The Rise and Fall of Carl Jenkinson by Dan Smith
Remember that famous picture a few years ago when the majority of Arsenal’s British players signed contract extensions on the same day? For marketable reasons they were pictured together as fans are more likely to identify to an English/Welsh youngster making the breakthrough then a foreigner. Why do you think the likes of Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott and the Ox became the face of our Social media and Merchandise websites?
Of course, only two men from that photo are still at the Emirates with Rambo in his last season with us. If as expected there is no compromise between the Welshman and the club, the last man standing will be Carl Jenkinson. The irony being that the right back is the individual Arsenal have shown little interest in keeping. At one point they were willing to give Ramsey 200,000 a week to stay in North London, the Ox rejected a similar deal, Wilshere was willing to take a pay cut too stay, while Gibbs and Walcott had to move to rescue careers that were stagnating. Jenkinson is the example of how clubs can be just as ruthless when they don’t want you.
We often view players as greedy when they turn down thousands of pounds, questioning their loyalty when they make It clear they want to play elsewhere. Jenkinson is the opposite. This is a man clinging to his boyhood dream. He knows his life as a gunner has been on life support for years now. He knows the reality is his employers have been looking for buyers for numerous transfer windows.
Circumstances are the only reason he’s still a gooner. An injury meant he couldn’t be offloaded in the summer. Injuries ruined loan spells at West Ham and Birmingham. His time at the Hammers was part of his development. He originally did enough at Upton Park to get a contract extension. By the time he went to Saint Andrews, it was because no owner is going to pay 40,000 a week for a full back with two serious injuries behind him. If you were being paid such a sum of money till 2020 to play for the team you support, wouldn’t you stay? That means probably another loan deal in January where he would have to do something special to win over Unai Emery.
You must wonder where he’s at mentally. A youngster who once played in the Champions League and got an England Cap is now relying on a League Cup tie to prove himself. He might be so out of the picture that even a start against Blackpool is not a guarantee. It’s hard versus League One opposition to do too much to change his outlook. The odds are it could be his last ever Arsenal game. Yet I would have said that two years ago!!