How Arsenal’s 10 loanees have fared in the EFL, from Flo Balogun to Tyreece John-Jules

The Gunners have loaned out a number of young players this season, many of whom have gained valuable experience at clubs at various levels of English football

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Mikel Arteta looks back on Tottenham fight

Arsenal are hoping for a long-awaited return to the Champions League.

The Gunners are in pole position to seal a top-four finish in the Premier League. They can guarantee that with a win against arch-rivals Tottenham on Thursday night.

If they come out of Spurs’ homeland with all three points, it will secure a spot in Europe’s premier competition for the first time since the 2016-17 season. While attention is firmly on the task at hand, it won’t be long before preseason creeps in on boss Mikel Arteta.

And he has a number of decisions to make, not just regarding the future of senior stars but those on the cusp of first-team status. A number of youngsters spent last season on loan, many of whom enjoyed their time in the EFL. Here, mirror football lets the rule run over them and evaluates what’s next for them.

Folarin Balogun

Striker Balogun has been loaned out to champions club Middlesbrough for the second half of the season. The expectation was that he would support a Boro promotion and return to the Emirates full of vigor in the summer.

The forward signed a long-term contract with Arsenal a year ago and started his first Premier League game of the season against Brentford. But his loan spell at Boro hasn’t quite gone to plan. He made 18 championship appearances, although only half of those were starts.

Folarin Balogun’s time at Middlesbrough was a mixed bag as the side missed the play-offs

He also helped his temporary employers fail to reach the playoffs with three goals and three assists. He will now have to kick his heels as not only did Boro miss the lottery at the end of the season but Premier League rules dictate he cannot feature in Arsenal’s remaining top games this season.

Dan Ballard

Ballard played 30 games during his productive season on loan at Millwall. The Northern Ireland defender continued his rise through the EFL, having played in Tier Two with Swindon, in Tier Two with Blackpool and now in Tier Two with the Lions.

Daniel Ballard has mastered promotion to the leagues after spending a season in the Championship with Millwall

Despite impressing Millwall boss Gary Rowett, he expects Ballard to be sent elsewhere by the Gunners in the next term. He said: “It’s really easy with Dan. He did really well. If Dan were available again we would definitely welcome him back.

“But I don’t think he will be [coming back to Millwall] because I think Arsenal will probably look for a different kind of challenge for him. That’s what these kinds of clubs do.” Ballard’s current Emirates contract expires this summer, but an option to extend is said to be triggered.

Karl Hein

Estonian goalkeeper Hein made a temporary move to Reading in January. But he only made five games before picking up an unusual injury at home in February.

Reading boss Paul Ince said at the time: “He (Hein) fell at his house and removed the tape from his thumb bone. So you’re talking four to six weeks if he doesn’t need surgery, or two months if he does.” Hein is on a long-term contract with Arsenal and could return on loan next season once he recovers from injury.

Tyreece John Jules

Tyreece John-Jules has only played a handful of games for two different loan clubs this season after suffering an injury in the second part of the season

Winger John-Jules spent the first half of the campaign with Championship side Blackpool. He made 11 games total but generally struggled for game time before the deal was called off in January.

He was then sent to League 1 promoters Sheffield Wednesday for the second half of the season but the spell proved a disaster. John-Jules made just one outing – an 18-minute cameo off the bench – before missing the rest of the Owls’ season with an injury.

Jordi Osei Tutu

Jordi Osei-Tutu scored for loan club Rotherham in April’s EFL Trophy final win at Wembley

Osei-Tutu was another to experience two different loan spells this season. He made just four games for Nottingham Forest before moving down a league and joining Rotherham in January.

He found more success in South Yorkshire, where he played 16 games and scored an important goal in the Millers’ EFL Trophy final win over Sutton in April. He capped off a fine season by helping Paul Warne’s side climb back into the Championship. He has one year left on his contract at Arsenal but at 23 he may be at a point in his career where he needs a fresh start.


Midfielder Smith played 43 games for Doncaster in a campaign that ended in League One relegation. It was his third separate loan in the Third Division. His future at the Emirates remains unclear.

Ryan Alebiosu

Full-back Alebiosu got his first taste of senior football while on a short spell at Crewe. Unfortunately it would end in disappointment as Alexandra would be relegated from League One. Alebiosu made six starts in the third division. Still only 20, next semester there is another loan.

Miguel Azez

Miguel Azeez scores a goal while on loan at Portsmouth

Azeez spent the first half of this season on loan at Portsmouth, gaining valuable League One experience and making six appearances. He has since reintegrated into Arsenal Under-23s and has occasionally been drafted into first-team training, even sitting on the bench for league games. Still only 19, another appearance in the EFL is sure to beckon next season.

Jonathan Dinzeyi

Centre-back Dinzeyi made just three appearances for Carlisle in the first half of the season before being recalled in January. This included his league debut in October, with the only other senior games of his career coming in EFL Trophy games. He has been called up to Arsenal’s 25-man Premier League squad for the second half of the season but his status after this season is unclear.

Brooke Norton-Cuffy

The 18-year-old defenseman joined Lincoln in the second half of the season and caught the eye. He made 17 appearances and even scored his first senior goal in a win against Sheffield Wednesday in March.

He was tipped as a potential first-team player of the future and was offered a new contract by the Gunners back in March, with talks reportedly ongoing.

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