Joel Lopez in need of loan spell after impressing against Wigan Athletic

Joel Lopez has now made 38 appearances for Arsenal across U23 and U21 levels and his latest display provided further evidence that he is in need of a loan spell before the transfer window closes on Monday night.

It was a frustrating occasion for Arsenal as they were knocked out of the Papa John’s Trophy by Wigan Athletic, but Lopez emerged from the encounter with his reputation enhanced.

The feeling persists that the 19-year-old is far more comfortable as a left wing-back in a five-man defence than as an orthodox left-back in a back four.

When deployed as a wing-back, Lopez is able to push forwards with regularity and he also has greater support defensively from the likes of Mazeed Ogungbo.

Lopez only has two goals and four assists for the second-string in total, but those statistics don’t tell the full story of his attacking contribution as his crosses often cause panic for the opposition’s defence.

This season Lopez seems to have improved tactically, too, and he often drifts infield to create space for other players to push on.

It is somewhat strange that Lopez hasn’t gone out on loan yet, but now is the perfect opportunity for him to do so.

If he does go on loan then it could allow recent signing Lino Sousa, who travelled with the squad last night, to step up to the U23s.

There are plenty of other loan deals that Arsenal need to arrange prior to the deadline. The likes of Miguel Azeez, Nikolaj Moller and Jonathan Dinzeyi should be loaned out again after being recalled earlier in the window.

In addition, Zak Swanson, Ryan Alebiosu, Ben Cottrell and Tim Akinola all need to further their development with experience of senior football.

George Lewis and Jordan McEneff have only recently returned from lengthy injury lay-offs, so they may not be able to go out on loan.

Meanwhile, Catalin Cirjan, James Olayinka and Kido Taylor-Hart are all currently sidelined.

Omar Rekik had been linked with a loan move to Portsmouth but the defender is currently representing Tunisia at the Africa Cup of Nations.

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