Arsenal have confirmed that promising defender Julio Pleguezuelo will spend the entire 2016/17 season on loan in the Spanish second division with RCD Mallorca.

The North Londoners announced the details of the loan deal with a statement on their official website and have wished the 19-year-old best of luck for the new campaign.

Pleguezuelo meanwhile returns to his native island after spending most of his childhood in Mallorca and the temporary switch will not only provide him with the opportunity to gain some much needed first team experience but also hopefully allow him to return to north London next summer as an improved defender.

He captained the U21 squad last season as they gained promotion back to Division One with a 3-1 play-off victory over Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium back in May and made a total of 50 appearances in all competitions.

The 19-year-old centre-back is regarded as one of the best young defenders in Europe and the Spanish outfit are said to have acted quickly to seal the deal.

Pleguezuelo made 31 appearances for Arsenal U21s last term and scored two goals.

Pleguezuelo’s move might dismay Arsenal fans with the club in desperate need of defensive reinforcements following Per Mertesacker’s long-term injury.

The 31-year-old has been ruled out until at least Christmas with a knee injury and Arsene Wenger admitted last week he is ‘in the market’ for a defender.

Wenger still has Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista in his ranks, but with youngsters Calum Chambers and Rob Holding the only other central defenders at his disposal, he is expected to be in the ranks for a new centre-back before next month’s transfer deadline.

A lack of activity in the transfer market has represented an auspicious start to the summer and with Arsenal already looking ill-prepared for a daunting looking opening run of Premier League fixtures, pressure is already growing on Wenger before a ball has been kicked in anger.


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