The 2021/22 season is drawing to a close and Arsenal can look forward to welcoming back all but three members of their 20+ strong loan army.
With Matteo Guendouzi and Konstantinos Mavropanos expected to join Marseille and Stuttgart permanently respectively in the summer and Harry Clarke spending the 2022/23 campaign on loan with Hibernian, it means Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu have to make decisions over another 20 players in the coming weeks.
Now, as the regular League One season ended last weekend the quartet of Jordi Osei-Tutu, Ryan Alebiosu, Matt Smith and Brooke Norton-Cuffy have been free to return to their parent clubs.
The same applies to Alex Runarsson after completing a campaign in Belgium with OH Leuven.
Whilst Karl Hein and Tim Akinola’s loan spells with Reading and Hibernian were cut short because of injury, this weekend still saw a number of the Arsenal loan army in action and football.
After three games without a win across all competitions, Marseille got back on track with a 3-0 victory over Lorient in Ligue 1 on Sunday afternoon as William Saliba played the full 90 minutes and Guendouzi netted against his former club for the second time this season.
Mavropanos‘ Stuttgart kept their hopes of avoiding a Bundesliga relegation play-off alive with a 2-2 draw away at already crowned champions Bayern Munich.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Lucas Torreira could go head-to-head on Monday night as Roma face Fiorentina in Serie A, whilst Pablo Mari featured in Udinese’s 1-1 draw against Sassuolo.
Speaking of Maitland-Niles, he is set for a showdown with Reiss Nelson in the Europa Conference League final later this month and the winger warmed up for the occasion by playing 45 minutes for Feyenoord who battled back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with PSV Eindhoven and thus denying them a chance to move to within a point of leaders Ajax.
With Middlesbrough and Millwall missing out on a play-off place in the Championship it means Folarin Balogun and Daniel Ballard’s loan spells have come to an end and the latter took to social media following the Lions‘ 1-0 loss away at Bournemouth to bid farewell.
“Another season over,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Thank you to the players, staff and brilliant fans for everything over the past year. Was an honour to represent this club.” It remains to be seen what the future holds for the centre-back as some experience in the Premier League next season would be beneficial for his development.
Tyreece John-Jules again missed out for Sheffield Wednesday through injury as the Owls lost their League One play-off first-leg semi-final against Sunderland and it’s unlikely he will feature in the decider on Monday.
Clarke played 90 minutes as a right-wing back as Hibs drew 1-1 with Aberdeen.
Nikolaj Moller was not in the Den Bosch squad that drew 1-1 with Helmond Sport, Jordan McEneff also sat out Shelbourne’s 2-1 win over Sligo Rovers and Auston Trusty was in the Colorado Rapids side that were beaten 1-0 by San Jose.