Arsenal recall option on Miguel Azeez could prove critical during Portsmouth loan
Azeez recall clause in Portsmouth loan deal an expected normality
Many Arsenal fans were quietly happy when Hale End academy product and England youth international Miguel Azeez agreed to move on loan to Portsmouth for the 2021-22 domestic season.
Though hopes of – at least an initial – chance where the academy graduate could make a fairytale breakthrough into Mikel Arteta’s first-team squad this season have been scuppered, valuable minutes for Azeez in his first spell outside of the youth setup is what the doctor ordered for the highly touted midfielder.
Azeez is one of five players who have been brought in as reinforcements at Fratton Park this summer under boss Danny Cowley, along with Jake Eastwood (Sheffield United), Gassan Ahadme (Norwich), Gavin Bazunu (Manchester City), and Mahlon Romeo (Millwall).
Arsenal have a recall option in Miguel Azeez’s loan deal with Portsmouth. #AFC https://t.co/vWS6O2RK5s pic.twitter.com/k6ufyVic93
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) September 8, 2021
But as reported by Football.London’s Chris Wheatley citing HampshireLive, the recall option in Azeez’s loan terms is both a valuable tool for Arsenal, while also being entirely expected from Portsmouth’s end; something that Cowley reflected on;
“All loan players tend to have recall clauses, they all tend to have them. But, most of them are on our terms and there are specific dates. We have got quite good relationships with a lot of the clubs we have loaned from.”
Though Pompey have been on the wrong end of players being recalled at critical parts of the season in recent years with direct adverse effects on their chances of promotion back into the Championship, Cowley also remarked on the understood nature of squad building when you’re at Portsmouth’s level;
“It is football. I understand why there is caution at this club because I think in previous years, a team has been doing well at January and then lost key players. It is going to be our job to find others if that happens.
You are always aware of that but the clubs that we have loaned them from will be respectful that if a player is doing really well, they are doing really well hopefully because of the environment they are in.
When a player is doing really well, unless it is an unbelievable opportunity for them then sometimes, leaving them to continue with the rhythm they have is the right thing.
It is not something that overly scares me, most of the clubs we have taken the players for have made the commitment for the whole season.”
Arsenal could utilize recall clause given mitigating circumstances come January
Amidst a season where Arsenal are light in central midfield, the loan move for Azeez was a frustrating one in some measure, but still necessary regarding the player’s development.
But the truth remains that the Gunners are short of central options under the best of circumstances. When you factor in AFCON pulling away both Thomas Partey (who has yet to prove he can remain fit for a full campaign) and Mohamed Elneny while leaving just Granit Xhaka and summer signing Sambi Lokonga as the only recognized central midfielders at the club for a month, there is scope to suggest that Azeez could have received minutes during that crucial period though it would not have been enough to aid in his overall development.
What is likely to occur is the club re-deploying Ainsley Maitland-Niles into a central midfield role rather than deploying him at right-back after the purchase of Takehiro Tomiyasu and the existence of both Calum Chambers and Cédric Soares.
However, should Arsenal ever be faced with a midfield shortage, having the ability to recall Azeez – should he impress as expected during his time at Portsmouth – offers a security blanket that could yet prove valuable under a specific set of circumstances.