Southend United are delighted to announce the loan signing of highly-rated Arsenal midfielder James Olayinka.
The 20-year-old bolsters Mark Molesley’s squad, joining from the Premier League side until 27th January, 2021.
Olayinka was involved in a pre-season tour to the United States with the Gunners in 2019, scoring against Colorado Rapids.
He’s also featured for Arsenal in the EFL Trophy in the past three seasons, most recently in a 2-1 win against Crawley Town on Tuesday night, and was on the bench in the North London club's Community Shield win over Liverpool in August.
Last season the dynamic midfielder spent a brief spell with Northampton Town where he featured alongside Alan McCormack on a handful of occasions prior to the curtailment of the season, including in the Cobblers’ League Two play-off winning run.
Speaking to us about signing Olayinka, which went through on deadline day yesterday but officially got ratified by the EFL this morning, Molesley said: "We’re really pleased to bring James in. He’s been on our shortlist for some time and we've had him watched a number of times.
"He’s been well identified to us from our recruitment [team] and comes well recommended from people in and around Arsenal.
"He’s had a very good education at Arsenal and we’re indebted to them for trusting us with one of their young talents.
"I said if we felt we could add value we’d always look to do that and we’ve certainly done that with James.”
On what the midfielder will bring, Molesley added: "The good thing about James is he can play a couple of different positions and that’s because of his physicality and energy.
"Coming out of Arsenal he’s going to be technically good but definitely his work ethic, energy and athleticism stuck out to us straight away. He does a lot of other things good as well so he’s one we’re excited to be working with.
"He had a taste of it with Northampton which got cut short due to Covid but he played in their play-off run.
"I’m really excited to go to work with him over the coming months and I’d like to thank the Chairman for supporting us again to get the deal done."
Olayinka is unavailable for today's game against Cheltenham Town and will train with his new teammates on Monday ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Salford City.
Olayinka’s home and away shirts for the current campaign are available for sponsorship. If you’re interested in sponsoring Blues’ newest recruit, contact our commercial team on firstname.lastname@example.org.