Arsenal players on loan: How Saliba, Torreira and Co. are performing

Robin Bairner
Arsenal players on loan: How Saliba, Torreira and Co. are performing

Arsenal’s Premier League season is not going as planned. Mikel Arteta’s men are in the middle of the table, with their prospects of European football already modest.

The Emirates side are already pinning their hopes of playing the Champions League next season on victory in the Europa League, which appears to be the competition they will give their full attention in the weeks ahead.

If the Gunners are to improve next term, they are likely to expect a significant contribution from their loan army, which includes a wide array of players of various levels of experience.

Uruguay international Lucas Torreira, for example, is at Atletico Madrid, while promising defender William Saliba is playing in France’s top flight with Nice. Sead Kolasinac and Matteo Guendouzi are among the other leading players presently away.

Here is a rundown on how the players in Arsenal’s loan army are faring.

Dinos Mavropanos (Stuttgart)

Stuttgart are enjoying a solid season in the middle of the Bundesliga table and still harbour aspirations of playing in Europe next season. Their defensive record is not particularly good, but Mavropanos has turned in consistently strong performances, especially since the turn of the year.  

Curiously for a defender, he has regularly been withdrawn before the end of games, yet he has completed three of the last four, which is an indication of his improvement in form.

Signed a new deal with Arsenal before departing on his season-long loan.

Jordi Osei-Tutu (Cardiff)

It’s been a frustrating season for right-back Jordi Osei-Tutu, who started the Championship campaign with Cardiff as their first-choice right-back.

He played the opening five matches of the season before suffering a hamstring niggle that has proved to be a long-term issue.

The 22-year-old has not taken to the field competitively since 24th October and his loan will be up at the end of the season.

Tyreece John-Jules (Doncaster)

The England Under-19 international striker is on loan at Doncaster in League 1. He has been productive when fit, though he is another of Arsenal’s loan army that has struggled with their body over the course of the year.

John-Jules has suffered two muscular issues that have seen him sit out for a total of 18 league matches.

In the 11 league encounters he has managed, he has scored three goals and laid on two more – a commendable return for one so young. Indeed, when he has played, Doncaster have won seven times and lost only three.

He will return to Arsenal at the end of the season.

Mark McGuinness (Ipswich)

The Ireland Under-19 international had to be patient for his chance with Ipswich, but having suffered injuries earlier in his career, he was quite happy to fight for his place in the League 1 side.

His patience paid off as he has been a regular in the Ipswich side since October, helping them challenge for a place in the playoffs.

McGuinness has publicly stated his intention to challenge for a place in Arteta’s first-team squad next season, and his exposure to life at Leagie 1 level can only be of benefit.

Matteo Guendouzi has been sent to the Bundesliga on loan with Hertha

Matteo Guendouzi has been sent to the Bundesliga on loan with Hertha

Matteo Guendouzi (Hertha BSC)

The midfielder has cut a controversial figure throughout his brief professional career, which is part of the reason he finds himself on loan away from the Emirates for the duration of the campaign.

The 21-year-old Guendouzi has not fired as he might expect in the Bundesliga and has been relegated to the bench for Hertha in recent weeks. Indeed, three of his last four appearances have come as a substitute.

He posts a couple of goals for Hertha since his October move, which is not bad going given he has started only 14 times and tends to occupy a deep area of the park. The latest of these came on 2nd January against struggling Schalke.

Lucas Torreira (Atletico Madrid)

Arguably the highest profile member of Arsenal’s loan army, Torreira would have expected to have made a greater contribution at Atletico Madrid, where he has effectively been a perennial substitute since his loan was agreed.

Indeed, the Uruguay international has made only five starts for Diego Simeone’s side, only three of which have come in the Primera Division. His discontent was such that he was linked with a move away from the club in January.

Only a remarkable turnaround will stop this move proving a dramatic flop. He will return to Arsenal upon its conclusion.

Sead Kolasinac (Schalke)

Kolasinac moved to Schalke in January, with the remit of improving the Bundesliga side’s drastic defence.

He was immediately handed the captain’s armband at his former club and helped them to a 4-0 win over Hoffenheim. That remains their only league victory of the season.

Kolasinac has played well in comparison to his team-mates but has been unable to stop the bleeding. Indeed, it was even reported that he was at the head of a coup that successfully removed head coach Christian Gross from his post. In any case, Gross announced after his departure that he did not want the Arsenal man in his squad.

Details of the loan have not been announced by either club beyond the fact it ends in the summer.

William Saliba (Nice)

Arsenal’s decision to loan out Saliba was a controversial one, with the general feeling around the Emirates that the young Frenchman would be better served in the first-team squad than as a member of the club’s loan army.

Saliba’s performances with Nice would tend to agree with that suggestion. The Ligue 1 side were in defensive freefall before he arrived along with Barcelona’s Jean-Clair Todibo to bolster their rearguard.

After just 11 matches in charge, he is already a key figure in their side.

There is no option to buy, but extending the deal by another year has already been suggested.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (WBA)

The versatile Maitland-Niles was sent out on loan on deadline day with the intention of winning more first-team football. He is currently finding it at a side that appears destined for relegation from the Premier League.

He has started four times for the Baggies but has yet to make a significant contribution to the cause, although it is notable that they have conceded only once in their last three matches – and he has started them all.

There is no option to buy in the deal, which expires at the end of the season.

Joe Willock (Newcastle)

Sending Joe Willock out on loan in January was a logical move for Arsenal given that the talented young attacker was not winning many minutes aside from the Europa League.

He is gaining regular Premier League exposure with Newcastle. He has had mixed fortunes at St James’ Park thus far, notably netting on debut against Southampton, while he also impressed in a 1-1 draw with Wolves.

Found it harder to figure in the away defeats against Chelsea and Manchester United, though those always promised to be tough assignments.  

He returns to Arsenal at the end of the campaign.

Joe Willock

Joe Willock

Other players out on loan

Jordi Osei-Tutu is at Cardiff, where he has endured a difficult campaign due to injury, while midfielder Ben Sheaf has been a regular at Coventry until recently.

In League 1, Daniel Ballard has been in and out of the Blackpool team. Matt Smith is in his second loan spell at that level. After featuring regularly with struggling Swindon, he is now with play-off chasing Charlton.

Harry Clarke and James Olayinka are in League 2 with Oldham and Southend respectively. Both are featuring regularly.

Joseph Olowu is in the National League with Wealdstone.

Finally, Zech Medley is in the Scottish Premiership with Kilmarnock. He has quickly become a regular fixture for the struggling club.