Welcome Debuchy but what about Jenkinson? And if Arsenal buy a Khedira what about Wilshere?

Not much special going on today so let’s talk a bit about transfers.

Debuchy’s signing was announced yesterday and this is fantastic news because that marks Arsenal down as having bought 2 of the 5 positions that they need filled this summer. The best part is that we have made two major signings and we haven’t yet played our first pre-season friendly.

There was some speculation earlier that perhaps Arsenal didn’t need to buy a right back after Sagna left and the Debuchy signing put that to rest. Debuchy is a 28 year old French International with 18 months of experience in the Premier League starting every weekend. I think it’s also symbolic that Wenger bought the French player who kept Sagna from starting during this World Cup. This may be unpopular because Sagna was a fan favorite but Debuchy is an upgrade on Sagna.

Debuchy is younger than Sagna and he’s a more balanced player. When I compared Debuchy to Sagna and Aurier, the difference is stark: Aurier played as an attacking wing back at Toulouse, Sagna kind of didn’t do either defense or offense and instead was more of a passing outlet, and Debuchy was smack in the middle of the two.

Particularly impressive were Debuchy’s defensive stats for Newcastle. Comparing him against his own team’s percentages he made 17% of Newcastle’s tackles, 12% of their interceptions and 10% of their fouls.

Sagna wasn’t horrible but rather Debuchy was just very active defensively. Debuchy also can fill in for Sagna in the aerial duels department: Sagna has long been an outlet for Szczesny and Debuchy will hopefully continue in that role, he did after all win 4/5.7 headers per game at Newcastle.


I know that many people thought (hoped?) Jenkinson would get the starting job and some people went so far to suggest that Jenkinson and Bellerin could do the job but I think this signing puts that idea to bed and tucks it under Jenkinson’s Arsenal bedsheets. Wenger left the door open to Jenkinson saying that he can compete for the spot and further that he hasn’t made his mind up about who will be starting but that said I see this as another transition year for Jenkinson.

The crucial pairing, and probably deciding factor, will be right back and right forward. Jenkinson and Walcott do not seem to get along well in that regard. My observations are that Jenkinson tends to park far too forward and expect Walcott to cover for him. Walcott, being a striker, naturally doesn’t like this. The two of them publicly fought on the field several times with Walcott telling Jenks to stay back and Jenkinson shining Walcott on.

That issue is only going to be exacerbated with the signing of Sanchez who is an outright striker and will not cotton to having to run all the way back to defend for Jenkinson. And I have no problem with this, we didn’t buy Sanchez for £30m to play right back, we bought Sanchez to do the minimum defense up front (pressing and harassing) and to win us games with goals.

Sanchez’ strengths at Barcelona were that he took almost all of his shots inside the opposition box, which is what led to his outstanding conversion rate. You want a striker with a 30% conversion rate? He needs to play deep in the opposition area. For Sanchez to be an efficient goal scorer we need him to have the freedom to get in the opposition 18 yard box and cause havoc. He can’t do that while defending in our final third so that the fullback can whip in crosses to no one.

One other oddity that Wenger mentioned in the interview about signing Sanchez is that Sanchez could play in any of the positions up top, including through the middle and “with Giroud in a 4-4-2″. Now, I don’t know if Wenger is messing us or not and I struggle to think who he might play on the wings (Ox, Podolski, Cazorla, Rosicky? Özil would be wasted out there) but there might be a clue in there as to why Wenger is looking at Khedira. During Wenger’s most successful era he played with two in base of the midfield: Parlor and Vieira, Petit and Vieira and it was Gilberto and Vieira. That’s why Khedira and Ramsey is a mouthwatering prospect in midfield but it leaves so many questions: where to put Özil, and probably most worryingly, where does Wilshere fit into all this?

Wilshere’s stock has fallen off a bit (and I am not at all talking about his smoking) with even some of the most famous Arsenal personalities starting to wonder about his development. At this point in his career I’m more of the mind that he suffered a bit from his injury and frankly he suffered in light of the hugely successful season Aaron Ramsey had.

But the fact remains that he can’t take Özil’s place as the creative midfielder, he doesn’t seem to have the engine to take Ramsey’s place in midfield, and he’s not a defensive midfielder (at least not that he has shown so far). He’s also not a wing player, a forward, or a defender. So, if Arsenal splash the big cash on a player like Khedira or Bender where does Wilshere fit?

With Jenkinson on the bench? And how long will he be happy doing that?


28 thoughts on “Welcome Debuchy but what about Jenkinson? And if Arsenal buy a Khedira what about Wilshere?

  1. +11 Vote -1 Vote +1Tochukwu

    What I love about Wenger’s most recent transfer dealings, team selections and in-game decisions is that he’s clearly thinking more about the now than some misty wonderland in the future. Were it about 4-5 years ago, the likes of Gnabry, Jenkinson and even Eisfeld would’ve had plent of playing time last season. Part of it is down to the poorer quality coming through the Arsenal youth system compared to the Cesc, Wilshere, Song and Gibbs era. Some of it is down to the failure of the Cesc Band to fulfill their potential, nay their desertion of Wenger’s project at a critical point. Perhaps most crucially is Wenger’s realization that the bar has been seriously raised in recent times and there’s basically no margin for error, with about seven ambitious and capable clubs all jostling for just four slots in the UCL, a competition that is Wenger’s(and Arsenal’s)holy grail and his chief barometer of consistency. Wenger is all too aware that this is likely his last Arsenal contract and is determined to go out on a high, hence his preference for “now players”. Who can blame him, after years of suffering heart ache at the hands of the very youth he staked his reputation on during Arsenal’s lean years? Who can blame us for hailing Debuchy rather than Corporal Jenkinson, or for eyeing Khedira in place of Wilshere? We too have suffered with Wenger and deserve some sort of return, NOW. If Wilshere and Jenks are up for the fight, all the better. If not, the Denilson or Bendtner Highway awaits. What matters most is the Arsenal, not an undeserving player’s personal progression to the club’s detriment.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1femi

      Absolutely spot on bro! You know your football, you know your arsenal…fabregas and co just closed the door for the likes of jekinson and co..enough of those unmerited favors

  2. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    I’d say Wilshere has about 2 years to prove himself. He had a solid season last year in terms of game time, but hardly stood out (save for a couple of games), and with more game time the flaws in his game became more obvious. His one-footedness, his bone-headed play sometimes (insists on driving through 3 defenders, being dispossessed, and then sitting on his ass), and his occasional lack of dynamism. On the other hand, there were some games where he showed why we’re all hopeful.

    He does seem to have lost his place in the team, but I think that at this point he ought to be thought of as backup to Ramsey. We’ll see how that turns out I suppose.

    In terms of Jenkinson, it baffles me how emotional people are towards him. We know Wenger doesn’t act on emotion – the rejection of Fabregas was pure straight-up logic. It’s always nice to have Arsenal fans playing for us, but we rejected alleged Arsenal fanboy Serge Aurier this summer. Hell, if we made space for all the Arsenal fans, Justin Hoyte may be our starting RB (I can’t believe he’s 29 now). Wenger, rightly, makes no room for fans unless they’re also good players. If Jenkinson is good enough, he’ll stay.

    I’d actually like to see Jenkinson go on loan; it’d do him good I think. He always looks nervous and rusty when he gets a cameo after time on the bench. Regular game time would get that out of him.

    Finally, I do wonder if we’ll see Debuchy play as 4th choice CB as Sagna did. He’s good in the air and dynamic, but I wonder if he has the positioning and discipline to do so. More than last year, we need another CB this year owing to the WC and Per needing a break. We were exceptionally lucky not to suffer any injuries to our overworked CBs last year; we can’t rely on that again.

  3. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1ormgordon

    Jack will get games because of rotation and injury. Even last year he was not one of our best XI.

    We overplayed him to the point of injury two years ago when he was something near his best. Competition will make him stronger, hungrier and more focused. But it’s a balancing act. Ramsey was played when not playing that well, and he had the room to grow in confidence and stature. If there had been greater competition and he had fewer opportunities, he may not have blossomed as much.

    I come down on the side of competition. If a young player (an Ashley Cole or a Fabregas) is good enough, he will displace a bigger name. If he plays well enough, he keeps his place (Cole v Silvinho and Van Bronckhorst).

    The player who loses the most is Rosicky.

    Oh, and Jack is No.10. His dribbling skills will be deployed in and around the box. The games he’s been at his best — early days and now — is around the box. But with Ozil in possession, he’ll have to take his chances at RW, rotating with Ozil or Ramsey, or in place of the DM chasing a game

    Jenkinson is a tremendous athlete and from what I have seen of him, he is not that far off competing with established internationals. He has a chance to compete with Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker too for England. The blow up with Theo was several seasons ago, so it’s not a read on his current play.

    Debuchy is a great get. Very satisfied with that one.

    The more I look at Khedira, the more I think of Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle and Faustino Asprilla. Great player, not what they needed. It’s like going to the supermarket for kitchen cleaning liquid for your grubby house, and blowing the money on a £15 Merlot. I’d love it if we get him, don’t get me wrong. He’s marquee and it’d be tremendous feelgood. But it’ll be fun watching him get bawled out by Mertesacker for continually breaking into the opposition box. Some have suggested that he and Ramsey could take turns surging, but why change one of the things that worked spectacularly well for Arsenal — Ramsey’s surges playing next to a defensively disciplined partner?

    A word on Sanchez. Are Barca mad? In a team of Messi, Neymar and a heap of other talent, he got 20+ goals and assists often playing out wide. A natural finisher too. He’s going to light up the prem, wherever across the front 3 he plays.

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Tochukwu

    On the face of it,Khedira certainly looks superfluous and potentially tactically disruptive.Still, he has experience and tremendous physical assets that open up the possibility of being remodelled as an EPL-class DM. I’m just worried at the total cost of the deal and the likely initial effect on team-shape and the longer term impact of his galactico wages on the already good team chemistry.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +11NiltotheArsenal

      As long as he’s not the one injured. Those ankles have to hold up this season and he has to step up or he may risk a place in 7 am’s Rogues Gallery.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Benny M

      I’d imagine most of it would be in the Capital One Cup and early FA Cup games and the games against opposition in the bottom 5 of the PL. Question is will he be happy with that?

  5. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Todd

    4-1-2-1-2. Diamond the midfield and all the questions of who to play on the wing does not matter. We are built through the middle all we need is steel for the spine. That allows for wingbacks on the outside to provide width. That is also why Bender is a far better choice than Khedira…he is an actual deep lying defensive midfielder with a good passing array.

    The only real wide player we roster is walcott and Sanchez and both really want to be strikers. If he is going 4-4-2 I would not expect a traditional iteration the way everyone thinks. Even when we were 4-4-2 in the invincible days it was far from traditional in that Pirez would join centrally almost like an inverted winger and Ljunberg would diagonal into second striker positions especially when the attack was starting on the left flank through Perez as Henry would hug the left channel and combine while Bergkamp was dropping into #10 positions….

    Lastly with a two base midfield you better have the right base. Personnel is everything in any system, but especially since the modern game has teams almost always fielding 3 in the midfield centrally to create overloads. Systems of play are built on creating overloads now more than ever, which is why with our personnel being so central midfield centric I believe in recruiting a holder as the 1 base in the diamond midfield to stabalize overlapping wingbacks teaming with creative midfielders. Ramsey is our new viera in a sense and as has been said we need to replace Gilberto because we have never replaced Gilberto. Khedira is not anything like Gilberto. bender is.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Söng

      Agree that if we switch to 4-4-2, it won’t be an old fashioned, English style flat midfield four. A diamond midfield would be one iteration. with one deep lying midfielder flanked by two box to box runners with more freedom to move up the pitch. In that formation, you could probably extended Arteta’s shelf life since, ideally, one of the runners should help mind the shop when the other pushes forward. I could easily see Khedira and Ramsey as the runners flanking Arteta with Özil at the tip of the diamond.

      The other 4-4-2 variant is Man Shitty’s variant which is 4-2-2-2. Similar to Silva and not too differently than with his national team, Özil would start on a flank and move centrally with the other flank manned by Cazorla who would also come in centrally or Walcott if one wanted a more straight up winger, again mirroring what Pellegrini did with Nasri, Milner, and Navas. The key, as you point out, is that Ramsey and whoever partners him need to be disciplined and very aware of their respective positions.

      I agree that Khedira hasn’t really played as a pure defensive midfielder. The question would be does he, at age 27, have the inclination and adaptability in his game to become more of a holding midfielder for us? Arteta, while lacking quickness, has adapted and become reasonably effective in that role. Lahm has become almost as good a holding midfielder as he is a fullback, and he’s probably the world’s best fullback. Apparently, one of the reasons Mourinho has been linked with Khedira is Mo’s admiration of his adaptability and willingness to fulfill his outlined role. Wenger has shown he’s pretty good at seeing a player’s potential in a different position and so I would defer to him as to whether Khedira could adapt.

  6. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Dr. Gooner

    About the RB situation:

    Earlier this season when the Aurier stories were gathering steam, I wrote a comment on this here site that basically boiled down to the fact that Wenger faces a choice over Carl Jenkinson, and that his decision to sign Aurier would basically be a vote of no confidence in Carl. It would have been an awkward situation where one player is adapting to life in English football (and Arsenal), while the other is simply not good enough to start games against big teams. Worse, when either one is playing, the other one is not developing. You feel we still would have needed to make a signing at RB for the here and now, and one of them would have had to go out on loan. This is all assuming of course that Aurier would not have been an all conquering, tour-de-force, complete RB immediately on arrival.

    Having signed Debuchy instead, the message is twofold: Carl Jenkinson is not ready to be first choice, but Carl Jenkinson has a future at this club. Debuchy’s shelf life is 3-4 years, max, at the top level, and that’s probably the extreme end for Carls’ grace period to make himself into a top RB at this club. It works out rather nicely.

    There are more benefits to a veteran signing (as opposed to Aurier): when Debuchy is on the bench, he’s not missing out developmentally because he’s already plateaued as a player, for better or worse. And when a young hotshot does assume the mantle of first choice, Debuchy can come off the bench and provide serviceable minutes with a minimum of fuss, because that’s what veteran professionals do.

    An interesting wrinkle to all of this is the persistent link to 20yo Atletico RB Manquillo. If Arsene signs him, the whole “grooming Jenko” narrative gets thrown out the window. It’s hard to fathom Arsene being that ruthless with a young player, so I’m still only half believing these stories, but if the signing is made then I fear for Carl’s future at this club.

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    I always have a problem with Carl. Although I remember sometimes Tim advocate him to replace Sagna, when Carl have a good game, I just don’t like about his dribbling. Feels like he dwell to much on the ball, a bit like Diaby or Ramsey before he is now. That’s the most obvious thing for me, which I can’t take the image off him. Both his positioning and his dribbling seems to not have the sign of improving (If Manquillo rumour is true and not of agent ploy, maybe this is one of the reason), which I somewhat can understand because of his lack of playing time. Hopefully he could improve it in pre-season which will make him a valuable competition for Debuchy.

    For the 4-4-2 formation, it could be that we will use three CM and one CAM with FB providing width or strikers provide lateral movement. But I trust Arsene with this. In previoud post, I absolutely love Tim replied when he was asked who he prefer to sign between Khedira and co. If you haven’t read this, I think you should read it http://neymarketing.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/requiem-for-a-dream-how-barcelonas-prodigal-son-became-their-most-damaging-signing-in-a-generation/. For me, it really shows how much a system is crucial towards success. And to put it bluntly, Arsene decision to not sign Cesc might be one of the most key decision he has ever made. Basically, Arsene just outsmart Guardiola and prevent the destruction of Arsenal.That’s why I wholeheartedly agree on Tim answer that who will Arsene sign (for the 1st team especially) is who will be best for us.

  8. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Alfisti

    Oil drifts out wide anyway, how often do you see him collecting the ball centrally. I can’t see the issue with him starting out wide, similar to Pires, that would then give us the option of a 442

  9. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Martin

    Wilshere is going to have to buck his ideas up if he wants a future at Arsenal.

    If we ignore the talk of Khedira/Bender/Schneiderlin coming in for a moment, Jack has the unfortunate habit of running into 3 or 4 players high up the pitch, losing the ball, which then leaves us vulnerable on the counter. He also has the habit of dangling his foot into tackles, which then unfortunately leads to him having the habit of getting injured. He needs to sort his game out, fast!

    If we do sign 1 or 2 of those aforementioned DM’s, I can see Jack and Arteta being relegated to squad players. I would certainly rather Ramsey & Khedira/Bender/Schneiderlin sitting DM for away games against Chelsea, City etc and in Europe.

    One thing is for sure, we can’t allow the Chelsea and Liverpool away games of last season to happen again!

    Most importantly though, we need CB’s!

  10. Vote -1 Vote +1Tunde

    Arsenal don’t need fab anymore, wish him good time @Chelsea. Jenk still needs some learnings, which am sure he will get through been on the bench while Deb on field of play.

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1Junid Olaonipekun Paul

    How I wish our midfield be much more fortufy as of the time of Viera and co.
    Khedira will be a good prospect against Chelsea and Man. City and Man Unt.

  12. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1joshuad

    for jenkinson, it’s simple. he isn’t even close to being ready. there was a lot daylight between his game and sagna’s. the decision to buy debuchy is sound.

    as for jack, if he’s good enough, he’ll force his way into the team and take someone else’s seat at the table. that’s the way it’s supposed to be. i hated the way wenger gave all of these punk-ass kids chances for years. screw that. if he wants it, he’s got to earn it. that’s the way that vieira, henry, toure, cole, and now koscielny have done it. that’s the way ramsey did it when he took jack’s spot. if they don’t make room for him, he needs to force his way in and prove that he’s the best. that’s what winners do. if he’s not willing to do the work to become one of the world’s best, there’s always west ham.

  13. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1joshuad

    for the guy that linked the story about cesc returning to barcelona, i agree that it was a poor (emotional) decision for barcelona to buy him then. he was the heir apparent to xavi. they should have waited until last summer or even this summer.

    i also agree that it would have been a poor (emotional) decision for arsenal to bring him back this summer. in fact, i actually advocated his departure (though not the same time as samir nasri). i believe his best position is deeper in midfield and not behind the striker. arsenal only came close to winning the championship once while he was at arsenal and that was in the ’07-’08 when he was deployed deeper in midfield with alex hleb as the attacking midfielder (14 goals/22 assists in the league). wenger tried to force him into a bergkamp-type role. it’s a special position that fabregas might be talented enough to do a job but it doesn’t best suit his skill set. he needs to be deeper but is he a proper box-to-box midfielder in the bpl? i think not. we’ll see what chelsea has in mind for him.

  14. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1Fabrigaz_sweety

    Come to think of it if Fabregas had sing for Arsenal which arsenal midfida would he bench (ozil, ramsey,jack or arteta) we dont hav midfida problem.wish one day fabregaz will com back 2 home (arsenal) he is amou d best midfida in d world.

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    This is Jack’s season to show what he’s capable of with injuries behind him and a decent pre-season. Last season except for the goal of the season, Jack was doing that Walcott thing of running into blind alleys and crying to the refs for for FKs. Walcott developed his football brain and stopped tryiing to beat 3 players and Jack will have to also. Right now there is too much off field nonsense for my liking from Jack and that is not the Arsenal way is it Mr. Bendtner?

    Wenger said his piece on Sanchez and Fabregas and now you have Mourinho and Rogers trying to con their supporters. Just be happy with Fabregas and Remy.

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1kason

    Agreed, talk about top heavy with midfield options. I would happily swap 2 of our CMs with 1 bonafide striker with a great conversion rate. Im talking about Falcao, Ballotelli ,he showed against england his clinical side. Options Arteta, rosicky, flamster, diaby (if fit), ozil ramsey, wilshere, walcott, the ox, gnabry, cazorla, and the forementioned sanchez. But a long season ahead, injuries, lethargy will play a massive part but im optimistic, last time i felt like this we had bergkamp, freddie and pires lining up.
    My prediction 2014/15 BPL winners #COYG

  17. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1ochi

    Certainly Jenks needs more playing time, which he should get in plenty with the Cup games. Unless Arsenal are 10 for 10 during the EPL, i cannot see him starting- unless Debuchy is indisposed. You make good points about the ex-Lille man. Lille’s defensive approach and experience at Newcastle mean the only adjustment required is synching with his new teammates. Jenks should be inspired to work harder if he wants more games now.

    Oh, Jack! Well, injuries have denied us the chance to make an honest assessment, and let’s remember he is still young. If Diaby stays fit, and Rambo maintains form, then he’ll be in even more trouble finding games. Like Jenks, this should be a motivational factor if he’s serious. Your boyhood club doesn’t give you the vaunted # 10 shirt and you sit comfortably on the bench.

    As far as our base DM.. again, EPL experience is what should matter here. Khedira, Bender and Martinez may be higher profile, but Morgan is my pick. He’s played against our rivals and seems to match the imposing likes of Toure, Diame in battle. Plus the EPL pace is known to him. This is the year we build on the FA run, and not wait on a crucial positional player getting used to winter games. I’m hoping S’ton will be willing, even after snatching Ox and Theo, and everyone they’ve lost this summer.

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1Cheap Sape Links

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