By support

9th Jan, 2017 | 5:23pm

Report states frontrunners in five-horse race to sign Aston Villa target

By Matt Farr

Crystal Palace have emerged as front-runners ahead of Aston Villa to land Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson on loan this month – according to a report.

The England defender has made just five first-team appearances in all competitions this season, and could be shipped out on loan by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in a bid to get more regular football.

The Mirror claim that Sam Allardyce’s Palace are now leading the race to sign the 24-year-old defender, beating the likes of Villa, Watford, West Ham and Swansea, who are also believed to be interested.

Jenkinson has just 18 months left on his current deal at the Emirates, but the form of Hector Bellerin at right-back has left first-team opportunities for the former England U21 international at a premium.

Even when the Spaniard was sidelined for four weeks with an ankle injury back in November, Jenkinson made just two starts before being replaced by Mathieu Debuchy.

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When Debuchy then joined Bellerin on the sidelines, Wenger then turned to centre-back Gabriel Paulista to fill the position at right-back, raising further doubts over the long-term of Jenkinson.

He spent the last two seasons on loan at West Ham, where he made a good impression, but he has yet to achieve that kind of impact at the Emirates.

Current Palace boss Sam Allardyce was responsible for signing him at West Ham during the 2014-15 campaign, and is keen on being reunited with the defender.

The Mirror believes Allardyce is in the market for two new full-backs this month, as he attempts to lift Crystal Palace away from a relegation scrap.

The Gunners signed him from Charlton back in June 2011.

Football Insider verdict

The time has come for Carl Jenkinson to really consider his future at Arsenal. In almost six years, Jenkinson is still not a first-team regular, and with Hector Bellerin firmly in the driving seat at right-back, that is not going to change any time soon. He had his chance to impress when Bellerin was sidelined but didn’t take his chance, and now he finds himself warming the bench yet again. His Gunners career appears to be over and he should take the opportunity to join another club should such an opportunity arise in the coming weeks. Crystal Palace are only looking to land him on loan until the end of the season, but even that is a chance he cannot refuse. Palace are in desperate need of a full-back, and Jenkinson would be considered a valuable player. Arsenal won’t miss him, and are unlikely to do much with him if he comes back in the summer, so if Palace come knocking, Jenkinson should do nothing other than open the door.

In other Arsenal news, Piers Morgan reveals why no big clubs have attempted to sign this Arsenal player.