Last season couldn’t have gone much better for Zak Swanson – he featured prominently for Arsenal U23s and was hailed by Steve Bould as one of the club’s best performers at that level.
Swanson also trained with the first-team in the closing stages of last season but so far this campaign has been hugely frustrating for the talented right-back.
The youngster was sent out on loan to MVV Maastricht in the Dutch second tier but the move hasn’t worked out as expected so far.
Injury and illness have limited his opportunities, while Swanson has often been left out of the side when he has been fit.
In total Swanson has made just three appearances for Maastricht, with one of those games, his debut, ending in a 7-1 loss to Cambuur.
Despite his versatility – he can also play as a winger or in midfield -Maastricht have only used Swanson at right-back and he faces a battle to get into the side once he recovers from injury.
The 20-year-old demonstrated last season that he is an impressive performer at U23 level – he makes timely interceptions and also provides a threat with his crosses.
Swanson does need to improve his positioning, but there is little doubt that he is a very talented player and is an individual who is very professional in his approach.
If the situation persists and Arsenal have the option to recall Swanson in January then they should exercise it as it would be very frustrating for him to effectively waste an entire season of his development.
The possibility of loan spell in League One or League Two could be more beneficial for his progress provided that he receives the requisite playing time.
Arsenal previously sent Kelechi Nwakali on loan to Maastricht on two occasions and he managed to make an impact, but Swanson hasn’t received sufficient opportunities.
The move to Holland seemed a rather strange one at the time, and even more so now considering the likes of Daniel Ballard and Mark McGuinness are impressing in League One.
Swanson will hope that he will get more chances for Maastricht soon, but if he doesn’t then it will be time for Arsenal to act.