Most of Arsenal’s loanees featured for their clubs on Saturday, making the bench if they didn’t start, but Harry Clarke was the one exception.
Despite starting in Stoke City’s first two games of the season and coming on as a substitute in the third, Clarke was completely absent from their squad against Huddersfield Town this weekend.
That sparked fears of an injury problem, which Stoke manager Michael O’Neill confirmed after the game.
“Harry’s got a shin injury and will take a period of rest,” O’Neill said. “We’re not sure how long that will be as yet but I shouldn’t imagine we’ll see him for a number of weeks.”
When further questioned on whether the injury made the position an area for concern, O’Neill answered: “It is now.
“We have to look at that area of the pitch in terms of our options to play there.
“We don’t really have a natural right-back/wing-back at the club other than bringing Harry to the club so that’s something we’ll have to look at.”
From an Arsenal point of view, the fear is now that Stoke might sign a player who will compete with Clarke for starts once he returns to fitness.
As it stands, the defender is clearly favourite to start whenever he’s available, but that might change if Stoke dip into the market again.
So the timing of the injury is frustrating, but hopefully, it won’t prove serious and Stoke will opt to wait for his return instead of looking for a replacement.