Arsenal’s ten academy loanees – who should be recalled?

Arsenal have ten players from the academy out on loan at present, with the individuals in question having had varying degrees of success so far this season.

With the January transfer window approaching, it is possible that some of those who haven’t played frequently could be recalled.

Here’s an assessment of how each player has got on.

Miguel Azeez – Portsmouth

Had this article been written a couple of months ago, the verdict would almost certainly have been for Azeez to be recalled, with the midfielder having endured a frustrating start to life at Portsmouth as he barely played.

However, it has recently become apparent that manager Danny Cowley has been easing Azeez in slowly, and the 19-year-old is now starting games and looks to be developing well.

It is hoped that Azeez can establish himself as a key player for Portsmouth during the remainder of the campaign and also continue to work on his weaker points, such as the defensive side of the game.


Daniel Ballard – Millwall

Following a hugely successful loan spell at Blackpool in League One last season, Ballard has adapted well to the Championship with Millwall this campaign.

The centre-back has made 19 league appearances, earning rave reviews for his performances, but an injury has unfortunately stopped Ballard in his tracks and he has now been ruled out until March.

Ballard will be aiming to get back in the Millwall team when fit and finish the season strongly ahead of a summer which could be pivotal as far as his long-term future is concerned.


Harry Clarke – Ross County

Clarke gained experience on loan at Oldham last campaign and has continued to develop at Ross County, demonstrating that he is capable of performing well at either centre-back or right-back.

Although he is mainly known for his defensive attributes, Clarke has also managed to contribute three goals and two assists for his temporary side.

It seems likely that Clarke will finish the season in Scotland and it will be interesting to see where he heads thereafter.


Jonathan Dinzeyi – Carlisle United

Dinzeyi joined Carlisle United very late in the summer transfer window but the centre-back hasn’t had a sustained opportunity to show whether he is capable of making at impact in League Two.

So far Dinzeyi has made just one league appearance and at the age of 22 he should really be playing regularly.

It is possible that Dinzeyi could be recalled but there is no need for him to take up a space in the Arsenal U23 team, so another loan move may need to be found for him.


Deyan Iliev – Sered

At 26 years old Iliev still remains part of the Arsenal academy setup but it looked as if he was finally getting a chance to play regularly at Slovakian side Sered, who he joined on loan for the second time.

Iliev was playing frequently and performing well, but, such is his luck, he suffered an injury and hasn’t been involved since October.

The North Macedonian shot-stopper is closing in on a return to action and will hope to re-establish himself as Sered’s number one goalkeeper ahead of a possible permanent move to the club.


Tyreece John-Jules – Blackpool

After Ballard impressed at Blackpool, it was hoped that John-Jules could do the same this season, but it hasn’t worked out like that so far.

John-Jules hasn’t scored in eleven league games for Blackpool and was left out of the matchday squad for ten league games in succession.

Although John-Jules was back in the squad against Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day, he was an unused substitute and Arsenal should look to recall him as he needs more playing time at an important stage in his development.


Nikolaj Moller – Viktoria Koln

The German third division appeared a somewhat unusual destination for Moller after an impressive first season for Arsenal U23s but it was expected that he would receive plenty of playing time.

As it has transpired, Moller has mainly been a substitute and his only goals have come in cup competitions.

If it is possible for Moller to be recalled and loaned to a League Two club where he would get more minutes then it could be beneficial for him.


Jordi Osei-Tutu – Nottingham Forest

Unfortunately it has been the same old story for Osei-Tutu – a talented player who has found it difficult to push on due to injuries.

Normally a right-back, Osei-Tutu has often featured on the left side of the defence during his recent appearances for Forest, but another injury means he will be out of action for two more months.

Osei-Tutu is likely to return to Arsenal again for treatment before finishing the season with Forest.


Matt Smith – Doncaster Rovers

Having built up a considerable amount of experience at Swindon Town, Smith has been heavily involved for Doncaster Rovers this season.

So far Smith has made 18 appearances in League One and, when added to his appearances for Swindon, he has now played 50 times in the division in total.

Smith is set to see out the season at Doncaster as he aims to help them avoid relegation, and he could leave Arsenal permanently in the summer.


Tom Smith – Welling United

After stints with Salisbury and Dover Athletic, Smith is in his third non-league loan spell, this time with Welling United.

Like several of Arsenal’s loanees, however, he has been heavily affected by injury, with the goalkeeper having not been in action since early October.

Smith will be looking to build up his fitness but it would maybe be better for Arsenal to recall him and find another loan switch once he is ready to play.




  1. I’m looking forward to the follow up article with your suggestions for who could go out on loan in Jan. I think Balogun has to be right up there along with a mixture of players who are currently either not getting enough minutes with the u23s or who can take the place of some u23s & allow those players to go on loans…

    1. I didn’t include him as he’s a first-team player but it’s a difficult one. He’s started to become a bit more involved recently but I would like him to have a loan spell in England.

      On Wed, 29 Dec 2021 at 08:32, Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth wrote:


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