EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke
Arsenal are ready to send highly-rated central midfielder Ben Sheaf out on loan before the close of the transfer window, Football Insider sources understand.
The Gunners have made clubs aware that they are open to offers for the talented teenager so that he can get regular first-team action under his belt before returning to Arsenal next summer.
A well-placed source has told Football Insider that Portsmouth are among a number of Football League clubs who have expressed an interest in taking Sheaf on loan and Arsenal are now assessing their option where they feel is best for the midfielder to go out and gain some valuable first-team experience.
Sheaf, who signed a new deal at Arsenal last month, is highly-regarded within the corridors of power at the Emirates after joining the club from West Ham’s academy in 2014.
The 19-year-old made his first-team debut earlier this season with a substitute’s appearance in the Europa League win over Red Star in Belgrade in October.
Sheaf, who can play in both midfield and defence but is predominantly a central midfielder, has also represented England at Under-16 and U18 level.
Sheaf has been a regular for Arsenal’s youth sides over the last three seasons and the club feel a loan move is the next stage in the teenager’s development.