Tag Archives: Carl Jenkinson

How will Arsenal solve right-back conundrum?

Arsenal need to address the right back situation in the summer.

With Hector Bellerin’s injury, Stephan Lichtsteiner demise, Ainsley Maitland-Niles not really stepping up & Carl Jenkinson’s contract set to run out, we could be starting 2019/20 without a recognised right back.

So what are Arsenal’s options?

Sign an established right back

The first option would for Arsenal to spend big and go for an established right back.

The fear could be for Arsenal that is Bellerin is out for the start of the season, signing a raw talent or promoting someone from the youth team could leave the side weak on the right hand side. After an injury like what Bellerin had, the odds are high that he might break down again.

Arsenal should therefore target top-flight proven right back. Someone who could come in and not just provide cover for Bellerin, but also competition to him.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the man that springs to mind for this role.

The Crystal Palace right back might be raw, but is not as raw as other candidates we will speak about later. At 21-years-old, he would have a season of top flight Premier League football under his belt and is currently pushing for an England place.

He would cost a lot of money, but if he fulfils his potential he could become even better than Bellerin.

A cheaper option could be long term Arsenal target Ferland Mendy. I imagine there are plenty of other similar talents on the clubs radar.

Sign a raw talent

A cheaper option than signing an established right back is to go for a raw talent.

Over at GunnersTown there is a brilliant scouting report on Houboulang Mendes. He is a 20-year-old Frenchman currently playing in Ligue 2. He has all the natural attributes to be an Arsenal right back, but sound like a very unpolished diamond.

There is also Max Aarons at Norwich. Another who comes with a high reputation but only has a year of Championship football under his belt.

The issue with these sort of players is they might not yet be ready for the Premier League. And if Bellerin is not fit and ready to go at the beginning of next season, they could be exposed and lose confidence before they have even started.

My feeling would be if we signed Aarons or Mendes we would want to put them out on loan for a year. This does not solve our immediate problem.

Promote Jordi Osei-Tutu

If we are going to sign a raw talent, why not promote one of our own?

Jordi Osei-Tutu may well have had a chance in the Arsenal first team this season had he not picked up an early season injury ruling him out for the first quarter of the season.

He would likely have got game time in the Europa League and League Cup had he been fit.

Like with Aarons and Mendes, it would be a huge risk to install Osei-Tutu as Bellerin’s back up. The better options, as with the other 2, would be to send him on loan for a season.

Moving for the likes of Mendes or Aarons; or promoting Osei-Tutu could be a good budget option in the long term, but it would require someone else to be signed in the short term to cover the next 12 months.

Keep Carl Jenkinson

One short term option could be to keep what we have in Carl Jenkinson.

His contract runs out at the end of this season. We could offer him a new 2 year deal on his currently salary – rumoured to be around £45,000 a week. He would then provide short term cover for Bellerin over the next 12 months, whilst his long term cover (Mendes, Aarons or Osei-Tutu) gets top flight experience out on loan.

Buy Lichtsteiner MK II

The deal for Stephan Lichtsteiner did make sense.

Experienced short term cover for Hector Bellerin allowing us another 12 months to develop either Ainsley-Maitland Niles or Jordi Osei-Tutu.

Unfortunately Maitland-Niles has not kicked on and Osei-Tutu picked up an injury. This leaves us in a similar situation last year.

If Unai Emery decides that he wants to go for a raw talent and that Jenkinson is not sufficient short-term cover, scouring the world for a senior right back whose contract has expired could be an option.

Atletico Madrid’s Juanfran seems best to suit this bill.

Experienced and Spanish, he is set to leave Atletico in the summer on a free transfer. Would a one-year deal in the Premier League interest him? Perhaps if we offer him similar money to Lichtsteiner.

It would then be a similar scenario to keeping Jenkinson.

Arsenal get in the experienced man to cover Bellerin whilst they develop a raw talent who spends a year out on loan.

Keenos

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FIVE candidates to replace Hector Bellerin

There has not yet been official news out over the state of Hector Bellerin’s injury. Post match, Unai Emery described it as “not positive on first impression”.

From my years of watching football, it is safe to say that the Spanish right back will be out for the season.

It was one of those injuries where no one is near him, it was innocuous. The referee stopped play straight away and it was clear it was something serious. Whether is is an ACL injury or some other injury that we will now all pretend to be experts in, he will be out for some time. He might not return the same player.

With 10 days to go in the transfer window, Emery and the management  team have a decision to be made.

Do they attempt to bring someone in, or do they replace from within?

FIVE

The experienced right back was bought in to cover Hector Bellerin in case he got injured and has already started 13 games this season. It looks like father time has caught up on the serial winner.

He has been fairly average when playing. Some would be a lot harsher than that – although his worst performances have come when playing out of position in the centre of defence.

I doubt he will be with us next season, however he might find himself with a role to play this.

Will be the choice if we go for experience.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Against West Ham, Maitland-Niles was at right wing back ahead of Lichtsteiner. Although he was substituted on the half hour for Bellerin.

Whilst the utility man might see his future as a winger, and some fans see him as a central midfielder, it is at full back where he has started the vast majority of his games for Arsenal.

Of his 23 starts for Arsenal i neither the Premier League or Europa League, 19 have come at full back (14 at left back). His future at the club could well be as a full back.

Last season he was picked ahead of both Saed Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal at left back, such was his good form.

He has been out of form this season, but that is a lot to do with a lack of consistency in playing position.

Maitland-Niles certainly has the physical attributes to play at full back, he has pace and power and the engine to get up and down. He would also provide us the attacking outlet that the side relies on – our full backs are our width.

Defensive naivety is the concern.

He can switch off, or jog back when caught up the field. Although this is not unusual for a young full back.

Given the opportunity to play consistently at right back, his defensive instincts will naturally improve. He will also have Sokratis inside him and  – if we stick to the mdifield 3 who started against Chelsea – Lucas Torreira ahead.

If Maitland-Niles gets the chance, and proves himself to be adequate cover for Bellerin, it would mean we would not need to go out into the market in the summer to buy cover for Bellerin. The Englishman could step up as his long term understudy.

Carl Jenkinson

One of the criticisms of Maitland-Niles is “he is not a right back”. This line of thinking would lead some to support Carl Jenkinson starting.

It is incredible to think that Jenkinson turns 27 in February. He is certainly living the dream. But is living the dream enough?

He is certainly not a bad player – and it is easy to forget that he spent a year and a half at West Ham playing consistently at right back.

A bit like Maitland-Niles, if he gets a chance and takes it, the club may well decide that he is an adequate mid-term back up for Bellerin.

Personally I think he has had his chance, and it is time for someone else to get one.

If we are going to “give someone a chance” I would rather it be the younger man in Maitland-Niles.

Shkodran Mustafi

If I say we had a World Cup winning right back in our squad, you would probably ask “who?”. that man is German international Shkodran Mustafi.

Back in 2014, he was selected to start at right back in Germany’s round of 16 match against Algeria. It was only an injury that stopped him seeing out the tournament as Germany’s first choice full back.

Mustafi could do a job at right back, like he has done numerous times throughout his career. He would provide decent defensive cover, over and above anyone else on this list. However he will not provide any attacking threat.

At Arsenal, it is the full backs that give us the width. With no recognised wingers, playing Mustafi at right back would give us little to no threat on the right hand side.

Sign Someone

The last candidate is a new signing.

Whether it be a loan signing or a permanent signing, we would have 10 days to go out into the transfer market and secure someone.

The problem is who would we secure?

Someone on loan would likely not be playing at the club they are at. If they are not playing at AC Milan, Roma or whoever, would they then be a better option than Maitland-Niles? And would a top club in Europe, chasing a Champions League place, really want to loan out their second choice right back?

The alternative option is signing someone on a permanent deal, but who?

Do we go for someone who could be long term understudy for Bellerin? And if so how much should we invest in them – Aaron Wan-Bissaka would be north of £20m. Or do we go big. Go for someone better than Bellerin who will actually be his long term replacement. But is spending £35m+ on a right back sensible when we have so many other positions to upgrade on.

Keenos

What has happened to Arsenal’s British core?

In December 2012, Arsene Wenger thought he had cracked it. That he had found his answer to Fergie’s Class of 92. Or the Arsenal of the late 80s / 90s. The Frenchman thought he had found and developed the future of Arsenal, the future of England.

They were known as ‘the British core’.

Five young British players. All signing long-term deals on the same day. Standing behind them a smiling Arsene Wenger. The quintent of talent he hoped would define the club’s future.

The future looked bright.

Five years and three FA Cups later the investment has not been the unilateral success Wenger had banked on.

So what has happened to Arsenal’s British core?

Aaron Ramsey

Two FA Cup final winning goals will forever give Aaron Ramsey his place in Arsenal history.

The Welshman is the only one of the five who can even be determined a relative success. But into his 10th season at the club, Ramsey has not delivered on his youthful promise on a consistent basis.

The sickening broken leg injury suffered at Stoke in 2010 delayed his progress. After joining as a pacey teenage winger from Cardiff, Ramsey developed into more of a central attacking midfielder.

In 2013-14 he was named the club’s Player of the Year. A return of 16 goals in 34 appearances hinted at a breakthrough year, and the unlocking of his vast potential.

It is fair to say, though, that in club colours he has not kicked on, despite being a key performer for an overachieving Wales side at Euro 2016.

Constant injury setbacks have disrupted his progress, so too the lack of a defined role at club level. With Wales he is the link between midfield and attack, at Arsenal he is just another given licence to roam with little responsibility.

Jack Wilshere

Sitting front and centre of the picture, there is no mistake that Jack Wilshere was the central pivot of the British core.

The great hope of both club and country, the young midfielder was fighting fit once again after an injury-ravaged 2011-12 season.

But ever since that first major injury, Wilshere has not been the same player who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Xavi and Andres Iniesta at the Nou Camp in the Champions League.

Injury has defined him. His loan spell at Bournemouth last year was only the second time in his career he had featured in more than 25 Premier League games.

In the three seasons prior to his temporary move to the Vitality Stadium, he had made just 19 league appearances.

The 25-year-old does not currently fit into Wenger’s first-team plans, and was recently sent off in an appearance for the Under 23s.

An England recall still seems a distant prospect, so too the possibility of a new contract to extend his stay with the Gunners beyond the end of this season.

Kieran Gibbs

The loss of Gael Clichy to Manchester City in 2011 was viewed as little more than a minor setback by Wenger.

In Kieran Gibbs the Arsenal boss felt he had a ready-made replacement to become the new first-choice.

His initial judgement proved astute. Gibbs provided the energy and pace demanded by the position.

Injuries — a constant theme here — prevented Gibbs from nailing down the spot. The signing of Nacho Monreal in January 2013 eventually relegated the England international to second-choice.

The 27-year-old has been little more than a bit-part player in recent seasons and could leave before the end of the window this week.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The capture of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the summer of 2011 was seen a huge coup for Arsenal.

Wenger lavished £12m on an 18-year-old with enormous potential, a more muscular proposition than the last teenager they had acquired from Southampton — Theo Walcott.

The early promise of his debut season earned him an England call-up at Euro 2012 and hinted at a bright future. He was direct and dynamic with the ball, with searing pace to boot.

But, as ever, injuries have prevented Oxlade-Chamberlain from delivering on that potential thus far.

A return of only nine goals in 132 Premier League appearances is way down on expectations, but at 24 he is still well primed to develop further.

That he sees that next step up as away from Arsenal is damning for Wenger and his inability to extract the potential of his British core.

Carl Jenkinson

Plucked from the Charlton academy in the summer of 2011, many scratched their head when he signed. But he was young, English and Arsenal.

After just 62 largely fairly average appearances for the first-team, Jenkinson has just embarked on his third loan spell away from the club.

He did impress a few years ago when on loan at West Ham, which encouraged the Hammers to make a £10m, which ultimately fell through.

The 25-year-old’s career has nose-dived since the early promise and looks set to leave with little fanfare with the club struggling to find a buyer.

Keenos