With Yaya Sanogo now officially joining Crystal Palace on loan, this seems a good time to do an Arsenal loan update. Arsenal have a long list of players out on loan each year and in recent weeks the first team has seen the benefit of this as Francis Coquelin has returned from a loan spell with Charlton Athletic to contribute to the first team. Coquelin credited his loan experience with helping him adapt to the physicality of the Premier League, preparing him to fill in for the injured Mikel Arteta in the defensive midfield role for Arsenal.
Arsenal have a number of players out on loan, and I’ll do my best to keep up with them as the season continues. For now I want to focus on three players: Carl Jenkinson, Jon Toral, and Lukas Podolski.
Carl Jenkinson—Jenkinson has spent this season on loan at Premier League overachievers West Ham United. West Ham have surprised many this year by spending most of the season in or around the top four, currently sitting seventh in the table with 33 points. Jenkinson has played a significant role in West Ham’s success, appearing in 17 of their 21 matches. The Arsenal loanee has been solid in defence and has proven to be a good provider from the wing in the attacking half of the field.
Given Mathieu Debuchy’s regular absence due to injury this season, Arsenal supporters may find themselves wishing Jenkinson was at the Emirates rather than the Boleyn Ground. That said, one would have to say that this loan spell has been a success for all involved. Jenkinson has finally been given the chance to consistently get first team minutes for a Premier League side and he has made the most of it. Were Debuchy healthy, Jenkinson would certainly find himself yet again second choice at Arsenal, and his absence has given Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin the chance to earn playing time of their own.
The question of Jenkinson’s future at Arsenal is still uncertain. Given his success at West Ham, he is unlikely to want to return to Arsenal and sit on the bench behind Debuchy next season. Wenger could decide that Jenkinson is ready for the first team, which would probably lead to selling Debuchy, but that seems unlikely. For all of Jenkinson’s success this season, Debuchy has been very good when healthy, and at 29, should have a number of years at the top level still in the tank. Perhaps Jenkinson will wish to stay at Arsenal and compete for first team minutes, but it’s also possible he’ll seek a permanent move, having established himself as a first team right-back in the Premier League. If that is the case, this loan will have worked out well for Arsenal as his value is certain to have increased.
Jon Toral—One player a bit further from the first team picture is midfielder Jon Toral who is spending this season on loan at Brentford, who currently sit fifth in the Championship. He’s not been a regular starter per se, but has had runs in the first team, appearing in 16 of Brentford’s 25 league games as well as two cup appearances. With two goals and two assists he isn’t lighting up the stat sheet, but that’s not exactly his role.
I spoke to Brentford supporter Toby Maxtone-Smith (@TRMaxtoneSmith) for an update on Toral’s progress at Brentford. Here’s what he had to say on Toral’s biggest strength and weakness:
“He’s very good on the ball, is always in space to receive a pass and is good with the ball under pressure. His bite in the tackle isn’t bad, but could be better for how deep he plays.”
It seems that Toral has been making an impression at Brentford and if he keeps getting regular minutes can certainly develop into a solid Premier League player. He’s been playing a deep midfield role, surging forward to join attacks, leading Toby to compare Toral to “Aaron Ramsey, just without the shot.”
Lukas Podolski—Podolski is one to pay attention to while he’s on loan for different reasons to the former two. Jenkinson and Toral are both are out on loan in order to develop in the hopes that they can eventually contribute to the Arsenal first team; Podolski is on loan attempting to secure a permanent move. While most fans loved Podolski for his personality, it never quite worked out on the pitch, so I’m sure all involved are hoping for a successful loan to persuade Inter to make the move permanent. Since joining Inter Podolski has made one start and one appearance off the bench. He has yet to score for Inter, but was decent in completing the 90 minutes in Inter’s 3-1 victory over Genoa.
Be on the lookout for more updates in the coming weeks on these and other players
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