French football expert Jonathan Johnson has had his say on how Arsenal have utilised Ligue 1 well with loan transfers in recent times.
Writing in his exclusive CaughtOffside column, Johnson has taken a look at the loans of Gunners youngsters like William Saliba and Nuno Tavares at Marseille, as well as the huge success story of Folarin Balogun at Reims this season.
It seems to be serving Arsenal well, and Johnson expects this is a market that the north London giants will look at again in the future.
The reporter also suggested other Premier League clubs could do well to go down a similar route, as they’ll look at how much players like Saliba and Balogun have benefited from playing regularly and developing in France and think they could do something similar with their young players.
“We know Arsenal have had plenty of success in loaning young players to Ligue 1 clubs in recent times, with names like Folarin Balogun and Nuno Tavares discussed recently in this column, while William Saliba benefited a great deal from loans with Nice and Marseille before coming back and becoming a regular starter for the Gunners this season,” Johnson wrote.
“Arsenal could well look to Ligue 1 again this summer, and other Premier League clubs will probably do the same. The French top flight is a good place to let young talent develop, and clubs up and down the Premier League will undoubtedly look at the progress of the likes of Balogun and Saliba and think they could do well to agree similar deals.
“One shouldn’t overlook the benefits of building up a rapport with a club in France – it allows players to go and accrue the necessary experience to then go and make it in the Premier League. There’ll also be Ligue 1 clubs ready to take on a player who perhaps isn’t seeing that much playing time, like Morgan Sanson who’s on loan at Strasbourg from Aston Villa.
“On Balogun, it can’t be ruled out that Reims look at keeping him on for another season. It doesn’t look likely at the moment, but if Reims continue their fine form and qualify for Europe then you can’t completely rule it out. It’s been a really successful deal for both clubs and for the player, so you can see why there’ll be other teams leaning towards a similar arrangement.”
Balogun is now an interesting case as Arsenal fans will surely want to see this top young forward get a chance in Mikel Arteta’s squad, though at the same time it’s hard to see much of a role for him due to there being so much competition at the Emirates Stadium.