Mikel Arteta did show last season that he has a willingness to put younger players into the first team, but you do get the impression that he needs to add some proven quality to the squad this summer.
There’s also an issue with young defenders at the top level where any mistake is usually punished with a goal, so a lot of clubs prefer them to develop on loan for a few seasons so those mistakes can be made and learned from elsewhere.
Daniel Ballard may still be short of Premier League standard just now but he was impressive for Blackpool last season and he’s now played five times for the senior Northern Ireland side too.
Another loan spell always looked like the most likely option for him next season, and it would be interesting to see if he can still stand out if he steps up to play at Championship level next year:
Interest heating up in Daniel Ballard. Blackpool obviously desperate to take him back for another season, but at least four other Championship clubs are in the running to get him on loan. There is interest from abroad, but he's likely to stay in England. Decision to be made soon.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) June 14, 2021
Blackpool would seem like the obvious destination due to the success last year but Arsenal may want him to play with a bigger side to help his development even further, and it appears that a decision will be made very soon.