Tag Archives: Carl Jenkinson

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.



TWO in the frame to replace Oxlade-Chamberlain at Arsenal

So rumours seem to be floating about that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is on the verge of going to Chelsea for £35m, and the response from many seems to be mixed.

On one hand, he is an extremely talented player, homegrown, and has come into his own over the last few months playing at right wing back.

On the other side of the coin, he is in the last year of his contract, is very inconsistent, has never really fulfilled his potential, and seems to want to play central midfield. On top of this, he has struggled to maintain his fitness throughout his Arsenal career.

At £35m, I think Arsenal would be getting a good price for a player who’s own plans does not really fit into Arsenal’s plans. The big problem that Arsenal will face is replacing him.

We already have enough deadwood players to get rid of, and whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain has often flirted with being surplus in the past, he has recently become a player we need to keep.

Let me paint another picture to you. Oxlade-Chamberlain leaves, it means either Mathieu Debuchy or Carl Jenkinson is back up to Hector Bellerin. This is the thing of nightmares. That two players who really should have been shipped out 12 months ago, would now be back in the plans of Arsene Wenger.

But we could buy a replacement you are currently thinking.

But remember, this is Arsenal, this is Arsene Wenger.

We have already messed up getting Thomas Lemar over the line this summer. We look no closer to a central midfielder, and a centre back will not happen. Our transfer dealings are done. And it is not good enough.

If we sell Oxlade-Chamberlain, we will not buy a replacement. Wenger will not spend what is needed to bring in the quality. He will not want to kill Hector Bellerin.

That means Ox out, and either Jenkinson or Debuchy, or even both, stay.

And our summer transfer window gets progressively worse…


Arsenal set to give 1st teamers run out in U23 friendly

Having left 16 first team players at home, Arsenal look set to give some of them a run out in upcoming U23 friendlies.

On Friday, Arsenal U23’s play Brighton at the Arsenal Training Centre (aka London Colney) in a behind closed doors, invitation only, friendly. Usually a behind closed doors game screams out two things:

  1. Trialists
  2. First team players set to play

With Wojciech Szczesny, Mathieu Debuchy, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Lucas Perez & Chuba Akpom all fit and left at home, we could see a whole host of players be given a run out against Brighton. It will be an opportunity for them to show visiting scouts that they are fit and ready to go for the new season.

On July 27, Arsenal’s traditional meeting with non-league Borehamwood is set to take part. Usually an U23 fixture, rumours are that Arsenal could play up to 5 first team players, as they continue to put those who are not wanted in the shop window, and ensure that their fitness levels do not drop – putting at risk a potential transfer.

With the Borehamwood fixture set to be open to fans, it is a great opportunity, in the summer holidays, to take your kids and see a mixture of first team players and some youngsters who will be bloodied with an eye on the future.

If they have not yet left the club by July 27th, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Mathieu Debuchy, Lucas Perez, & Chuba Akpom are almost certainly set to play a part. The only one likely to miss out is Wojciech Szczesny – who has recently cleaned out the closet in his house ahead of a move to Juventus.

All 5 players will be looking to put themselves in the shop window and show that, despite the lack of match time last season, they are not overweight, they are injury free, and would be ready to join pre-season training at a new club.

Get down to Borehamwood with your kids on July 27th to support a non-league club with heavy links to Arsenal, and to see some senior players (who might be leaving Arsenal) play.