For a big club like Arsenal, with Champions League football to cope with every season as well as the Premier League and domestic cup competitions, a large squad is necessary but that does also mean that, quite often, the fringe and young players do not get the amount of time on the pitch that they need to improve their game and progress their football careers.
That is why the Gunners and other big clubs make full use of the loan system and this season is no different. Unfortunately, a lot of the players that go on loan still do not make it and are soon forced to move to other clubs, but it can work for some and there are two stand out loanees from the Gunners this season who are doing everything to suggest that their futures are at Arsenal.
One of them is the young striker Benik Afobe, who has gone goal crazy since joining League 2’s MK Dons. This is the 6th club that the 21-year old has been to but it all seems to have clicked for him this time, as he has scored 15 goals in 20 games, including two against Man United to help eliminate them from the League Cup. And Afobe has told Arsenal.com that he is looking forward to coming back to Arsenal at the end of the season full of confidence and ready for action.
He said, “It’s been really easy [to settle]. From day one the manager showed a lot of faith in me and I’m really happy with the way they’ve treated me. I’m really enjoying my time here.
“Sometimes when something clicks, it clicks. I’ve done nothing different to any of my other loans in terms of preparation and hard work – I’ve always done that. I just think it’s about the timing and being in the right place at the right time.
“I didn’t feel like I was involved as much as I should have been on previous loans, but here I feel like I’m a big part of MK Dons’ season with the minutes I’m playing and the goals I’m scoring.
“You can train as much as you want, and you can work as hard as you want, but if you’re not playing games you’re not going to improve. Playing every week shows you’re ready to be playing men’s football.
“At the moment I’m enjoying my football but I want to go back to Arsenal in the summer with my head held high and happy with the season I had. I want to prove them right because I know they believe in me.”
The other Gunner on loan who looks like securing his Arsenal future is Carl Jenkinson, who despite suffering a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the start of the season, has really started to prove himself at West Ham. The Hammers are surprising everyone in the Premier League and Jenks has been a mjor part of that, scoring more fantasy football points than any other West Ham defender.
The fact that he is a boyhood Arsenal fan makes the 22-year old even more determined to succeed but he is not daft enough to assume it will work out. So his decision to go on loan this season is looking like a good one, even if Arsenal could have done with him to cover for the injured Mathieu Debuchy.
Do you think these two will be in the Arsenal first team next year?