Arsenal take step to avoid losing promising youngster on a free transfer

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Arsenal are reportedly set to trigger an option to extend the contract of promising youngster Daniel Ballard, who is currently out on loan at Millwall.

The 22-year-old defender looks like he has a bright future in the game after rising up through Arsenal’s academy, but there remains plenty of competition for a first-team place at the Emirates Stadium.

Still, it looks like Arsenal are now set to do their bit to keep Ballard at the club beyond this season as he nears the end of his contract, according to

Gunners fans will no doubt hope Ballard can come back to north London and have a role to play, following the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe into the senior side after rising through the ranks at the club.

Arsenal youth coach Ken Gillard recently singled out Ballard as a player to watch when he spoke exclusively to CaughtOffside about the club’s academy and the role former player Per Mertesacker has played in revamping the way AFC bring up their young players.

“Danny Ballard, touch wood, he’s progressed fantastically well,” Gillard said. “His journey and his success is all down to him.

“He’s had setbacks along the way but he’s so robust, whether that’s injuries or almost being released. He was at Blackpool last season and he had a great experience in getting promoted. They wanted him back but there were a lot of Championship clubs interested in him, so he’s gone to Millwall and he’s played almost every minute for them.

“Then along comes the international break and he’s playing for the senior Northern Ireland national team as well. The resilience he’s shown goes back to those values – humility, discipline and respect – he has those in abundance.”

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