As suspected, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger this morning confirmed what the world and his wife hoped – that he would be letting his kids come out to play this spring.
Speaking to The Sun, Wenger revealed that his No1 loan ranger would be his ?12 million teenager Theo Walcott who cut a peripheral figure in Arsenal's miserable 5-1 Carling Cup defeat by North London neighbours Spurs on Tuesday night.
Indeed the paper claimed that Wenger had already put the wheels in motion to get the one-time Southampton starlet out on loan – by actually ringing round a clutch of managers and offering them the chance to continue Walcott's footballing education.
Again as suspected, Wenger made it clear that the Premier Reserve League was no place for a player of Walcott's ilk; his need now was for high-intensity men's football, not the kids stuff dished up in the Premier Reserves.
But before everyone in this neck of the woods runs to the messageboards with the 'Walcott is on his way…' line, the Arsenal chief appeared to be laying down one or two markers – in particular, a suggestion that his 18-year-old prospect needs Premiership football, not Championship action.
That however close his relationship with City boss Glenn Roeder might be, one of the biggest jewels in his teenage crown needs to be polished up amidst a higher standard of football than the Championship can offer.
But as Wenger proved last season by loaning out three of his young stars to Steve Bruce at Birmingham City – including Tuesday night's alleged butt victim Nicklas Bendtner – the door is still wide open for others to gain experience at Scunthorpe United away or Colchester United at home.
“There is a gap here between playing in the reserves and our first team,” Wenger told The Sun. “So I try and loan them to another club; to get them ready.”
Given that everyone will be poring over every word Wenger says, the use of the word 'them' will cause many a manager's heart to skip a beat. That suggests that there will be more than one crumb falling off the great man's table as everyone jockeys to be in position to accept a five-month gift from The Emirates.
That, in turn, will ensure that Christmas comes slightly later this year for the slew of agents and advisors likely to be at the heart of any loan arrangements – and nor are Arsenal about to let their treasured jewels out for free. The usual loan fees will, of course, apply.
Nevertheless, you can bet your last bottom dollar that there will be a stampede of interested parties heading towards the Gunners' Hertfordshire training HQ today as everyone watches the clock tick down towards midnight on the 31st when all such deals are off – certainly as far as the Premiership clubs are concerned.
For Walcott is far from the only show in town. Justin Hoyte will obviously have an appeal in Norfolk given his capacity to play at both centre-half and right-back – positions that Roeder has long been looking to strengthen. Or at least get extra cover in, in the case of Jon Otsemobor's full-back berth.
The City chief also made it plain that he was looking for further options in centre midfield once Jimmy Smith returned to Chelsea. There the Norwich boss could have more joy with his pal Wenger.
For alongside England Under-19 star Kieron Gibbs, Roeder could also cast his eye over Mark Randell who – like Gibbs – popped up into the limelight via Arsenal's Carling Cup run.
Indeed, the 18-year-old actually made his first competitive start for the Gunners in the quarter-final away trip to Blackburn Rovers – ironically being thrown in at the last minute as Walcott went down with a bug.
He was also included in Wenger's travelling party for the away trip to Portsmouth on the final day of last season.
And while he never made it to the bench that day, he is there or thereabouts in the manager's longer-term thinking.
He just needs games – men's games. As does Gibbs; as does Hoyte.
Certainly his youth team-mates appear to sense a touch of potential greatness about Randell after he orchestrated Arsenal's passage to the fourth round of this season's FA Youth Cup against a lively Burnley side.
A goal down to a second minute penalty, the Gunners' youngsters then cruised to a 5-1 win to book a clash with Liverpool in the fourth round. Both Randell and Gibbs featured, though the headlines went to Henri Lansbury who scored a hat-trick that night. There's another name.
“His Carling Cup experiences and his first-team involvement has helped him so much,” said Randell's FA Youth Cup team-mate Paul Rodgers, quizzed about the composed midfielder by the club's official website, Arsenal.com.
“His confidence has gone up and up. You can tell when he is on the pitch that he has a special feeling about him.”
Randell capped his night's work with a sumptuous, 20-yard strike. He would, it seems, be ready for the next step up.
“When you see him so confident and composed on the ball, the way he seems so relaxed, it's good for all of us,” added Rodgers. “At times when the game is a bit hectic, he will calm it down and that can certainly rub off on the rest of the players.”
It is, however, Walcott's next destination that will dominate the headlines. And, according to The Sun, Wenger had another stipulation for any would-be suitors out there – that the 18-year-old not only had to play, but also had to play down the middle. Not away on the right where, thus far, most of his Gunners' appearances have come.
All of which would, you suspect, demand that he plays with a bigger brute of a player next to him. With Chris Brown long gone and the ageing 'warrior' Dion Dublin eyeing up his saxophone as retirement looms, that may yet leave Roeder with a difficult 'sell'.
Had Sam Allardyce still been at St James' Park, then Shola Ameobi's potential loan deal might have sorted that issue. As it is, of course, King Kev is holding court with all the talk now of a swoop for Middlesbrough's Jonathan Woodgate, with Ameobi going the other way as a make-weight.
Once more, a case of 'If only…'