Arsenal to sell English gems

article-2250578-16954B0B000005DC-586_964x50219th December 2012. With not much to cheers about in recent years, Arsenal announced, to great fanfair, that “Five young internationals sign new contracts”.

Kieran Gibbs (then 23), Carl Jenkinson (20), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (19), Aaron Ramsey (21) and Jack Wilshere (20). The future of Arsenal. A bunch of young British lads. At least if we did not have trophies to cheer about, we knew we had home grown lads on the field, progressing, knowing what it means to play for The Arsenal.

At the time, Arsene Wenger said “I’m a strong believer in stability and I believe when you have a core of British players, it’s always easier to keep them together and that’s what we’ll try to achieve going forward.”

Fast forward 6 months to the unveiling of the final Nike shirt.20130709-3

Nike knew how to market a product, and they decided that they would use the British core to promote their final shirt.

To the 5 players who had announced a new contract, Theo Walcott was added in making it a magnificent 6.

A British core. Something that had been levelled at Arsenal for so long. Not enough English players. Well the future of Arsenal was bright. And the future of England seemed in Arsenal hands.

We are now in 2016. Over 3 years on from the announcement of the new contracts. In that time, Arsenal have won 2 FA Cups and got the trophy drought monkey off the back. Things are a bit brighter at the club, even if this years bottling of the title race has put a bit of a downer on the last 24 months. Arsenal are back on the up.

But then you look at the line ups of our last two games. A 2-0 away victory at Everton, a 4-0 home win against Watford. Two excellent performances. And yet just one Englishman started. Danny Welbeck. Who in 2012 was at Manchester United.

What has happened to Arsenal’s British core? And are we now in a situation where the 6 players at the 2013/14 shirt unveiling could all be sold and improved on?

Jack Wilshere – In 2012, Wenger clearly had Wilshere pegged as the next Arsenal captain. “Jack is certainly the best known, the leader of this group.” Just 20 years old, He was an extreme talent, showing his potential in 2011 with a world class performance against Barcelona, Xavi and Iniesta.

In 2012, there were already warning signs about his future. He had missed the entirety of the previous season injured. And had already been involved in numerous off the field incidents. Arrested in 2010 after a fracas outside a bar. Given a police warning in 2011 for spitting on a taxi driver.

Roll on 3 years and history is repeating himself. He has once more missed an entire season injured. And news yesterday breaks of him again being involved in a night club brawl were police had to intervene.

Clearly a good player, but he is now 24.

I am not massively concerned about his off the field antics. He should be making headlines for his on the pitch performances, but we have had worse at the club. I am concerned about his injury record.

It was at 24 we gave Abou Diaby a new 5 year deal. He had played 76 games in his previous two years. It is a contract offer which 3 years down the line caused a lot of fans to attack Wenger. In the last 5 years, Wilshere has played just 91 games.

Do we continue giving him a chance, or do we learn from the mistakes we made with Diaby and cut our losses?

Verdict: Sell

Aaron Ramsey – Ramsey is certainly the ying to Wilshere’s yang. 3 years ago it looked so bright for the pair. They could become our Scholes and Keane. The new Vieira and Petit.

Wilshere had the silkiness, Ramsey the engine. Wilshere the nastiness. Ramsey the calmness. They would have complimented each other brilliantly.

In 2013, it seemed like Ramsey had finally arrived. After recovering from that leg breaking assault by Ryan Shawcross, he was our player of the season in 2013/14, cumulating in scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup Final. Since then, he has digressed.

He stopped playing his simple game that saw him become so successful in 2013/14, returning to back heels and Hollywood passes.

Over the last 2 seasons, he has had many minor injuries, resulting in him struggling to put a run of games together.

He has gone backwards in the last 2 years. But is still an important player. Into next season, he needs someone to get hold of him and say these 3 words. Keep it simple.

Verdict: Keep

Theo Walcott – In 2013 when that shirt was unveiled. Walcott was the father figure of the group. Despite only being 24 himself, he had already played nearly 200 Premier League games.

The year leading up to the shirt unveiling, he was exceptional. Scoring 21 goals in 43 games, adding many assists as well. He had finally arrived as a player.

Then the injuries returned. And now, 3 years later, he is a shadow of his former self. He looks scarred. He hides. He does not want the ball.

His time is up.

Verdict: Sell

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – The most overly hyped up player of the magnificent 6. People used to say Walcott did not have a footballing brain. Oxlade-Chamberlain is no better.

Another who’s recent years have been hampered by niggling injuries (seeing a theme here!). He is a player who has never impressed me. Plenty of talent, but no end product. That might be good enough for someone like Crystal Palace. But not Arsenal.

Cash in before the rest of the Premier League realise he is a myth.

Verdict: Sell

Kieran Gibbs – Another who just has not pushed on over the years. I remember him playing for England under 21s many a moon ago and he looked a class above. The issue with him is he was always older than we thought. When he was put forward alongside the others as the future in 2012, he was already 23. People were going on about his potential, but he should have already been established.

At the time of signing that contract, he had played barely 50 Premier League games. OK for a 19 year old. Not OK for a 23 year old.

At the start of next season, he will be 27. He has not yet made 100 Premier League starts.

His career is disappearing before it has even gotten going.

No longer can he be considered as the future long term solution at left back. The heir to Ashley Cole’s throne. Nacho Monreal is comfortably ahead of him. And there is a point when we will have to start thinking about giving a younger option a chance.

For now, Gibbs is worth keeping as back up to Monreal. But as soon as the next youngster shows any promise, it is time to move him on.

Verdict: Keep

Carl Jenkinson – The least known of the 6. At the time, you felt he was just an add on. A spare part. Like the bloke in the boyband who is always at the end but never has a solo.

And with the rise of Hector Bellerin this has been the case.

Jenkinson however was never bought to be an Arsenal regular. He was always destined to be a squad player. And with Debuchy likely to leave at the end of the season, Jenkinson will be 2nd choice behind Bellerin.

Worth keeping around as he is a Premier League standard player. Would surely rather be sitting on the bench of Arsenal, the club he loves, then playing week in week out for someone like West Ham or Crystal Palace.

He could become a Wes Brown type player at Arsenal.

Verdict: Keep


3 years ago Arsenal were the future of England. Now it is natural to glance at Spurs with a hint of jealousy. Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Dele Alli, all performing for their country. It is time now for Arsenal to be ruthless. If the British core are not good enough, not reliable enough, cut them loose and replace them with the quality that is needed to win the league.


6 thoughts on “Arsenal to sell English gems

  1. James

    A bit off topic but that last Nike yellow kit was one of the finest away kits we’ve had in many years. No gold/purple/diagonal bollocks. Puma need to take the same lesson as Rambo, keep it simple. Plain yellow top with blue trim, blue shorts. Simples.


  2. MrBure

    It is quite odd that fans demand loyalty from players, and yet are quick to demand certain players be shown the door for “not being good enough” or having somehow (based on seeing the players once or twice a week on the telly or in the stadium) come to the unshakeable consensus that they will “never reach their potential” and so the club should cut its losses and move on. “Be ruthless!” they cry.

    Yet, when a player decides (prior to fans writing him off) that their club is no longer capable of meeting his ambitions, when he decides to show some of that “ruthlessness” himself, he is a traitor, greedy, etc. and he is pencilled down for vicious abuse. I remember when ManUre fans used to chant “She said no!” at Robin van Persie while he wore the Arsenal colours, and we were appalled by the fact that an unproven and eventually dismissed rape allegation against our player had become the basis for a chant, and we rightly pointed out to the cretins that they were vile scum of the lowest order. Fast forward a few years, and Robin pulled a Stapleton on us, showed some ruthlessness, and headed to ManUre to win that league title he so desperately desired. The manner of his leaving left a bad taste in the mouth, to be sure, because we had all seen the pictures of him in his Arsenal kit as a boy, we were sure he was “one of us” and so we felt betrayed by the “little boy in him” screaming for ManUre. But, that’s life. But we are a classy joint, as we like to remind the noisy neighbours down the Lane. So, you can imagine my horror when I heard Arsenal fans chanting “She said no!” at Robin! What happened to our outrage when he was the subject of a vile chant based on a false allegation? Remember when Adebayor left us for Citeh, and then suddenly, Gooners were chanting about his dad washing elephants? Disgusting behaviour.

    Now, here we have a list of players we should sell because they are no longer good enough, and we need to be ruthless. Ramsey (who has fought back to have a decent career after having his leg broken for the cause, in case you forgot) should be kept, albeit grudgingly. Theo Walcott (who has no football brain, and I remember how enraged people were when that particular sobriquet was thrown his way) should be sold. Oxlade-Chamberlain (who isn’t getting these injuries carousing around bars) is worse than Walcott and should also be sold. Gibbs should be kept unless another academy prospect pulls a Bellerin, in which case, he should be cast upon the midden heap posthaste. And, most ridiculous of all, Wilshere should be sold because we need to learn from our “mistakes” with Diaby. While we certainly should have treated Diaby like a bonus player and not relied on him so much (though, given how majestic he was when fit, you could hardly blame us), the idea that he was content to park his arse on the treatment table and trouser his wages is disrespectful in the extreme. This was no Winston Bogarde, this was a player of phenomenal promise and potential, who had his career destroyed by some Sunderland dickhead, and never fully recovered. If anything, we did learn from what happened to Diaby and later Eduardo, for without those two horrendous injuries resulting from assaults barely disguised as “tackles”, Ramsey’s career may well have gone the same way. But no, we need to move some of these guys on because they’ve plateaued, or whatever.

    Where’s your loyalty?


    1. keenosafc Post author

      Quick to demand? Walcott has underperformed for 3 seasons. Wilshere’s peak was stil la game against Barcelona 6 years ago. I would say it is a long time coming.


    2. Atid

      I don’t see any need to sell these lot yet. We will only have 29 players at the end of may, that will be classed as over 21.

      4 of those are arteta, flamini, rosicky and Debuchy are nailed on to go.

      Wellington and Sanogo are 2 more that are behind the “British core”

      Whilst the 29 will also include 5 over aged keepers Cech is without doubt our number 1 whilst I really want us to have a back up keeper like ospina as our number 2. You would expect 2 or even as many as 3 to not be part of the squad, szczesney and martinez are too good for no.3 duty, whilst Macey is not really better than Huddart or iliev so we may as well have those 2 competing for 3rd choice and u21 duty. So you are looking at 8 or 9 players straightaway That might not be involved, meaning room for 4 or even 5 signings.

      Only if 5 signings are made would I start to look at any more sales. But I would also look at who has been signed and who is left, Mertesacker, giroud, jenkinson, gibbs, walcott and chamberlain would all be in my next group to leave.



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