Arsenal loan out young centre-backs Julio Pleguezuelo and Stefan O'Connor

Arsenal have sent academy centre-backs Julio Pleguezuelo and Stefan O'Connor out on loan for the upcoming season to give them regular first-team experience.

The London club said the 19-year-old Pleguezuelo, who captained the Arsenal under-21s last season, will join Spanish second-division club Mallorca while O'Connor will play for Dutch club Maastricht.

Pleguezuelo grew up on Mallorca, while O'Connor is a graduate of Arsenal's Hale End academy. The 19-year-old O'Connor made his only first-team appearance for the Gunners in 2014, when he came on as a substitute against Galatasaray in the Champions League.

"We all wish him well for his season ahead in the Eerste Divisie," Arsenal said in a statement.

The loan deals come despite a shortage of centre-backs for the Gunners because of Per Mertesacker's long-term injury, with fellow academy member Krystian Bielik getting regular playing time in the position during preseason games.

Arsenal brought in 20-year-old central defender Rob Holding from Bolton this summer, and Arsene Wenger has said he wants to bring in a more experienced replacement for Mertesacker as well.