AFCMO: Carl Jenkinson – Move Up or Move On!

The Situation

Rightback has not been a position that Arsenal fans have had to think about too much in the past decade. The consistent performances from Bacary Sagna proved to be safe and smart enough to not warrant the signing of competition, particularly with a stadium being paid off and a very limited budget.

However, Carl Jenkinson was widely regarded as the backup, should the aforementioned Frenchman ever get injured. But, with Mathieu Flamini able to play the role, Mathieu Debuchy having just been signed from Newcastle, and many other right-backs being linked with the club, where does this leave Jenkinson?

A lot of fans are desperate to see him succeed in Arsenal colours, but at what cost? Everyone has seen him make a lot improvements under Arsene Wenger, but he is also prone to some error-strewn performances – can the club risk this?

The stats are actually quite favourable for Jenkinson, depending on how you perceive them. In a 90 minute average of the 2013/14 season, a look at his performances compared to those of Debuchy, Sagna and even Kieran Gibbs is quite an interesting read.

Debuchy and Sagna were by far the better players, as many expected, but Gibbs and Jenkinson have been fairly similar, although Gibbs did play double the games and ‘harder’ ones at those. Jenkinson’s pass completion was the joint best of the four (alongside Sagna), but he also lost the least tackles.

However, with the recent links to Callum Chambers (and a transfer now looking likely), what should Wenger do with the man who, for a brief period this summer, was the clubs only first team right-back?


The Decision

To avoid beating around the bush, the options are to sell, loan, or to even keep on the ever-growing roster of right-sided defenders at Arsenal. But which one is best for the club?

Keeping Jenkinson around for the 2014/15 season seems like a pointless operation. With Debuchy the clear preferred choice and a good chance that Chambers will be understudy, Jenkinson could be left twiddling his thumbs all year, with barely a ball to kick. He would suffer as a player and the club would have yet another young talent leave with a whimper.

A loan would be a smart option to many. The amount of suitors would likely be high and Southampton are rumoured to have expressed interest. This also gives Wenger a chance to assess the 22-year-old without needing to chance him on his own team, where his involvement been costly at times. If all goes well, Arsenal could have an abundance of talent in their full-back slots and that is a ‘problem’ that won’t cause too many sleepless nights.

A loan with an option to buy would probably be the preferable option for a lot of suitors. They’ll want a chance to capitalise on a risk they take, should it pay off. It could also prove more appealing an offer for a host of Premier League clubs, particularly with some of the prices being bandied about for home-grown players these days.

If all else fails, selling could be the best bet for Arsenal. Although it is unlikely to be much, any transfer would go towards offsetting Financial Fair Play and keeping Arsenal well within UEFA’s strict confines.


The Verdict

Although keeping Jenkinson at the club appeals to the sentimental side in a lot of Gooners, it could be another one of those Abou Diaby stories where he never quite gets going and simply goes stale at the club. Loaning the player out, as mentioned before, would be much more beneficial to all involved.

However, maybe it seems the time has come for the one-time England international to leave the club and find a new route to stardom. The former Charlton man has now got to oust Debuchy, before even considering that Chambers, and perhaps even academy-product Hector Bellerin, could be the club’s leading right back for the next 12 years!

Fighting for a place is one thing, but with this level of competition it could be all in vain. Wenger should make the decision: sell Jenkinson, but perhaps stick a buy-back clause in any sale, which is becoming an increasingly popular addition to many transfers nowadays.


Your Verdict

We asked you, via our Twitter account, “Should we keep, loan or sell Jenkinson? Is he good enough for the club?” You said:

@marsfc14: “it depends if debuchy`s the only RB we sign. bellerin not ready if u ask me.”

@RickLee14AFC: “sell. And no not good enough.”

@PeteStefanowicz: “Keep him. It’s a massive season for him. He needs to step up, raise his game because that Eng jersey could b his 2″

@bloke78: “AFCMO we should loan him cos he’ll still be useful”

@bampywayne: “keep him give him another season the kid deserves that much play him in cup games try and calm him down and focus”

@kaash2206: “loan him”

@SalingGonnerAFC: “Need to keep him on case Debuchy gets hurt. Also, he just needs some matches.”

@Da_Sanchize12: “he’s improving every year and I feel like he will take the RB stop by force and class this campaign”

@WaveyWambz: “I’m no Arsenal fan, but you should keep him, as back-up to Debuchy. If he doesn’t progress, Bellerin gets promoted. “


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