving to Wigan.

Performing well

Then we have the players who have been doing pretty well, or at least have been getting consistent game time across the season so far. A couple of these players have also joined new teams in January, but had already been performing well for their first team.

  • Runar Alex Runarsson (Alanyaspor) – Has conceded 38 goals in 21 games in all competitions for Alanyaspor, with three clean sheets.
  • Tom Smith (Colchester/Bromley) – Kept three clean sheets in 13 National League appearances for Bromley before moving to Colchester for the remainder of the season.
  • Tim Akinola (Chesterfield) – Has started just three of his 13 National League appearances this season, playing the full 90 minutes twice.
  • Nikolaj Moller (FC Den Bosch) – Has three goals in 16 games across all competitions for the Dutch second division side.
  • Ryan Alebiosu (Kilmarnock) – Twelve starts in the Scottish Premiership this season, either at right-back or wing-back.
  • Auston Trusty (Birmingham) – Promising signs across the season for Birmingham, though he did score the own goal which knocked them out of the FA Cup.

10. Pablo Mari (Monza)

Pablo Mari has missed a few matches for Monza due to injury, but when he is on the pitch he has done pretty well.

With Mari in the starting XI, Monza have kept four clean sheets (from 11 matches) in Serie A including home and away against Juventus.

9. Brooke Norton-Cuffy (Coventry/Rotherham)

Brooke Norton-Cuffy joined Coventry City in January and has already made three appearances for his new club, but he spent the first half of the season at Rotherham. There, the 19-year-old was operating as a right-wing-back, but sometimes popped up on the left or on occasion in a back four.

Interestingly, on his debut for Coventry, Norton-Cuffy started in an attack role before switching back to wing-back for the play-off chasers.

8. Tyreece John-Jules (Ipswich)

Tyreece John-Jules was turning into a decent player for Ipswich in the first half of the season, operating across their attacking line before settling on a central striking role. But his progress was cut short at the end of October as he suffered a hamstring injury which he is yet to recover from.

John-Jules had been recovering at Arsenal but is expected to return to Ipswich soon, and boss Kieran McKenna believes it will be a welcome arrival.

“The players have really missed him around the group to be honest, which is maybe more of a surprise,” he said.

“When you have a player coming in from a big club, who’s had four or five loan moves, you never know how they’re going to get into the group and you don’t know how much that they will feel at home.

“I think he was incredibly settled here and was a really, really popular part of the group from the first week he was here really. So I think the players have really missed having them around.

“He’s such a positive and likeable person and they’re looking forward to having him in the building. If the next few weeks of his rehab go well then we’ll look forward to having him as an option on the pitch again as well.”

7. Alex Kirk (Ayr United)

The 20-year-old centre-back is on his first loan spell away from Arsenal and is spending it north of the border in Scotland. Although it is the second tier, Kirk has helped Ayr United to second in the Scottish Championship after 22 games.

Ayr United were first in December but Kirk was absent for three matches, and they lost two of those, which saw them lose some ground in the title race. Since his return, they have kept two clean sheets in wins.

6. Arthur Okonkwo (Sturm Graz/Crewe)

Now at Sturm Graz for the second half of the season, Arthur Okonwko had been pretty good in goal for Crewe during his first loan spell. The Englishman kept nine clean sheets in 23 League Two appearances and made 79 saves, with only three goalkeepers making more.

5. Ovie Ejeheri (SJK Seinajoki/Chelmsford)

Another Arsenal goalkeeper to be thriving, Ovie Ejeheri kept 11 clean sheets in 23 games for Chelmsford and conceded just 17 goals, in a tough National League South. It’s usual for teams to send young goalkeepers to non-league to build their toughness, and it appears to be working, but now Ejeheri will spend the second half of the season in Finland’s first tier.

4. Nicolas Pepe (Nice)

Nicolas Pepe has not enjoyed his time at Arsenal but back in Ligue 1 the Ivorian is re-finding his feet. Starting 14 of his 16 Ligue 1 appearances so far this season, Pepe has scored six goals for Nice and is the club’s joint-top scorer alongside Andy Delort (though Pepe has played significantly more minutes).

Unfortunately, Pepe is out injured right now, but Arsenal will no doubt be keeping an eye on his progress when it returns.

3. Nuno Tavares (Marseille)

Marseille are currently second in Ligue 1 and one of the reasons behind their title challenge is their defence, conceding 17 goals. Part of that defence is Nuno Tavares who has played 18 times in Ligue 1 mostly at wing-back but with the odd appearance in a traditional back four.

But Tavares has also chipped in with the goals, scoring five times so far, with only Alexis Sanchez netting more than the defender in Ligue 1 for Marseille.

2. Charlie Patino (Blackpool)

Charlie Patino isn’t a loanee that can be assessed on goals and assists, but he has a home at Blackpool. First of all, the fans love him, as their catchy song shows and the 19-year-old has played 24 times already across all competitions.

Patino has also impressed new Blackpool boss Mick McCarthy in just a few games, with the former Ireland manager saying: “He’s a young man and sometimes he doesn’t always get it right.

“He might press and get played past, but in the first half, he lost it in front of us about 20 yards into their half and won it back in the 18-yard box at the other side of the pitch. I said, ‘If you can do that, you’ll do for me’.

“The willingness to do it is great. I’ve loved working with him for the last few days, he’s going to be a very good player.”

1. Folarin Balogun (Reims)

Can you name the top scorer in Ligue 1 right now? No, it’s not Kylian Mbappe. Neymar? Nope. Lionel Messi? Not him either.

With 14 goals scored so far, leading the way is Folarin Balogun at Reims, despite his side currently sitting 11th in the table. Reims aren’t the most prolific in front of goal with just 26 games in 21 games, but Balogun has been the man for them and moved ahead of Mbappe with a hat-trick against Lorient last time out. He also netted a late equaliser to steal two points from Mbappe’s PSG recently, which put some people on notice.

Balogun’s 14 goals this season have come from 62 shots, with 31 hitting the target, and he also has a league-high xG of 13.91 as well as 10.76 non-penalty xG.