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Arsenal have recalled young midfielder Miguel Azeez from his loan spell with Portsmouth. The 19-year-old was sent to the South Coast side in the summer for his first ever taste of senior football.
Azeez has played a starring role for the Gunners’ U18s and U23s side over the last few years, but his spell at Fratton Park was his first loan spell away from the north Londoners.
Unfortunately, his time with Pompey did not go to plan as he only made 10 appearances in all competitions for Danny Cowley’s side.
His luck appeared to be turning at the League One side when he played the full 90 minutes in consecutive matches against Sheffield Wednesday and Morecambe in the run-up to Christmas.
However, Mikel Arteta’s side have chosen to terminate his loan spell with the club over a lack of appearances.
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Reports from Football.London understand the club are unsatisfied with the number of minutes he was afforded by the 2008 FA Cup winners.
Ironically, his only goal contribution in League One came during his final outing for the side, when he assisted Connor Oglivie’s goal in Portsmouth’s 2-0 home victory against Morecambe.
While his recall is believed to be motivated by his lack of appearances for the club, there is every possibility that he could be called up by Arteta.
The Gunners’ boss is a huge fan of the 19-year-old midfielder, having given him his full senior debut for the club last season.
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Arteta introduced him from the bench in a 4-2 away victory against Dundalk FC in last season’s Europa League campaign.
But he could be set for many more runs in the first team, as Arteta is in the midst of a terrifying injury exodus in midfield.
Defensive midfielder Thomas Partey is currently away with Ghana for the Africa Cup of Nations, while Granit Xhaka will be suspended after getting a straight red card in the League Cup semi-final against Liverpool.
Moreover, summer signing Martin Odegaard missed the clash at Anfield as he is currently nursing an injury of his own.
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Arteta reacted to the Switzerland international’s 24th minute dismissal by introducing central defender Rob Holding from the bench in place of Eddie Nketiah.
The Spaniard did not have any experienced central midfielders to call upon from the bench against Jurgen Klopp’s side, and subsequently reverted to a five-man back-line.
Aside from the talented but raw Charlie Patino and Salah Oulad M’Hand, Arteta is struggling for midfield options at the worst possible time.
As well as their second-leg clash with Liverpool in the League Cup semi-final, Arsenal also travel to Tottenham Hotspur for the second North London derby of the season.
Defeat to Antonio Conte’s side and Liverpool in the proceeding clash would see Arsenal tumble out of the top four and lose their only chance for silverware this season.
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