SOUTHEND United have signed Arsenal midfielder James Olayinka on loan.

The 20-year-old made four appearances while on loan at Northampton Town last season and came off the bench during the Cobblers’ League Two play off final win against Exeter City.

Olayinka will be with the Shrimpers until January 27 and Blues boss Mark Molesley is pleased to have brought him to Roots Hall.

"He’s been well identified to us from our recruitment team and comes well recommended from people in and around Arsenal," said Molesley.

"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.”

Olayinka will not be available for this afternoon's clash with Cheltenham Town but will train with his new team-mates for the first time on Monday.

And Molesley is certain the new signing will boost Blues. 

"The good thing about James is he can play a couple of different positions and that’s because of his physicality and energy," said Molesley. 

"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."