Forget a loan move, this 24-year-old must leave Arsenal permanently
COMMENT By Matt Farr
If there is one area that Arsenal have improved in the last two seasons, it’s their squad depth.
For years, the Gunners were criticised for not having enough options in each position, but with the addition of Shkodran Mustafi, Lucas Perez and Granit Xhaka in the summer, Arsene Wenger now has the quality needed in all areas to challenge for the Premier League title.
However, it does have its faults, as some players get pushed out onto the fringes of the squad. That can be said for 24-year-old defender Carl Jenkinson.
The right-back signed for Arsenal from Charlton in 2011, but has since made just 61 appearances in all competitions for the club.
The emergence of Hector Bellerin as one of the best full-backs in Europe has meant Jenkinson simply has not got anywhere near enough first-team football.
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The 24-year-old has had two loan spells at West Ham, and there is talk of him leaving the club on loan again next month, but for the good of his career, he has to think about quitting the Emirates on a more permanent basis.
Aston Villa and West Ham have both been linked with the defender, and he would certainly get the first-team football he craves at both of those clubs.
At his current age, it has hit the point when Jenkinson either has to make it or break it in his career, and he is making little progress in his current role at Arsenal.
When Bellerin got injured and was sidelined for a month earlier in the season, Jenkinson had a perfect opportunity to step in and prove to the club that he could do the job required of him.
As expected, Wenger named him in the starting line-up to face Manchester United in Bellerin’s absence, and he played 83 minutes. However, he has only appeared in one game since – the EFL cup defeat to Southampton on November 30.
His performance against United was rather unconvincing, and Wenger quickly shuffled his options to turn Gabriel Paulista into a makeshift right-back. The Brazilian remained in the role until Bellerin’s return.
Paulista’s involvement suggests that Wenger still does not fully trust Jenkinson, so he has a decision to make as to his long-term future.
He’s a handy squad player to have if a sudden injury crisis hits the Arsenal defence, but with better options at his disposal, Jenkinson is surplus to requirements.
In other Arsenal news, Wenger is eyeing a move for this non-league starlet.