Conor Henderson has revealed that Arsene Wenger blocked a potential loan move before transfer deadline day, saying he wants the youngster to continue his development within the Arsenal squad.
However, the Republic of Ireland U21 international would prefer to spend time playing first team football, suggesting that reserve level isn’t enough for him at this stage of his career.
Henderson told the Irish Independent, “The manager blocked the loan because he said he wants me around the first team,” said Henderson. “This is the final season of my contract and I need to be playing. It’s a good sign for the future that the manager is protecting me, but my priority is to progress my career.
“I just hope that a move is arranged after I come back from international duty when the loan window re-opens. I’ve been at Arsenal since I was a kid but all I’ve played so far this season is reserve games in the new U-21 league.
“That’s not enough at this stage of my career. The plan is to come back from a loan spell challenging for a first-team spot. If I have to leave on a permanent basis at the end of the season, so be it.”
Henderson will be 21 in two days time and finds himself well down the midfield pecking order. He was on the fringes of the squad last summer before picking up a nasty cruciate injury but his chances of first team football with Arsenal are surely limited for this season, making it difficult to understand why Wenger insisted on keeping him.
Given his contractual status and his age, it would surely be a good thing for him to go out on loan, and allow the manager to make what will be a big decision about his long-term future.