The fact that Arsenal have pursued a right-back in this summer’s transfer market has not come as any great surprise. With Bacary Sagna allowing his contract to expire and join Manchester City, a vacancy was created in that position. It seems Mathieu Debuchy has been earmarked as the man to replace him, and according to David Ornstein of the BBC that deal will be completed imminently.
What has caught many fans off-guard is that Arsenal appear to be pursuing a second right-back. According to David Kent of the Daily Mail, Arsene Wenger intends to take Atletico Madrid’s Javi Manquillo on a season-long long:
Arsenal are working on a deal for Atletico Madrid right-back Javi Manquillo.
The Gunners want the Spaniard to compete with imminent signing Mathieu Debuchy for the right-back slot next season.
Manquillo is a 20-year-old with only a handful of senior appearances to his name. Most of his football thus far has come for Atletico’s B side. He only made his debut for the first team in November 2012, and he has predominantly been restricted to appearances in the Copa del Rey since then.
That doesn’t mean Arsenal haven’t watched him extensively. Manquillo has been a regular youth international for Spain at every level from U-16 to U-20. Arsenal scouts will have seen a defender with good acceleration, a clean first touch and tidy passing. Manquillo is not a hugely eye-catching player, but then sometimes that’s what makes for a good full-back. Bacary Sagna was never particularly exciting to watch, he was just remarkably consistent. In a few years' time, he could be an ideal player to take over from Debuchy.
However, where would that leave Carl Jenkinson? The young England international was a significant part of the conversation when Arsenal were forced to replace Sagna, with some fans insistent he deserved a chance to stake his claim. The proposed signing of Debuchy seemed to suggest a long-term future for Jenkinson. At 28, the Frenchman wouldn’t block his progress for too long. The arrival of Manquillo could scupper that and leave Jenkinson third in the queue.
The solution could be a loan spell. Back in March of this year, Dave Kidd of The Mirror suggested that a temporary move could be on the cards for Arsenal fan Jenkinson.
That might be a blessing in disguise. Although Jenkinson will doubtless worry about his long-term future at the club, he must use any loan spell to make an impression on Arsene Wenger.
Who is the better prospect?
Typically, there are two types of loans for young players. The first is a short-term solution when a club can not find a permanent buyer for a player. The second is to facilitate their development. Jack Wilshere used a loan spell at Bolton to propel himself into first-team contention. Joel Campbell has starred at Olympiakos and will now return to Arsenal training as an established international. If Jenkinson is asked to move temporarily, he must endeavour to do the same.
The situation could pan out well for Arsenal. If Manquillo arrives on a year’s loan and Jenksinon gets a season of football under his belt elsewhere, Wenger can subsequently make an informed decision about which is the better prospect. It’s a challenge sure to motivate both young players into producing their best.
James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout next season. Follow him on Twitter here.