I’ve noticed quite a trend developing in young players who go out on loan – sign a new deal first, then get shipped out.

It’s obviously to protect the club their contract is owned by, retaining the players value, but it does surprise me that it happens so often. We had Joel Campbell last January (anyone know where he is??), Chuba towards the end of the season just gone, that lad from Everton – the left back – all sign new deals before moving on. I find it interesting because I wonder whether the players actually believe they will become a regular at their parent club, or whether the deals are that lucrative for them that going to a West Ham, Swansea or Hull on a Permanent basis wouldn’t bring in the same kind of salary?

I suspect as with all things, it’s probably a little of all of the above. The success of both Coquelin and Kane at them lot probably has all clubs taking note about players they might have binned off once they reach 21, so getting them on longer contracts protects the investment somewhat. But at 19-years-old Chuba still has the possibility of breaking in to the first team over time and also has a good season or two ahead of him where he’ll need games to see how good he is before he breaks in to the first team. 

His loan move to Hull – along with Hayden – seems like a decent fit, but one would hope that Hull don’t ‘do a Wigan/Fulham’ and go from being relegated in the Premier League one season, to being Championship fodder in their second season. It’s always easier to play better in a successful team than a struggling one, so I hope Steve Bruce can steer the Tigers towards the top, for the sake of our loanees development at least.

I’m surprised a Premier League side didn’t take a punt on him – like Bolton did with Jack all those years ago – but I guess there is so much money swilling around in the Premier League that clubs are looking less and less at loan deals and more and more at bigger permanent signings. When you see newly promoted clubs like Bournemouth signing international quality players (who would command international level wages and transfer fees), it shows you just how big and how competitive the league is, so perhaps the days of the younger players like Akpom and Hayden starring for teams towards the bottom of the division are over. The clubs clearly feel the risk is a gamble worth taking over signing a loan player for a season who could potentially have an impact but only over the duration of one season.

Anyway, good luck to both, let’s hope they come back better players and more battle-hardened from the Championship so they can compete for the Arsenal squad. 

What Chuba’s exit does is leave us with Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck duking it out for that top spot. Welbeck will be better this year, I’m sure of it, because he’ll be more acclimatised to The Arsenal Way and he’ll feel more at home going in to his second season. There appears to be one or two fans who are already suggesting his days might be numbered, but I’m less melodramatic, mainly because of what Arsène started saying about him last season. I think Arsène was a little surprised by his work ethic and his ability to cover ground after he signed him. He was aware of his pace but I think Arsène has really grown to like him over the short period of time that he’s been at the club, because he recognises his role as a team player and so I think we’ll still see plenty of Welbeck next season. 

Whether that is through the middle remains to be seen, but I think his battle for supremacy with Giroud and Walcott will be intriguing, because he represents somewhat of a hybrid between the Frenchman and his other English counterpart. He’s quicker than Giroud and is stronger in retaining the ball than Theo, but lacks a little bit of cutting edge compared to both, so whilst he needs to work on his finishing he still offers something for Arsène to think of. And if Le Boss is looking at rotating his squad depending on exploiting the weaknesses of the opponents he faces, Welbeck will be an option. If Arsène for example, fancies putting a team under intense pressure through a high press at the top of the field, Alexis and Welbeck will put pressure on a back four by chasing every ball. That’s why I suspect we’ll see a lot of Welbeck. It’s just up to him to make the most of his chances.

Not long now folks. Just a couple of days and it will begin with Arsène’s pre match presser (unless he’s missed it so much he brings it forward to Thursday!) and then we get to the juicy stuff on Sunday. Lovely.

See you tomorrow.