Arsenal defender Dan Ballard is close to joining a Championship club on loan for next season, a report from football.London has revealed.
Ballard spent last season on loan with Blackpool in League One, keeping 15 clean sheets in 30 appearances for the club to help the Seasiders win promotion back to the Championship.
Now it seems as though Ballard himself will also be making the step up to the second-tier of English football for next season.
According to this latest update, the centre back is in talks with a number of established Championship sides about a temporary move for the coming campaign.
It is also thought that Blackpool are keen to bring him back to Bloomfield Road next season, following his influential efforts in their promotion success.
Can you get 21/21 on this quiz every Blackpool fan should be able to get 100% on?
Ballard has yet to make his first-team debut for Arsenal, although he has already been capped eight times at senior international level by Northern Ireland.
I do think that this looks like it would be a sensible move for Ballard to make.
The 21-year-old was certainly impressive for Blackpool in helping them to promotion from League One last season, with his physical presence making a big impact on the side.
As a result, it does seem as though the next step for Ballard would be to test himself in the Championship, given it would be a big ask for him to walk straight back into Arsenal’s team next season on the basis of that third-tier experience.
That is something he may have a better chance of doing if he is able to perform well in the Championship in 2021/22 to show he can then make that direct step up to the Premier League, and given his performances for Blackpool, you can understand why a number of second-tier sides would be interested in him.