In a season where the first team players have been found ailing by various standards, the currently on-loan Arsenal players have flourished at their different clubs. Benik Afobe is among the topscorers in all competitions across the English divisions, Kris Olsson has been impressive in Denmark while even Coquelin was enjoying a good spell at Charlton before his impromptu need for him to make a return.
The majority of the loanees have made good cases for a more worthy inclusion into first team action next season, but it may not turn out to be the case for Arsenal fan, Carl Jenkinson, with reports according to Daily Star suggesting that Wenger has placed him on the market, for anyone who can muster up to £8m.
The 22-year old England Under-21 regular was deemed a bit surplus to requirements in the summer with the arrivals of Mattieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers from Newcastle and Southampton respectively, as the new right backs to replace the City-bound Bacary Sagna. Though Jenko made 22 appearances last term, he probably had not shown enough to warrant automatic promotion to assume the role of the team’s main right back, and was consequently rightly let to go on loan to a reputable Premier League club like West Ham.
Jenkinson has now forced his way into regular first team football with the Hammers, racking up assists on an impressive basis. Sam Allardyce has only had words of praise for the one-capped England International, suggesting he should be consider as a more fitted option for the role of England right back.
On the premises above, it would seem a surprise then that he doesn’t lead that contingent of players expected to resume at the Emirates at the end of their current loan deals. Not only has he improved on his forward play – which has always been of good rating – but he has become a more composed defender and the fact he has helped to achieve West Ham’s current 4th place on the log must be testament to a upward graduation in his influence.
The story of Arsenal’s defensive woes this season would need a volume or two to fully script, as but quantity and quality have been lacking. Rather than let him go permanently, it would have been the expectation of most fans that Wenger would want to have Jenkinson back in the team to translate the good experience he must have gained over 12 months to taking his Arsenal career to another level. Since the consensus on Calum Chambers is that he would be a central defender or defensive midfielder in the long-term, it makes the doors open for Jenko to come in for a few more months of fully grasping the right back role as it applies to Arsenal, before finally been handed the reins when Debuchy’s time comes.
But, on another thought, could the reason for this be the emergence of Hector Bellerin? The 19-year old Spaniard had his best Arsenal game against Newcastle, with huge inputs for the first and third goals. His defending still needs work, but even Shaun Wright-Philips did not hesitate to brand him as “a new star in the making”. Bellerin’s forward play is the stuff of modern full backs and vital to the way Wenger sets his Arsenal up to play. Perhaps, Wenger is seeing it as a straight challenge between both youngsters, where age and a few technical advantages seem to be tilting the scale to the ex-Barcelona youth prospect.
Jenko has the passion and zeal to play for the Arsenal, but unless these rumours are untrue, it could be that his last game for his dear club, was that final game of the season at Norwich, in which he scored his first Arsenal goal.
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